Australian Centre for Astrobiology “Grand Tour”

The Australian Centre for Astrobiology at UNSW is running another Astrobiology “Grand Tour” in July 2018, led by Professor Martin Van Kranendonk, a leading expert in Precambrian geobiology. This field trip in Western Australia will visit sites relevant to astrobiology and geobiology.

Scholarships for the Grand Tour are available for students (Eight at $500 AUD and one at $1000 AUD). To apply please fill in the google form here:

Applications for student scholarships close 4th April 2018.

An additional Opportunity for Early Career Scientists is being offered by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). The NAI will provide partial support of $1000 each, for up to 5 individuals affiliated with U.S. Institutions, for field trip expenses. Selected individuals will then be responsible for the remainder of the expenses: airfare, Visa fees, ground transportation to/from airports, etc. The application deadline for this opportunity is Friday, April 13, 2018 at 9PM PST.

From the Australian Centre for Astrobiology:

The trip will traverse back through time, starting with the spectacular, living stromatolites of Shark Bay, with a rare opportunity to swim with these protected microbial structures. Following this, we will visit the remote sites of fossilised stromatolites from the c. 1.8 Ga Duck Creek Dolomite and c. 2.4 Ga Turee Creek Group, and walk through the transition across the rise of atmospheric oxygen (the GOE). We will then camp at Karijini National Park and hike through a canyon with walls made of 2.5 Ga Banded Iron Formation (BIF), and swim at the beautiful Fortescue Falls. Following this will be a visit to stromatolites of the c. 2.7 Ga Fortescue Group, then the c. 3.35-3.49 Ga fossiliferous units of the Pilbara Craton, including newly discovered geyserite in the Dresser Formation, site of the oldest evidence for life on land.

Expect intense discussions about such topics as the timing of the origin of life and oxygenic photosynthesis, whether life ever was (or still is) on Mars, the composition of the Archean atmosphere, and the setting for the origin of life. As well as the science, we will enjoy some spectacular scenery, memorable campfire dinners, and sleeping under the southern stars. Daytime temperatures will be mild (20-30°C) dropping to 5-10°C at night. Rain is possible but unlikely.

Dates: Monday 2nd to Wednesday 11th July, 2018
Location: Western Australia, starting in Perth and finishing in Port Hedland
Accommodation: Outdoor camping (tents/swags included)
Cost: AUD $3000 per person

Places will be strictly limited because of the capacity of the 4WD bus and camping facilities to be utilized.

Student scholarships are available. To apply, please fill out an application here. Scholarship applications close Wednesday 4th April 2018.

For more information, or to join the expressions of interest mailing list, please email Erica Barlow ( Further details including cost and a more detailed itinerary will be emailed to the EOI list in the coming months.