NAI

  1. NASA Ames NAI Team Participates in the Chickasaw Nation Aeronautics and Space Academy (CNASA)


    Andrew Mattioda, Space and Planetary Scientist at NASA Ames, and Carl Rutledge, Professor at East Central University, guide CNASA students in viewing solar prominences. Credit: NASA Space Science Andrew Mattioda, Space and Planetary Scientist at NASA Ames, and Carl Rutledge, Professor at East Central University, guide CNASA students in viewing solar prominences. Credit: NASA Space Science

    Source: [NASA Space Science and Astrobiology at Ames]

    On June 9th and 10th, Dr. Andrew Mattioda of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) CAN 7 team participated in the Chickasaw Nation Aeronautics and Space Academy (CNASA) held in Ada, Oklahoma. The Chickasaw Nation conducts the week-long camp to encourage their Native American youth to consider careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. During his two days at the camp, Dr ...

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  1. Studying Astrobiology: An Examination of Academic Publications at the NAI


    A graphic showing scientific disciplines covered in astrobiology research at the NAI between 2008 and 2012. Credit: Taşkın and Aydinoglu (2015) A graphic showing scientific disciplines covered in astrobiology research at the NAI between 2008 and 2012. Credit: Taşkın and Aydinoglu (2015)

    Dr. Arsev Aydinoglu performed a thorough examination of academic publications resulting from research funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). The bibliometric study analyzed 1210 peer-reviewed papers that were published between 2008 and 2012, and provides important insights into the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of astrobiology research at the NAI. The work reveals information about the types of journals and fields of study that feature in publications, and the ways in which astrobiologists work together to advance the science ...

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  1. Robotic Tunneler May Explore Icy Moons


    The Stone Aerospace team with VALKYRIE (the black tube hanging on the apparatus in the middle of the picture) on the Matanuska glacier during testing in 2014. Image: Stone Aerospace The Stone Aerospace team with VALKYRIE (the black tube hanging on the apparatus in the middle of the picture) on the Matanuska glacier during testing in 2014. Image: Stone Aerospace

    Source: [astrobio.net]

    A robotic “cryobot,” designed to tunnel down through thick ice caps and penetrate subterranean seas, is undergoing tests on the Matanuska glacier in Alaska. It paves the way towards one day exploring the underground oceans of Jupiter’s moon, Europa, or other icy moons of the Outer Solar System.

    Named VALKYRIE (Very deep Autonomous Laser-powered Kilowatt-class Yo-yoing Robotic Ice Explorer) and funded by NASA’s Astrobiology Science ...

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  1. Microbes in Space Provide Clues for Planetary Protection


    Microbes survived on the exterior of the International Space Station for nearly two years, if their UV radiation was limited or eliminated. Credit: NASA Microbes survived on the exterior of the International Space Station for nearly two years, if their UV radiation was limited or eliminated. Credit: NASA

    [Source: astrobio.net]

    Outer space might be the toughest environment for life, but some hearty microbes have been able to survive in it for surprising amounts of time. Understanding how well microbes can survive in space is of importance when sending out orbiters or landers around bodies that might present the right conditions for life, such as Mars. Scientists want to be careful to avoid contaminating other worlds with life from our own.

    In a recent ...

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  1. Earth and Mars May Have Shared Seeds of Life


    The red color of Aguas Calientes comes from algae, which must create their protection from the harsh ultraviolet radiation coming from the son. Credit: The High Lakes Project: The SETI Institute Carl The red color of Aguas Calientes comes from algae, which must create their protection from the harsh ultraviolet radiation coming from the son. Credit: The High Lakes Project: The SETI Institute Carl Sagan Center/NASA Ames/ NAI

    Source: [astrobio.net]

    Could Mars, of all places, be the place to look for early life on Earth? It’s an intriguing thought and one that astrobiologists take seriously as they consider the conditions during the early days of Solar System when both planets experienced frequent bombardments by asteroids and comets that resulted in debris exchange between one body and the other.

    Planetary ...

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  1. FameLab USA’s AbSciCon Finalist


    The fifth regional heat of FameLab USA’s Season 3 took place at the 2015 Astrobiology Science Conference in Chicago. Credit: NASA Astrobiology The fifth regional heat of FameLab USA’s Season 3 took place at the 2015 Astrobiology Science Conference in Chicago. Credit: NASA Astrobiology

    The fifth regional heat of FameLab USA’s Season 3 took place in Chicago, IL, on June 13-15 in conjunction with the 2015 Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon).

    Fifteen early career scientists participated, and the research represented covered everything from the geological history of Earth to planetary atmospheres and the search for life on planets beyond our solar system! The first round of competition was held in The Field Museum of Chicago.

    Ten of the fifteen participants advanced ...

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  1. Fossils Explain How Life Coped During Snowball Earth


    Ice Ages that covered much of the world in glaciers are thought to have occurred twice during the Cryogenian period, between about 720 and 660 million years ago, and again from 650 to 640 million year Ice Ages that covered much of the world in glaciers are thought to have occurred twice during the Cryogenian period, between about 720 and 660 million years ago, and again from 650 to 640 million years ago. Credit: NSF

    Source: [astrobio.net]

    Researchers have discovered what they think are fossils of a unique red algae species that lived about 650 million years ago during a brief respite between some of the most extreme ice ages the world has ever known. The fossils could speak to how life coped in the aptly named Cryogenian period, when glaciers held most of Earth ...

