Ball and stick model of the oxalic acid molecule. Credit: Ben Mills and Jynto, Wikimedia Commons
A new study is helping astrobiologists understand whether or not the decomposition of oxalic acid could act as a source of C-O-H in petrologic experiments. The team studied how oxalic acid decomposes in oxidizing, reducing and unbuffered solutions at temperatures up to 800 °C.
The paper, “In-situ characterization of oxalic acid breakdown at elevated P and T: Implications for organic C-O-H fluid sources ...April 3, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
Researchers sail the PLL toward the northwest finger of Laguna Negra. Credit: Chris Haberle
Researchers supported by the Astrobiology Science & Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) element of the Astrobiology Program have published a field report on the Planetary Lake Lander (PLL) probe. The report describes the design and operation of the PLL as well as its ground data systems.
The PLL is designed to study physical, chemical, and biological processes in a high-altitude lake, and how these processes are being affected by deglaciation. The PLL also provides an opportunity to test technologies that could be used on a future mission to Saturn’s moon Titan.
Check out the Planetary Lake Lander Project Video Series here.
The study, “Planetary Lake Lander—A Robotic Sentinel to Monitor Remote Lakes,” was published in the Journal of Field Robotics.
Source: [Journal of Field Robotics]April 1, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity drilled into this rock target, “Cumberland,” during the 279th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (May 19, 2013) and collected a powdered sample of material from the rock’s interior. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Scientists using the Curiosity rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument have found complex organic molecules on Mars when analyzing samples from a mudstone in the site dubbed 'Yellowknife Bay.’ The findings are the first results from the wet chemistry experiment on SAM, and were presented at the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC ...March 30, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
Integration of Sample Analysis at Mars instrument for Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SAM
A team using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover has made the first detection of nitrogen on the surface of Mars from release during heating of Martian sediments. The nitrogen was detected in the form of nitric oxide, and could be released from the breakdown of nitrates during heating. Nitrates are a class of molecules that contain nitrogen in a form that can be used by living organisms. The discovery adds to the evidence that ancient ...March 26, 2015 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Finalists from FameLab Season 3 Regional Competition #1, held during AbGradCon 2014 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Credit: NASA
The Regional Heat #3 for Season 3 of the FameLab competition will be held at Stony Brook University on Long Island from April 16-17, 2015.
Are you an early career scientist who is passionate about science communication…or simply looking to improve your skills? Visit the FameLab site for more information and to register!
This regional heat is being hosted in partnership with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.
Source: [FameLab]March 24, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
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
- May 25 - 1st Advanced School on Exoplanetary Science
- May 28 - Emerging Researchers in Exoplanet Science Symposium (ERES)
- May 29 - Application Deadline for The Forum for New Leaders in Space Science
- May 29 - Pre-proposal deadline for FfAME - Templeton Origins Funding Opportunity
- 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 10 - Registration Deadline for European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) 2015
- June 15 - Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) 2015
- June 15 - Application Deadline for Summer School at Moletai Observatory: "Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems and Habitable Planets"
- June 19 - Application Deadline for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) International Top Young Fellowship (ITYF)
- June 22 - International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy 70th Meeting
- June 24 - European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) 2015
- June 28 - Abstract and Registration Deadline for 15th EANA Astrobiology Conference
- June 30 - Abstract Submission Deadline for Exoplanetary Atmospheres and Habitability Workshop
- June 30 - Principal Investigator or Associate Principal Investigator Opportunity at The Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology