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2010 Annual Science Report

VPL at University of Washington Reporting  |  SEP 2009 – AUG 2010

AbGradCon 2010

Project Summary

The Astrobiology Graduate Student conference is a conference organized by astrobiology graduate students for astrobiology grad students. It provides a comfortable peer forum in which to communicate and discuss research progress and ideas.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
2 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

The Astrobiology Graduate Student Conference is a meeting for graduate students that distinguishes itself from similar meetings by being organized principally by graduate students. An emphasis is placed on providing a comfortable peer environment in which to talk about research, and network with other astrobiology graduate students from around the world.

The NAI, through the VPL team, has provided support for the last two AbGradCons. Last year, the meeting was held at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA, and two publications describing that meeting were presented at other conferences (Som et al., 2009a; Som et al., 2009b).

This year NAI/VPL also supported AbSciCon, which was held in Talinn, Sweden in July 2010. The funding provided allowed 33 US students to attend the conference. UW students Rika Anderson (Oceanography) and Eva Stüeken (Earth and Space Sciences) represented US students on the international organizing committee for this conference.

    Rika Anderson Rika Anderson
    Graduate Student
    Victoria Meadows

    Sanjoy Som
    Graduate Student

    Eva Stüeken
    Graduate Student

    Objective 1.1
    Formation and evolution of habitable planets.

    Objective 1.2
    Indirect and direct astronomical observations of extrasolar habitable planets.

    Objective 2.1
    Mars exploration.

    Objective 2.2
    Outer Solar System exploration

    Objective 3.1
    Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts

    Objective 3.2
    Origins and evolution of functional biomolecules

    Objective 3.3
    Origins of energy transduction

    Objective 3.4
    Origins of cellularity and protobiological systems

    Objective 4.1
    Earth's early biosphere.

    Objective 4.2
    Production of complex life.

    Objective 4.3
    Effects of extraterrestrial events upon the biosphere

    Objective 5.1
    Environment-dependent, molecular evolution in microorganisms

    Objective 5.2
    Co-evolution of microbial communities

    Objective 5.3
    Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments

    Objective 6.1
    Effects of environmental changes on microbial ecosystems

    Objective 6.2
    Adaptation and evolution of life beyond Earth

    Objective 7.1
    Biosignatures to be sought in Solar System materials

    Objective 7.2
    Biosignatures to be sought in nearby planetary systems