Barry E. DiGregorio

Honorary Research Fellow, Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology


Barry DiGregorio with Neil Armstrong

Barry E. DiGregorio’s scientific interests include the study of the geology, geomicrobiology and history of the Great Lakes region in the United States and Canada. Barry also studies ichnology – a science which combines the study of dissolution cavities left behind by organisms along with their tracks, trails and burrows.

In 2000 Barry published a comparison of dissolution cavities found in rocks on the shores of Lake Ontario to similar looking rocks imaged at the Viking 2 landing site on Mars. His published papers on rock varnish coatings are well known among the astrobiology community and was first to publish in 2001 that rocks on Mars appear to have rock varnish coatings covering them. Barry also has a personal and professional interest in search for life on Mars.  His writings about this subject can be found in many popular science magazines and scientific journals along with his two books, Mars The Living Planet (1997) and The Microbes of Mars (2011). Both of these books support the data provided by the 1976 Viking biology experiment known as the Labeled Release experiment designed by Gilbert V. Levin. These books conclude that Levin’s Mars LR experimensts were the first to discover evidence for microbial activity in the soil of Mars. Barry has also served as an astroenvironmental activist for over 12 years and is Director of ICAMSR (more information) an organization dedicated to raising concerns about proper spacecraft sterilization, sample return missions from Mars and international space law pertaining to forward and back contamination of celestial bodies.

Email: barry.dig(AT)


Astrobiological Implications of Rock Varnish in Tibet – David Krinsley, Ronald I. Dorn, Barry DiGregorio. Astrobiology. July/August 2009, 9(6):551-562. doi:10.1089/ast.2008.0238.

Accretionary lapilli, tektites, or concretions: the ubiquitous spherules of Meridiani Planum  –  Barry E. DiGregorio, Proc. SPIE, Vol. 5555, pp.139-152, 2004.

A planetary quarantine laboratory on the moon – Barry E. DiGregorio, Proc. SPIE, Vol.5555,  pp.153-161, 2004.

Dissolution cavities in upper Ordovician sandstones from Lake Ontario: analogs to vesiculated rocks on Mars? – Barry E. DiGregorio, Proc. SPIE, Vol. 4859, pp.57-71, 2003.

Rock varnish as a habitat for extant life on Mars – Barry E. DiGregorio, Proc. SPIE, Vol. 4495, pp.120-130, 2002.

Selected Publications

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