The People of

Andrew Steele

Carnegie Institution for Science


Dr. Andrew Steele uses traditional and biotechnological approaches for the detection of microbial life in astrobiology and solar system exploration. A microbiologist by training and Astrobiologist by choice, his principle interest is in developing protocols, instrumentation and procedures for life detection in samples from the early earth and elsewhere in the solar system.

His interest in this work began when working with Dave McKay of NASA Johnson Space Centre, after the release of his paper on the potential for life in the Mars meteorite ALH84001. In the years since, he has developed several instrument and mission concepts for future Mars missions, has become involved in the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory mission as a member of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) team and for the last 8 years he has journeyed to the arctic every summer to test instruments on board the Arctic Mars Analogue Svalbard Expedition (AMASE), on which he is the science leader and principle investigator of a NASA Astrobiology technology grant. He is an active member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. His work with high resolution confocal Raman imaging has led to exciting discoveries in planetary science including being involved in NASA Stardust sample return mission, the discovery of new forms of carbon in meteorites and Lunar rocks and the discovery of a previously uncharacterized abiotic organic synthesis mechanism acting within the earths mantle and on Mars.

When he's not being a scientist, he is husband to a beautiful and talented wife (he is not quite sure how this happened) and father to two gorgeous little girls (he thinks he knows how this happened). He is an active musician and composer and considers himself a star within his own recording studio and no further. He also has a terrible sense of humor.