NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed on Mars a little over a year ago, and results from its first four months of data collection have now been published in the journal Science.
Five articles outline numerous findings from Curiosity’s suite of instruments, including data from Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction (CheMin). The studies will help astrobiologists understand past and present environmental conditions on Mars.November 4, 2013 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
Please join us in welcoming science historian Steven J. Dick as he begins his term today as the second Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He will be in residence for one year.
A well-known astronomer and author, Dick was the chair in aerospace history at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum and served as the chief historian for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from 2003 to 2009.
Dick will examine the historical background of astrobiology, and will ...November 1, 2013 / Posted by: Daniella Scalice
Some of the exhibit panels
Join us in congratulating the Goddard Center for Astrobiology on their new “Astrobiology Walk” which is installed at the Visitor Center at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, MD.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on October 29, 2013, headlined by Goddard Center Director Chris Scolese, Senior Scientist for Astrobiology at NASA Mary Voytek, and Mike Mumma, Director of the Goddard Center for Astrobiology and an NAI Principal Investigator.The ribbon is about to be cut! L-R: Mike Mumma, Mary Voytek, Chris Scolese
As each station on the Walk was unveiled, scientist-docents were on hand to ...November 1, 2013 / Posted by: Daniella Scalice
An artist's conception of Kepler-78b orbiting its parent star once every 8.5 hours. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)
Using data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, astronomers have discovered the first rocky, Earth-sized planet orbiting a distant star. The planet, Kepler-78b, may be 'Earth-sized’ but it is not 'Earth-like.’ It whizzes closely around its host star in just 8.5 hours, and is so hot that it is uninhabitable for life as we know it.
Kepler-78b was first identified by the Kepler space telescope, which has spent four years searching for planets around more than 150,000 stars. Two ...October 30, 2013 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
The image of Earth on the left is very close to what is be seen by the human eye. For the image on the right, a red component was substituted that shows near infra-red colors. The vegetation in the Amazon basin produces the red color in this image. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Researchers are collecting together data on photosynthetic pigments from Earth to help imagine the colors of life on other planets.
Plants and other photosynthetic organisms use special molecules for absorbing light. These pigments have a distinctive color, or spectrum ...
Close up of a space filling representation of a domain in 23S rRNA from E. coli. Credit: Petrov et al. (2013)
Astrobiologists have revealed new information about the structure of RNA molecules found in the ribosome of cells. The study indicates that long-accepted models of ribosomal RNA (rRNA), which are used to study how ribosomes function, require some major updating.
Previous models indicated that rRNA was built out of 6 separate pieces – known as domains. These six domains were organized around a central core, and the structure of this core was a bit of a mystery. This model of rRNA ...October 23, 2013 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
Please join us in congratulating the NAI’s University of Wisconsin, Madison team in the grand opening of their new Biosignatures exhibit at the University’s Geology Museum this week! The exhibit takes visitors on a journey back in time to examine signatures of life in ancient rocks and fossils, as well as a journey through the senses with the Aromas of Astrobiology installation! A meteorite from Mars is the crown jewel…September 26, 2013 / Posted by: Daniella Scalice
Please note that, in order to include the new director of the NAI in the CAN Cycle 7 process and to make selection with full knowledge of FY14 budgets the Step-2 proposal due date is changed to April 30, 2014. NASA expects that decisions for the Step 1 proposals will be made on or before Dec 18, 2013. In addition, a number of links to NAI websites have been corrected. The full text of the CAN is available electronically at http://nspires.nasaprs.com.
The Step-1 proposal due date changed from November 4, 2013 to November 18, 2013 due to ...September 19, 2013 / Posted by: Julie Fletcher
The NASA Astrobiology Strategy process has reached an important milestone. The concept documents, which were created at the Wallops Island workshop, are now ready for public comment.
The commenting process will be kicked-off with a webinar on the 19th of September at 14:00 EDT. During the event, Frank Rosenzweig, Eric Smith, and Michael New will give an overview of the work done so far, and explain the next steps. More details can be found on the astrobiologyfuture.org website.
The kick-off event will be followed by a series of webinars in which the authors of each paper will discuss ...September 13, 2013 / Posted by: Shige Abe
Potential sites for NASA’s next landing on Mars have been narrowed to four semifinalist located in the Elysium Planitia region. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA has narrowed down the potential landing sites for the agency’s upcoming InSight mission from twenty-two to just four. The four sites are close together in an area called Elysium Panitia near the martian equator.
InSight (Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is a stationary lander that will study the interior of Mars. The lander will deploy a seismometer on the surface and will use a heat probe to penetrate into ...September 9, 2013 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Lab demonstration of the measurement chamber inside the Tunable Laser Spectrometer, an instrument that is part of SAM on NASA’s Curiosity rover. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
New results from the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation on NASA’s Curiosity rover have been reported in two papers in the journal Science. Curiosity has been using SAM to study the atmospheric composition on Mars, and is revealing new clues about how the planet lost much of its original atmosphere.
The findings come from atmospheric samples collected in the first 16 weeks of Curiosity’s mission. The samples were analyzed with ...September 3, 2013 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Comparison of exhumed delta in sedimentary rocks on Mars (left) with a modern delta on Earth (right). On the left, a shaded relief map shows elevated, branching, lobate features in Aeolis Dorsa, Mars, interpreted as resistant channel deposits that make up an ancient delta. These layered, cross-cutting features are typical of channelized sedimentary deposits on Earth and here are indicative of a coastal delta environment. Credit: DiBiase et al./Journal of Geophysical Research/2013 and USGS/NASA Landsat
Scientists studying data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have discovered new evidence that Mars may have once had a vast ocean ...August 30, 2013 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
This 70mm handheld camera’s view of the moon, photographed during the Apollo 16 mission’s lunar orbit, features Crater Bullialdus, located at approximately 20 degrees south latitude and 20.8 west longitude. Credit: NASA
Scientists supported by NASA have detected water locked in mineral grains on the Moon. The findings hint at unknown water sources deep below the lunar surface. Data for the study came from the NASA-funded Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.
Chandrayaan-1 used M3 from orbit to remotely detected magmatic water in the central peak of the Moon ...August 28, 2013 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Modeling results show where the injected gas and dust ended up only 34 years after being injected at the disk’s surface. It was injected 9 astronomical units from the central prostar and is now in the disk’s midplane. The outer edge shown is 10 astronomical units from the central prostar. Mixing and transport are still underway and the underlying spiral arms that drive the mixing and transport can be seen. Credit: Image courtesy of Alan Boss
New theoretical models show how an outburst event in the Sun’s formative years could have affected our solar system’s development ...August 26, 2013 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
A montage of images taken by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope over the years. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA Astrobiology celebrates the 10th anniversary of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and is grateful for all the contributions it has made to astrobiology!
Ten years after a Delta II rocket launched NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, lighting up the night sky over Cape Canaveral, Fla., the fourth of the agency’s four Great Observatories continues to illuminate the dark side of the cosmos with its infrared eyes.
The telescope studied comets and asteroids, counted stars, scrutinized planets and galaxies, and discovered ...August 23, 2013 / Posted by: Daniella Scalice
- Mar 10 - Director's Seminar: The Formation of Complex Organic Molecules in Star-Forming Regions
- Mar 17-21 - Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
- Mar 17-21 - Search for Life Beyond the Solar System: Exoplanets, Biosignatures & Instruments
- April 1 - Application Deadline for NASA Astrobiology Early Career Collaboration Award