Washington State University

School of the Environment

Dirk Schulze-Makuch




  • GEOL 210: Earth’s History and Evolution
  • GEOL 315: Water and Earth
  • GEOL 475: Groundwater
  • GEOL 445/545: Astrobiology
  • GEOL 578: Groundwater Geobiology

Dirk S-M

Research Interests:

Dr. Schulze-Makuch’s research interests focus on the interaction of microbes with their natural geological environment in an aqueous medium. In particular, he is interested in the presence of liquid-rich environments on other planets and moons inside and outside of our Solar System and how these environments can serve as a potential habitat for microbial life. Examples include investigations of the habitability of the near-surface environment of Mars, the Martian subsurface, the Gliese 581 system, water-rich clouds on Venus, and ammonia-water puddles and hydrocarbon lakes on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. He is also interested in the origin of cancer, which may be linked to bacterial behavior and quorum sensing of microbes within biofilms, which – under stress conditions – decouple from the collective.

Recent Presentations:

  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Fairen, A.G., and Irwin, L.N. (2012) Planetary Habitability and Rapid Environmental Change: The Biological Perspective. American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, 3-7 Dec 2012.
  • Taggert, K., Schulze-Makuch, D., Sinclair, A., Miller, J., Smith, M., Cotton, B., Thatcher, A., Marzocca, P., Gaviraghi, G., Lee, J., Guinan, E., Radley, C., and Cordeiro, J. (2012) To Create a Plausible Path to the Stars. Global Space Exploration Conference 2012, Washington DC, 22-24 May 2012.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. (2012) Assessing Planetary Habitability: Don’t Forget Exotic Life (Keynote-Lecture). Extraterrestrial Life – Beyond our Expectations? – Workshop, hosted at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, 21-22 May 2012.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Mendez, A., Fairen, A.G., von Paris, P., Turse, C., Boyer, G., Davila, A., Antonio, M.R.S., Catling, D., and Irwin, L.N. (2012) Metrics to Assess Planetary Habitability: The Earth Similarity Index and the Planetary Habitability Index (PHI). Astrobiology Science Conference, Atlanta, Georgia (USA), April 15-20, 2012.
  • Irwin, L.N., Mendez, A., Fairen, A.G., Catling, D., and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2012) Metrics for Predicting Biological Complexity on other Worlds. Astrobiology Science Conference, Atlanta, Georgia (USA), April 15-20, 2012.
  • Antonio, M.R.S. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2012) Social structure as the propeller of intelligent features. Astrobiology Science Conference, Atlanta, Georgia (USA), April 15-20, 2012.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Haque, S., Resendes de Sousa Antonio, M., Ali, D., Hosein, R., Song, Y.C., Yang, J., Zaikova, E., Beckles, D.M., Guinan, E., Lehto, H.J., and  Hallam, S.J. (2011) Microbial Life at Low Water Activity: A Natural Liquid Asphalt Lake and Titan EANA Meeting, Cologne, Germany, 11-14 July 2011.

Selected Publications:



  • Schulze-Makuch, D. and Irwin, L.N. (2004 hard cover, 2006 soft cover) Life in the Universe: Expectations and Constraints. Springer, Berlin, 172 p. (Academic Science Book).
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. and Irwin, L.N. (2008) 2nd edition, Life in the Universe: Expectations and Constraints. Springer, Berlin, 251 p. (Academic Science Book).
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. (2009) Voids of Eternity: Alien Encounter. (Science Fiction novel).
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. and Darling, D. (2010) We are not alone: Why we have already discovered extraterrestrial life. One World Publisher (Popular Science Book)
  • Irwin, L.N. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2011) Cosmic Biology: How Life could evolve on other Worlds. Praxis Publishing (Popular Science Book).
  • Darling, D. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2012) Megacatastrophies: Nine strange ways the world could end. One World Publisher (Popular Science Book: A scientific appraisal of the end of the world scanarios)”

         Made the Kindle Best Seller List in the U.K.!


