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2011 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Titan Reporting  |  SEP 2010 – AUG 2011

EPO Activity: FfAME Outreach Through Public Media, Including Television and Radio Interviews

Project Progress

Too numerous to count are presentations and interviews on radio, television, and other media. Recent examples include interviews to members of the press:

Dennis Overbye. New York Times

National Public Radio

Yuhong Hiro Hoh; Japanese television

Michael Gross, Science Writer, Oxford

As well as the following items:
August 23, 2011. The Royal Society of Chemistry describes a major new advance made at the FfAME in the area of synthetic biology (Expanded genetic alphabet could spell out new genes, This advance comes from DTRA-funded work that studies the fundamental science that stands behind the DNA double helix.

August 12, 2011. Steven Benner joined Arthur Caplan, Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania to discuss artificial life with Patt Morrison, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist of the NPR affiliate KPCC in Los Angeles. The broadcast was live at 1:30 – 2:00 PM Pacific / 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern, and took listener calls.

February 21, 2011. Steven Benner, Distinguished Fellow at the FfAME, participated with Richard Dawkins, Craig Venter, and other scientists in a workshop on the origin of life. The discussion is summarized in the New York Times by science writer Dennis Overbye in a piece titled A Romp Into Theories of the Cradle of Life (

February 18, 2011. FfAME scientists spoke with MSNBC about the furor over arsenic based life, and the possibility that such molecules might support genetics in ultracold environments, such as Titan, a moon of Saturn. For more, read Definition of life: Arsenic debate just won’t die (

November 9, 2010. Steven Benner presented an 18 minute talk as part of the National Academy’s program “Sharing the Adventure with the Public”, which communicates to the public the value and excitement of 'Grand Questions’ in space science and exploration. The program was held November 8-10 at the Beckman Center on the campus of the University of California, Irvine. (

Books describing astrobiology research in the Benner laboratory 2010. Talking about Life. Conversation on Astrobiology, Cambridge Univ. Press. C. Impey