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
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
- July 15 - Application Deadline for Returned Sample Science (RSS) Board for Mars 2020
- July 15 - Australian Centre for Astrobiology “Grand Tour”
- July 19 - Science Communication Workshop at the Alan Alda Center at Stony Brook University
- July 20 - Lunar and Small Bodies Graduate Conference (LunGradCon) 2015
- July 20 - Presentation Submission Deadline for Second Landing Site Workshop for the Mars 2020 Rover
- July 24 - Registration Deadline for Astrobiology Graduates in Europe (AbGradE) Mission Design Workshop
- July 29 - USGS Training Workshop: Introduction to GIS for Planetary Mappers
- August 1 - Postdoctoral Teaching Associate in Mineralogy - University of Tennesee
- August 1 - Application Deadline for Ten Postdoctoral Fellowships in Interdisciplinary Research Relating to Origins of Life
- August 1 - Application Deadline for Reconceptualizing the Origin of Life: Experimental, Interdisciplinary, and Computational Windows on the Core Concepts - Conference
- August 5 - Abstract Submission Deadline for 2015 AGU Fall Meeting
- August 8 - Abstract Submission Deadline for American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting
- August 11 - Abstract Submission Deadline for Geological Society of America (GSA) 2015 Annual Meeting