Selected Papers
(*publications co-authored with students)

  • Schulze-Makuch, D. (2013) Extremophiles on alien worlds: what types of organismic adaptations are feasible on other planetary bodies? In Habitability on other Planets and Satellites (edited by J. Seckbach and J.-P. de Vera), Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, in press.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. and Seckbach, J. (2013) Tardigrades: An example of multicellular extremophiles. In Polyextremophiles: Life under Multiple Forms of Stress (edited by J. Seckbach, A. Oren, and H. Stan-Lotter). Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, in press.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Laval, B., and Irwin, L.N. (2012) The rise of complexity: Pavilion Lake microbialites suggest a pathway toward macroorganismic communities. Hypotheses in the Life Sciences, vol. 2, no. 2, p. 55-59.
  • António, M.R.S. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2012) Toward a new understanding of multicellularity. Hypotheses in the Life Sciences, vol. 2, no. 1, p. 4-14.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. (2012) The 100-year Starship Symposium – A Historic Meeting? Astrobiology, vol. 12, no. 1., p. 1-2.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Mendez, A., Fairén, A.G., von Paris, P., Turse, C., Boyer, G, Davila, A.F., and António, M.R.S. (2012) A dynamic scheme to assess habitability of exoplanets. In: Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats, and Astrobiology: Life on Earth and Other Planets (eds.: J. Seckback, S. Kempe, and A. Hanslmeier), pp. 311-321.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Haque, S., Antonio, M.R.S., Ali, D., Hosein, R., Song, Y.C., Yang, J., Zaikova, E., Beckles, D.M., Guinan, E., Lehto, H.J., and Hallam, S.J. (2011) Microbial life in a liquid asphalt desert.  Astrobiology, vol. 11, no. 3, p. 241-258.
  • Reiswig, B. and Schulze-Makuch, D.  (2011) The desire for the development of flight: a recurrent theme for advanced civilizations? Journal of Scientific Exploration, vol. 25, no. 2, p. 321-327.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Méndez, A., Fairén, A.G., von Paris, P., Turse, C., Boyer, G., Davila, A.F., António, M.R.S., Catling, D., and Irwin, L.N. (2011) A two-tiered approach to assessing the habitability of exoplanets. Astrobiology, vol. 11, no. 10, p. 1041-1052.  [ is listed previously as in press, please delete the previous entry and replace it with this one]
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., and Davies, P. (2010) To boldly go: A one-way human mission to Mars. Journal of Cosmology, vol. 12, p. 3619-3626,, and In: A One Way Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet (eds.: P. Davies and D. Schulze-Makuch, 2011). Cosmology Science Publishers
  • Davila, A.F., Skidmore, M., Fairén, A.G., Cockell, C., and Schulze-Makuch, D.(2010) New priorities in the robotic exploration of Mars: The case for in situ search of extant life. Astrobiology, vol. 10, no. 7, p. 705-710, doi:10.1089/ast.2010.0538
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. and Davila, A.F. (2010) Searching for Life Beyond our Planet: Are We There Yet? EOS, vol. 91, no. 32, p. 280.
  • Fairén, A.G., Chevrier, V., Abramov, O., Marzo, G.A., Gavin, P., Davila, A.F., Tornabene, L.L., Bishop, J.L., Roush, T.L., Gross, C., Kneissl, T., Uceda, E.R., Dohm, J.M., Schulze-Makuch, D., Rodríguez, A.P., Amils, R., and McKay (2010). Noachian and more recent phyllosilicates in impact craters on Mars.PNAS (USA), vol. 107, no. 27, p. 12,095-12,100.
  • António, M.R.S. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2010) The power of social structure: how we became an intelligent lineage. Int. J. Astrobiology, vol. 10, no. 1, p. 15-23.