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  1. Origins, Bottlenecks, and Present-Day Diversity


    An outcrop of fossil bivalve shells from the Miocene. Credit: <a href="http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/061101_diversity" target="_blank">UC Berkeley</a> An outcrop of fossil bivalve shells from the Miocene. Credit: UC Berkeley

    Researchers studying living and fossil marine bivalves are providing new insights into how geographic range relates to the evolution of diversity in families of organisms. The study, supported in part by the Exobiology & Evolutionary Biology element of the NASA Astrobiology Program, focuses on how an organism’s position in a morphospace can affect evolution.

    A 'morphospace’ is a way of representing an organism’s possible form, shape or structure. A morphospace has multiple dimensions, and each axis corresponds to a different character of the organism being studied. A single point on the morphospace represents an individual organism in the population.

    The study ...

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  1. Results of the AbSciCon 2015 Student Poster Competition


    Timothy Lenz, David Fiahlo and Ryo Mizuuchi win top standings in AbSciCon 2015 Student Poster Competition Timothy Lenz, David Fiahlo and Ryo Mizuuchi win top standings in AbSciCon 2015 Student Poster Competition

    Winners of the NAI-sponsored Student Poster Competition at AbSciCon have been announced. The top posters were selected out of 93 entries, in a session aimed to encourage and recognize the most promising astrobiologists of the future. Given the large number of submissions and the enthusiastic turnout, the event proved to be the highlight of the conference for students.

    First Place: David Fialho, Georgia Tech, Synthesis and Self-Assembly of Model Proto-Nucleosides

    Second Place: Timothy Lenz, Georgia Tech, Iron(II) and Magnesium Binding to Full-Length LSU ...

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  1. Pascale Ehrenfreund, Astrobiologist, Appointed to Chair the German Aerospace Center


    Pascale Ehrenfreund appointed Chair of the Executive Board of DLR. Photo credit: GW Magazine Pascale Ehrenfreund appointed Chair of the Executive Board of DLR. Photo credit: GW Magazine

    The German Aerospace Center (known natively as Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has selected Pascale Ehrenfreund as their new Chair of the Executive Board. She currently serves as a Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs at the Space Policy Institute in Washington and as a member of the NAI University of Wisconsin team that investigates Hability, Life Detection, and the Signatures of Life on the Terrestrial Planets. She has made important contributions to several space missions at NASA.

    Ehrenfreud established herself “as ...

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  1. The pH of Enceladus’ Ocean


    This view looks across the geyser basin of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, along fractures spewing water vapor and ice particles into space. Cassini scientists have pinpointed the source locations of about 1 This view looks across the geyser basin of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, along fractures spewing water vapor and ice particles into space. Cassini scientists have pinpointed the source locations of about 100 geysers and gained new insights into what powers them. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

    Researchers supported in part by the NASA Astrobiology Institute have revealed the pH of water in the geyser-like plumes of Enceladus. The findings could help astrobiologists understand the potential for past or present life on Saturn’s sixth-largest moon. Click here to view the press release from the Carnegie Institute.

    The study, “The pH of ...

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  1. Building a Smarter Rover


    TextureCam analyzes rocks in the Mojave Desert that resemble rocks it may one day be called to identify on Mars. Credit: Kiri Wagstaff TextureCam analyzes rocks in the Mojave Desert that resemble rocks it may one day be called to identify on Mars. Credit: Kiri Wagstaff

    Source: [astrobio.net]

    The next mission to Mars could carry a smarter rover that is able to make better decisions absent instructions from Earth. Engineers are looking to automate some of the simple decision-making steps undertaken by rovers and orbiters, which could dramatically improve the science they are able to perform in the search for habitable environments.

    This is the focus of the TextureCam Intelligent Camera Project, a NASA system that enhances autonomous investigations. TextureCam will allow ...

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  1. AbSciCon Sessions Streaming Live


    Those outside of Chicago can still catch AbSciCon sessions remotely at https://ac.arc.nasa.gov/abscicon. Just login as a guest user using your first and last name.

    Monday, June 15 (all times CDT)
    8:00AM – The Deep History of a Carbon Atom
    9:15AM – Sustained Habitability on a Dynamic Early Earth
    10:30AM – The Beginning and End of the RNA World from the Perspective of Ribosome Origins
    1:45PM – Major Transitions in Evolution: Catalysts and Constraints I: Inference from Natural Systems
    4:00PM – Major Transitions in Evolution: Catalysts and Constraints II: Studying De ...

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  1. A Chance for Microbes in Meteorites


    Microbes survived on the exterior of the International Space Station for nearly two years, if their UV radiation was limited or eliminated. Credit: NASA Microbes survived on the exterior of the International Space Station for nearly two years, if their UV radiation was limited or eliminated. Credit: NASA

    Microbes Can Survive In Meteorites If Shielded From UV Radiation

    Source: [astrobio.net]

    Understanding how well microbes can survive in space is of importance when sending out orbiters or landers around bodies that might present the right conditions for life, such as Mars. Scientists want to be careful to avoid contaminating other worlds with life from our own. And microbes’ resilience to Outer Space enhances the prospects of panspermia, in which life can be seeded between ...

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  1. FameLab at AbSciCon


    FameLab USA Facebook Page FameLab USA Facebook Page

    Season 3, Regional Heat #5 at AbSciCon in Chicago, IL

    The next FameLab USA competition will be held Saturday, June 13th, Sunday, June 14th & Monday, June 15th, during the 2015 Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon).

    For more information, visit: http://famelab-eeb.arc.nasa.gov/competitions/season3-abscicon2015/.

    The preliminary competition round, lunch and the communications workshop will be held at the:

    Chicago Field Museum
    Lecture Hall 2
    1400 South Lake Shore Drive
    Chicago, IL 60605

    The evening competition round and reception will be held at the:

    Hilton Downtown Chicago
    Hilton Downtown Chicago Ballroom
    720 South Michigan Avenue
    Chicago ...

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