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The Astrophysics Department (Interstellar and Circumstellar Medium) at CAB is using the Herschel Space Telescope to analyze the molecular Universe, from protoplanetary discs to cold gas in distant galaxies.

The European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory (formerly called Far Infrared and Sub-millimetre Telescope or FIRST) has the largest single mirror ever built for a space telescope. At 3.5-metres in diameter the mirror will collect long-wavelength radiation from some of the coldest and most distant objects in the Universe. In addition, Herschel is the only space observatory to cover a spectral range from the far infrared to sub-millimetre.

+ información Herschel Science Centre

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IPBSL Iberian Pyritic Belt Subsurface Life Detection 2011

Terrestrial subsurface geomicrobiology is a matter of growing interest on many levels. From a fundamental point of view, it seeks to determine whether life can be sustained in the absence of Sun radiation. From an astrobiological point of view, it is an interesting model for early life on Earth, as well as a representation of life as it could occur in other planetary bodies. Río Tinto is an unusual extreme acidic environment due to its size (100 km), constant acidic pH (mean pH 2.3), elevate concentration of heavy metals and high level of microbial diversity, mainly eukaryotic. Río Tinto rises in the core of the Iberian Pyritic Belt (IPB), one of the biggest sulfidic ore deposits in the world. Today it is clear that the extreme characteristics of Río Tinto are not due to acid mine drainage resulting from mining activity, but to the chemolithotrophic microorganisms thriving in the high concentration of metal sulfides of the IPB.

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Departments and support units

The answer to questions about life and its origin come from the combined efforts of many disciplines

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The science developed in the CAB is channeled through interdepartmental research lines

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