AbGradCon 2015 webcast (July 20-22) available at http://abgradcon.org/remote.html and http://saganet.org/page/saganlive
The NAI-sponsored Astrobiology Graduate Conference (AbGradCon) 2015 will be held on July 19-23, 2015 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Those unable to attend in person can still participate via live webcast. The stream will start at 8AM CDT on July 20, 21, and 22 at http://abgradcon.org/remote.html. You can also view the webcast and join in a live chat on the SAGANet site: http://saganet.org/page/saganlive.
AbGradCon offers a unique opportunity for graduate students and early career ...July 15, 2015 / Posted by: Miki Huynh
The "Dynamic Duo" photo of Pluto and Charon taken by the New Horizons spacecraft on July 8, 2015 from 3.7 million miles away. Credit: NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI
Excitement builds as the public waits for the New Horizons spacecraft to fly by Pluto on July 14, 2015. The flyby will create a landmark in our understanding of Pluto’s atmosphere, geology, and other surface conditions and increase our understanding of what lies further on in the Kuiper Belt.
Because extremely cold temperatures make present-day volcanic activity and circulation of biogenic elements on the icy surface impossible, neither Pluto nor its moons are ...July 13, 2015 / Written by: Miki Huynh
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
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 ...July 10, 2015 / Posted by: Miki Huynh
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 ...July 9, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
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
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 ...
Microbes survived on the exterior of the International Space Station for nearly two years, if their UV radiation was limited or eliminated. Credit: NASA
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 ...
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
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.
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 ...June 25, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
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
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 ...
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 ...June 22, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
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 ...June 19, 2015 / Written by: Miki Huynh
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 ...June 18, 2015 / Written by: Miki Huynh
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 ...June 18, 2015 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
TextureCam analyzes rocks in the Mojave Desert that resemble rocks it may one day be called to identify on Mars. Credit: Kiri Wagstaff
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 ...
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 ...June 15, 2015 / Posted by: Miki Huynh
- October 16 - Abstract Submission Deadline for 2016 Gordon Research Conference & Seminar "Origins of Life"
- October 20 - Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) Meeting
- October 23 - Abstract Submission Deadline for Paneth Kolloquium: First 10 Million Years of the Solar System
- October 28 - International Meeting: Missions to Habitable Worlds
- October 31 - Application Deadline for 2016 Vatican Observatory Summer School in Astrophyics on Water in the Solar System and Beyond
- October 31 - Application Deadline for the 2016 Exploration Postdoctoral Fellowships at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University
- November 1 - Geological Society of America (GSA) 2015 Annual Meeting
- November 1 - Application Deadline for NASA Astrobiology Postdoctoral Program Fellowshi[
- November 2 - K2 Science Conference (K2SciCon)
- November 5 - Application Deadline for 2016 Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowships
- November 11 - Paneth Kolloquium: First 10 Million Years of the Solar System
- November 16 - French Astrobiology Society Young Researchers Congress