SOFIA data reveal warm dust (white) surviving inside a supernova remnant. The SNR Sgr A East cloud is traced in X-rays (blue). Radio emission (red) shows expanding shock waves colliding with surrounding interstellar clouds (green). Image Credit: NASA/CXO/Herschel/VLA/Lau et al
Using NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), an international scientific team discovered that supernovae are capable of producing a substantial amount of the material from which planets like Earth can form.
These findings are published in the March 19 online issue of Science magazine.
SOFIA is a heavily modified Boeing 747 Special Performance jetliner ...March 23, 2015 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Artist’s conception of Huygens approaching Titan. Credit: NASA
A decade after landing on Titan, data from the Huygens probe is helping scientists understand how the atmosphere of Saturn’s mysterious moon was formed.
The study, “Noble gases, nitrogen, and methane from the deep interior to the atmosphere of Titan,” was published in the journal Icarus by lead author Christopher Glein. Glein was member of the former NAI Team at Arizona State University and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto in Canada.
Timothy Lyons (left) and Ariel Anbar (right) have been named Geochemistry Fellows. Credit: NASA Astrobiology
Timothy Lyons is the NASA Astrobiology Institute Team PI at the University of California, Riverside. Ariel Anbar, Principal Investigator (PI) in the Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology (Exo/Evo) element of the NASA Astrobiology Program, is also a Co-Investigator for the NAI team at UC Riverside.March 16, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
Researchers Chris Reinhard (right) and Noah Planavsky dig into a shale exposure. Credit: Chu Research Group, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit institution that provides grants in support of original research and education in science.March 13, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
NASA scientists have determined that a primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth's Arctic Ocean and that the Red Planet has lost 87 percent of that water to space. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC
A primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean, according to NASA scientists who, using ground-based observatories, measured water signatures in the Red Planet’s atmosphere. Scientists have been searching for answers to why this vast water supply left the surface. Details of the observations and computations appear in Thursday’s edition of Science magazine.
Study authors include members of ...March 12, 2015 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Left to right: Ames scientists Michel Nuevo, Christopher Materese and Scott Sandford reproduce uracil, cytosine, and thymine, three key components of our hereditary material, in the laboratory. Image Credit: NASA/ Dominic Hart
NASA scientists studying the origin of life have reproduced uracil, cytosine, and thymine, three key components of our hereditary material, in the laboratory. They discovered that an ice sample containing pyrimidine exposed to ultraviolet radiation under space-like conditions produces these essential ingredients of life.
The research was funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) and the NASA Origins of Solar Systems Program.
Source: [NASA Ames]March 11, 2015 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
On the radio program Big Picture Science, David Grinspoon recently joined a discussion about the impacts of humankind on planet Earth. Right now, the Earth is in a geological epoch known as the Holocene. However, some scientists believe we have moved into a new epoch dubbed the 'Anthropocene,’ or the age of man.
To listen to the program, visit: https://radio.seti.org/episodes/Surviving_the_Anthropocene
David Grinspoon is a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, and was the first Baruch S. Blumberg NASA-Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology. During his time as chair, Grinspoon studied the ...March 11, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
The 2015 International Summer School in Astrobiology will be held at the summer campus of the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo (UIMP), Palacio de la Magdalena, Santander, Spain on June 29 – July 3, 2015.
This year’s theme will be The Origin of Life: From Monomers to Cells. The school will provide an interdisciplinary examination of the chemical, physical and geological processes that are required to develop cellular life, and discuss the different environmental settings that would support these processes. Topics covered will include an introductory overview of origin of life research and future directions, planetary environments for life’s origin ...March 9, 2015 / Written by: Julie Fletcher
FameLab regionals in December 2014 at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, CA. Credit: NASA Astrobiology
Calling all early career scientists! Passionate about science? Love to Communicate. . .or want to learn how? Been wanting to do FameLab but couldn’t make any of the in-person heats? THIS is your chance… join us for the FameLab USA Season 3 Online Competition! Submit a YouTube video of your 3-minute, powerpoint-free presentation by March 16th, then join our live, online event on March 18th to get feedback directly from the judges. Can’t make it on the 18th? We’ll email you a ...March 9, 2015 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Rubén Campanero (center left) is recognized with the First Prize of Planetology and Astrobiology for his work during the online Spanish course, "Planetología y Astrobiología." Honorable Mention went to Verónica Casanova (center right). Credit: ICOG
Organizers of last year’s successful online Spanish course, “Planetología y Astrobiología,” have awarded the first Prize of Planetology and Astrobiology to recognize the contributions of two outstanding students.
