Supporting Visionary Astrobiologist Dr Angelique Ray


The Big Questions Institute champions bright minds in foundational science, and today, we spotlight Dr Angelique Ray, a trailblazer in astrobiology.

Dr Angelique Ray

Life Beyond Our Atmosphere

Dr Ray explores the potential of life in environments resembling Mars, specifically “Identifying atmospheric chemosynthetic life in Mars-like settings”. Her work not only deepens our understanding of life but also challenges our perception of where life might thrive.


The BQI UNSW Fellowship and Dr Ray’s Vision

Thanks to the BQI UNSW Fellowship, which grants her up to AUD$15,000 for travel, Dr Ray is set to advance her groundbreaking research. BQI focuses on questions such as “What is life?” and “Is there life on Mars?”. Dr Ray’s Antarctic research resonates with these queries, suggesting intriguing possibilities for life on Mars.


Dr Ray’s Achievements

Dr Ray’s work at the University of New South Wales has provided insights into life in Mars-like settings. She’s unravelled the mysteries of life in Antarctic desert soils, introducing ‘atmospheric chemosynthesis’ as a primary production process, potentially mirroring survival mechanisms on other planets.

Drawing from Earth’s Antarctic soils, which mirror the Martian north-polar plains, Dr Ray’s studies inform future space missions, like NASA’s 2026 IceBreaker mission. She’s also diving into advanced techniques like DNA Stable-Isotope-Probing and collaborating with global experts like Prof Lüders from the University of Bayreuth and Dr McKay from NASA-Ames. Together, they’ll investigate the Mars-analogue soils from Antarctica and the enzymes linked to atmospheric chemosynthesis.

Although early in her career with a budding H-index of 3 and 6 publications, Dr Ray’s collaborations, especially with Prof Ferrari from UNSW, exhibit her dedication and potential in astrobiology.


Merging Astrobiology with Earthly Settings

A standout feature of Dr Ray’s research is her approach of juxtaposing potential Martian life with Earth’s environments, especially the Antarctic, paving the way for notable findings.

BQI is thrilled to back Dr Angelique Ray’s scientific pursuits. Her passion, skill, and novel approach align with BQI’s ethos. We eagerly await her revelations, as they may redefine our understanding of life beyond Earth. Stay tuned for further insights into Dr Ray’s work.