  • Brooks, H. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2010) The Solar Wind Power Satellite as an alternative to a traditional Dyson Sphere and its implications for remote detection. Int. J. Astrobiology, vol. 9, no. 2, p. 89-99.
  • Houtkooper, J.M. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2010) Do perchlorates have a role for Martian life? Journal of Cosmology, vol. 5, p. 930-939.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. (2010) Io: Is life possible between fire and ice? Journal of Cosmology, vol. 5, p. 912-919.
  • Fan, C., Xie, H., Schulze-Makuch, D., and Ackley, S. (2010) A formation mechanism for hematite-rich spherules on Mars. Planetary Space and Science58: 401-410.
  • Antonio, M.R.S. and Schulze-Makuch, D.  (2009) The immune system as key to cancer treatment: triggering its activity with microbial agents. Bioscience Hypotheses, vol. 2, no. 6, p. 388-392
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. (2009) Classics in Space Medicine: Review of VISHNIAC W. Extraterrestrial microbiology. Aerosp Med 1960; 31:678–80.  Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine 80: 672-673.
  • Shapiro, R.S. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2009) The search for alien life in our solar system: strategies and priorities. Astrobiology, vol. 9, no. 4, 335-343.
  • Fairén, A.G., Schulze-Makuch, D., Rodriguez, A.P., Fink, W., Davila, A.F., Uceda, E.R., Furfaro, R., Amils, R. and McKay, C.P. (2009) Evidence for Amazonian acidic liquid water on Mars: a reinterpretation of MER mission results. Planet. Space and Science, vol. 57, no. 3, p. 276-287.
  • Fan, C., Schulze-Makuch, D., Xie, H., and Lu, N. (2009) Investigation of water signatures at gully-exposed sites on Mars by hyperspectral image analysis.Planetary Space and Science, vol. 57, no. 1, p. 93-104.
  • Lim, D.S.S., B.E. Laval, G. Salter, D. Antoniades, A.L. Forrest, W. Pike, R. Pieters, M. Saffari, D. Reid, D. Schulze-Makuch, D. Andersen, and C.P. McKay. (2009) Limnology of Pavilion Lake, B.C., Canada – Characterization of a microbialite forming environment. Fundamental and Applied Limnology, vol. 173, no. 4, p. 329-351.
  • Dohm, J.M., Baker, V.R., Boynton, W.V., Fairén, A.G., Ferris, J.C., Finch, M., Furfaro, R., Hare, T.M., Janes, D.M., Kargel, J.S., Karunatillake, S., Keller, J., Kerry, K., Kim, K., Komatsu, G., Mahaney, W.C., Schulze-Makuch, D.,Marinangeli, L., Ori, G.G., and Ruiz, J. (2009) GRS evidence and the possibility of paleooceans on Mars. Planetary Space and Science, vol. 57, no. 5-6, p. 664-684.
  • Houtkooper, J.M., and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2009) Possibilities for the detection of hydrogen peroxide-water based life on Mars by the Phoenix Lander. Planetary Space & Sciences, vol 57, no. 4, p. 449-453.
  • Davila, A.F., Fairen, A.G., Schulze-Makuch, D., and McKay, C.P. (2008) The ALH84001 case for life on Mars. Book chapter in From Fossils to Astrobiology(eds. Joseph Seckbach and Maud Walsh), pp. 471-490.
  • Abbas, S. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2008) Amino acid synthesis in Europa’s subsurface environment. Int. J. of Astrobiology, vol. 7, no. 3-4, p. 193-203.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Fairén, A.G., and Davila, A. F. (2008) The case for life on Mars. Int. J. of Astrobiology, vol. 7, no. 2, 117-141.
  • Davila, A.F., Fairén, A.G., Duport, L.G., Stoker, C., Amils, R., Bonaccorsi, R., Zavaleta, J., Lim, D., Schulze-Makuch, D., and McKay, C.P. (2008) Subsurface formation of oxidants on Mars and implications for the preservation of organic biosignatures. EPSL vol. 272, 456-463.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Turse, C., Houtkooper, J.M., and McKay, C.P. (2008) Testing the H2O2-H2O Hypothesis for Life on Mars with the TEGA instrument on the Phoenix Lander. Astrobiology 8, 205-214.