First Prize was awarded to Ruben Campanero, a Geologist specializing in chondritic meteorites. Honorable Mention went to Verónica Casanova, a student of Physics at the National Distance Education University.
The course was attended by over 100 ...March 6, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
Strong irradiation from the host star can cause planets known as mini-Neptunes in the habitable zone to shed their gaseous envelopes and become potentially habitable worlds.Credit: Rodrigo Luger / NASA images
A new study supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) indicates that some terrestrial planets in the habitable zones of low mass stars could be the evaporated cores of small Neptune-like planets.
University of Washington (UW) graduate student Rodrigo Luger, professors Rory Barnes and Victoria Meadows, and collaborators published results from an interdisciplinary model that show photoevaporation can remove hydrogen and helium from small, gaseous exoplanets, transforming them into ...March 4, 2015 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
The third Nordic-Hawaii Summer School will be held July 1-14, 2015, in Iceland. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
Applications for the third Nordic-Hawaii astrobiology Summer School are due March 15 at 23:59:00 UTC. The course will take place in Iceland from July 1 to 14, 2015.
Participants will receive a high-level introduction into water’s role in the evolution of life in the cosmos, starting from the formation of water molecules in space and ending with the evolution of the first organisms.
The program comprises:
- Lectures by internationally leading scientists covering a broad range ...March 3, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
The Mariner 9 mission first saw the peak of Olympus Mons on Mars in the midst of a global dust storm in 1971. Credit: NASA/JPL
A new study of emissions from Martian volcanoes suggests there is no activity going on right now, but researchers aren’t ruling out recent eruptions.
Previously, scientists have used ground-based telescopes to perform short-term searches for sulfuric acid on Mars — a key indicator of volcanic activity. Now, a new instrument on Europe’s next Mars spacecraft could be used for long-term, up-close searches.
Deep-sea microorganisms are unchanged over more than 2 billion years. Credit: UCLA Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life
Scientists have discovered 1.8 billion-year-old fossil microorganisms in fossilized deep-sea mud from Western Australia. It appears that the sulfur-cycling microbial community is almost identical to microbial fossils from 2.3 billion-years-ago, and to modern communities found off the coast of South America.
The stability of these communities could be evidence of a long-term lack of evolution, which reflects the lack of change in their environment. This would be an example of a theory known as evolution ...February 26, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
Passionate about science? Love to communicate…or want to learn how? Missed the in-person regional heats? THIS is your chance. Join us for the FameLab USA Season 3 Online Competition!
Unlike our in-person events, in this heat you will record yourself giving a 3-minute, powerpoint-free presentation, create a YouTube video of it, and submit that to us no later than March 16th. Then join us for the live, online judging event on March 18th to receive feedback from the judges. We are also planning a live, online science communications workshop, still TBA.
More info, and plenty of how-to’s, tips ...February 25, 2015 / Written by: Daniella Scalice
- April 29 - Abstract Submission Deadline for European Planetary Science Congress 2015
- April 30 - Abstract Submission Deadline for 3rd International Workshop on Microbial Life Under Extreme Energy Limitation
- April 30 - Abstract Submission Deadline for Comparative Climates of Terrestrial Planets II: Understanding How Climate Systems Work (CCTP2)
- May 1 - Abstract Submission Deadline for 6th International Conference on Polar and Alpine Microbiology
- May 3 - Joint Assembly AGU, GAC, MAC, CGU
- May 4 - Comparative Tectonics and Geodynamics of Venus, Earth, and Rocky Exoplanets
- May 13 - Abstract Submission Deadline for 78th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society
- May 25 - 1st Advanced School on Exoplanetary Science
- May 28 - Emerging Researchers in Exoplanet Science Symposium (ERES)
- May 31 - Abstract Submission Deadline for 2nd Symposium of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR 2015): Water and Life in the Universe
- May 31 - Application Deadline for Gordon Research Conference on Origins of Solar Systems
- May 31 - Abstract Submission Deadline for Life in a Cosmic Context - 5th Workshop of the Italian Astrobiology Society
- June 2 - Workshop on the Formation of the Solar System II
- June 5 - Application Deadline for Berkner Autumn Program 2015