NAI

  1. POSTPONED: Quantifying Constraints on Metabolic Diversity Patterns


    Jordan Okie in the field. Credit: Arizona State University Jordan Okie in the field. Credit: Arizona State University

    POSTPONED: Quantifying Constraints on Metabolic Diversity Patterns

    We regret to inform you that today’s scheduled seminar featuring Jordan Okie has been postponed. We will send an announcement when a new date for the seminar has been set.

    Jordan Okie of Arizona State University will be presenting his seminar, “Quantifying Constraints on Metabolic Diversity Patterns,” as part of the NASA Astrobiology NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Alumni Seminar Series.

    Source: [NASA Astrobiology]

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  1. Decomposing Oxalic Acid


    Ball and stick model of the oxalic acid molecule. Credit: Ben Mills and Jynto, Wikimedia Commons 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 study could provide insight into how compounds and chemical elements are altered and made available for life on terrestrial planets.

    The paper, “In-situ characterization of oxalic acid breakdown at elevated P and T: Implications for organic C-O-H fluid sources ...

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  1. A Robotic Sentinel to Monitor Remote Lakes


    Researchers sail the PLL toward the northwest finger of Laguna Negra. Credit: Chris Haberle 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]

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  1. SAM’s First Wet Chemistry Experiment


    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 fr 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 ...

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  1. Curiosity Finds Biologically Useful Nitrogen


    Integration of Sample Analysis at Mars instrument for Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SAM 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 Mars ...

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  1. FameLab: Looking Ahead to Stony Brook


    Finalists from FameLab Season 3 Regional Competition #1, held during AbGradCon 2014 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Credit: NASA 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]

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  1. Linking Supernovae and Planet Formation


    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 surroundi 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 housed ...

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  1. Titan’s Atmosphere Created as Gases Escaped Core


    Artist’s conception of Huygens approaching Titan. Credit: NASA 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.

    Source: [astrobio.net]

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  1. Astrobiologists Named Geochemistry Fellows


    Timothy Lyons (left) and Ariel Anbar (right) have been named Geochemistry Fellows. Credit: NASA Astrobiology Timothy Lyons (left) and Ariel Anbar (right) have been named Geochemistry Fellows. Credit: NASA Astrobiology

    Congratulations to Timothy Lyons and Ariel Anbar, who have each been named Geochemistry Fellows by the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry.

    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.

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  1. Chris Reinhard, 2015 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow


    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 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

    Congratulations to Chris Reinhard, an institutional leader of the NASA Astrobiology Institute team at Georgia Tech, who has been named a 2015 Fellow by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit institution that provides grants in support of original research and education in science.

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  1. Mars Once Had More Water Than Earth’s Arctic Ocean


    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 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 ...

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  1. NASA Ames Reproduces the Building Blocks of Life in Laboratory


    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 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]

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  1. Surviving the Anthropocene


    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 ...

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  1. 2015 Santander Summer School – the Origin of Life: From Monomers to Cells


    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, abiological ...

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  1. FameLab Online Competition


    FameLab regionals in December 2014 at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, CA. Credit: NASA Astrobiology 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 video ...

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