June 12, 2018
Program News

The Arizona NExSS Winter School

Impact on Astrobiology Knowledge and Attitudes

The Arizona NExSS Winter School was hosted in February of 2016 to facilitate communication between early-career researchers across the multiple field related to astrobiology. Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers attended (both physically and virtually) a scientific Workshop Without Walls, which culminated in writing a review of mock research proposals by interdisciplinary teams.

Arizona Winter School group photo.
Arizona Winter School group photo.Image credit: Kevin Conklin, Earths in Other Solar Systems (EOS).

A recent paper assesses the impact of the Winter School on interdisciplinarity. Students were surveyed before and after the school to gain insight into the efficacy of the activity for impacting participants’ broader understanding of astrobiology. The study shows that students increased their knowledge, particularly with respect to fields outside of their home discipline. The study also discusses underlying divisions between some disciplines in regard to interpretations of the role of life in planetary evolution, and makes recommendations for bridging further interdisciplinary gaps.

For more information on the NExSS Winter School, visit: http://eos-nexus.org/nexss-winter-school/.

The paper, “Impact of the Arizona NExSS Winter School on Astrobiology Knowledge and Attitudes,” was published in the journal Astrobiology. This work was supported in part by the Emerging Worlds Program and the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS). The NASA Astrobiology Program provides resources for Emerging Worlds and other Research and Analysis programs within the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) that solicit proposals relevant to astrobiology research. NExSS is a NASA research coordination network supported in part by the NASA Astrobiology Program, and is shared between NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD) and the Astrophysics Division.