  • Fan, C., Schulze-Makuch, D., Wolff, J.A., and Fairén, A.G (2008) A new hypothesis for the origin and redistribution of sulfates in the equatorial region of Western Mars. Geophysical Research Letters 35, L06201, doi:10.1029/2007GL033079
  • Dohm, J.M., Anderson, R.C., Barlow, N.G., Miyamoto, H., Davies, A.G., Taylor, G.J., Baker, V.R., Boynton, W.V., Keller, J., Kerry, K., Janes, D., Fairén, A.G.,Schulze-Makuch, D., Glamoclija, M., Marinangeli, L., Ori, G.C., Strom, R.G., Williams, J.-P., Ferris, J.C., Rodríguez, J.A.P., de Pablo, M.A., and Karunatillake, S. (2008) Recent geological and hydrological activity on Mars: the Tharsis/Elysium Corridor. Planetary Space and Science 56, 985-1013
  • Furfaro, R., Dohm, J.M., Fink, W., Baker, V., Schulze-Makuch, D., Fairen,  A.F., Ferre, P.T., Kargel, J., Hare, T., and Tarbell, M. (2008) The search for life beyond Earth through fuzzy expert systems. Planetary Space and Science, 56, 448-472.
  • Abdel-Fattah, A., Langford, R., and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2007) Applications of particle-tracking techniques to bank infiltration: a case study from El Paso, Texas, USA. Environmental Geology, doi 10.1007/s00254-007-0996-z.
  • Rodríguez, J.A.P., Tanaka, K.L., Kargel, J. S., Dohm, J.M., Kuzmin, R., Fairén, A.G., Sasaki, S., Komatsu, G., Schulze-Makuch, D., and Jianguo, Y. (2007) Formation and disruption of aquifers in southwestern Chryse Planitia, Mars.Icarus 191, no. 2, p. 545-567.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Dohm, J.M., Fan, C., Fairén, A.G., Rodriguez, J.A.P., Baker, V.R., and Fink, W.  (2007) Exploration of hydrothermal targets on Mars.  Icarus 189: 308-324.
  • Houtkooper, J.M. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2007) A possible biogenic origin for hydrogen peroxide on Mars: the Viking results reinterpreted.  Int. J. of Astrobiology 6, no. 2, p. 147-152.
  • Marion, G., and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2007) Astrobiology and the search for life in the universe. Book Chapter in Physiology and Biochemistry of Extremophiles (ed. C. Gerday and N. Glansdorff), Chapter 26, pp. 351-358, ASM Press.
  • Diaz, B. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2006) Microbial survival rates of E. coli and D. radiodurans under single and combined stresses of temperature, pressure, and UV radiation, and its relevance to Martian environmental conditions.Astrobiology 6, no. 2, p. 332-347.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., and Irwin, L.N. (2006) The prospect of alien life in exotic forms on other worlds. Naturwissenschaften, vol. 93, no. 4, p. 155-172.
  • Muller, A.W.J. and Schulze-Makuch, D. (2006) Thermal energy and the origin of life. Origin of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, vol. 36: 177-189.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Irwin, L.N., Lipps, J.H., LeMone, D., Dohm, J.M., and Fairén, A.G (2005) Scenarios for the evolution of life on Mars. Special Edition on Early Mars of Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets 110, E12S23, doi:10.1029/2005JE002430.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D., Dohm, J.M., Fairén, A.G., Baker, V.R., Fink, W., and Strom, R.G. (2005) Venus, Mars, and the ices on Mercury and the Moon: astrobiological implications and proposed mission designs. Astrobiology 5, 778-795.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. (2005) Longitudinal dispersivity data and implications for scaling behavior. Ground Water, vol. 43, no. 3, p. 443-456.
  • Baker, V.R., Dohm, J.M., Fairén, A.G., Ferre, P.A., Ferris, J.C., Miyamoto, H., andSchulze-Makuch, D. (2005) Extraterrestrial Hydrogeology. Hydrogeology Journal, vol. 13, no. 1, p. 51-68.
  • Schulze-Makuch, D. and Grinspoon, D.H. (2005) Biologically Enhanced Energy and Carbon Cycling on Titan? Astrobiology, vol. 5, no. 4., p. 560-567.


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