Coverage of the 2009 AMASE Expedition to Norway’s Svalbard island continues. In this installment, Adrienne Kish discusses the steps that were taken to prepare the FIDO rover for its first appearance on Svalbard, where it is collecting samples and looking for signs of life in preparation for Mars.
Part 1: AMASE 2009 Expedition Takes Off
Part 2: Roving the AMASEing Arctic
New research shows that the oldest complex lifeforms on Earth likely fed by osmosis. Modular organisms lived in the nutrient-rich oceans of the Ediacaran period more than 540 million years ago. These organisms were unlike any other on Earth, and because of this they are not well understood. Now, scientists may have determined how these unique creatures were able to feed. A new study shows that they likely absorbed nutrients through their outer membrane – using a method known as 'osmosis’. The study provides new insight into the evolution of life on Earth.
Source: [astrobio.net]August 22, 2009 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Humans might not be walking on Earth today if not for the ancient fusing of two microscopic, single-celled organisms called prokaryotes, NASA-funded research has found.
By comparing proteins present in more than 3000 different prokaryotes – a type of single-celled organism without a nucleus – molecular biologist James A. Lake from the University of California at Los Angeles’ Center for Astrobiology showed that two major classes of relatively simple microbes fused together more than 2.5 billion years ago. Lake’s research reveals a new pathway for the evolution of life on Earth. These insights are published in the Aug. 20 online ...August 19, 2009 / Posted by: Daniella Scalice
NASA scientists have discovered glycine, a fundamental building block of life, in samples of comet Wild 2 returned by NASA’s Stardust spacecraft.
“Glycine is an amino acid used by living organisms to make proteins, and this is the first time an amino acid has been found in a comet,” said Dr. Jamie Elsila of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Our discovery supports the theory that some of life’s ingredients formed in space and were delivered to Earth long ago by meteorite and comet impacts.”
Elsila is the lead author of a paper on this ...August 17, 2009 / Posted by: Daniella Scalice
The 2009 AMASE expedition in now underway on the Norwegian island of Svalbard. Members of the expedition team are providing updates on scientific activities as they test technologies for future Mars missions in the harsh, arctic terrain. The primary goal of the AMASE team is to develop methods to search for life on other planets in our solar system, such as Mars.
Source: [astrobio.net]August 17, 2009 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
This inaugural conference presents an important geobiological review on microbial mats and the sedimentary structures they form in siliciclastic settings through Earth’s history, from the early Archean to the present. The meeting brings together an international panel of leading researchers to provide a state-of-the art overview of this field. This meeting is essential for all scientists interested in this rapidly growing field.
The conference discusses modern microbial mats constructed by benthic cyanobacteria and other microbiota in aquatic settings. It will include topics:
- microbial interaction with physical sedimentary processes
- taxonomy of microbial mat structures
- early life,
- the rise of cyanobacteria ...
The Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) 2009 is now underway in Svalbard, Norway. AMASE has established Svalbard as a test bed for life-detection technology that will be used on future NASA and ESA 'Search for Life’ mission to Mars. This year’s expedition includes more than 30 scientists and engineers from a wide range of disciplines, including microbiology, geology and biochemistry. The team will be testing equipment that will eventually fly on future Mars missions while studying extremophiles that live in glacial ice.
Source: [astrobio.net]August 11, 2009 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Astrobiology Science Conference 2010
First Announcement Online Now!
The Astrobiology Science Conference 2010 will be held at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) April 26–29, 2010. Please submit the Indication of Intent form [http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/abscicon2010/] by October 1, 2009, in order to be added to the mailing list to receive reminders and other pertinent information related to the conference.August 7, 2009 / Posted by: Marco Boldt
Roughly 5 billion years from now, the Sun will begin to swell as a red giant. But life on Earth will feel the effects of an aging Sun long before then. What can we do to survive?
Weary of catching planes, burning up fossil fuels, and spending lots of time and money to attend meetings? Take heart! Virtual worlds are shaping up as possible venues for online meetings—and astrobiology graduate students are leading the way in exploring their potential. On July 17-18, 2009, early-career astrobiologists met at the University of Washington in Seattle for the 6th annual Astrobiology Graduate Student Conference (AbGradCon), and simultaneously in the virtual world Second Life. Students presented talks that were streamed live into Second Life and participated in a real-world and virtual world “mixed reality” poster session. Social media such as ...
Observations of distant stars tell us about our own future. Roughly 5 billion years from now, the Sun will begin to swell as a red giant, and the solar system will be transformed into a very different place.
Comments are being solicited from members of the astrobiology community on the following paper(s) that will be submitted to the 2009-2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey. Papers will be revised based on community feedback. Additonal papers will be posted here as they become available.
July 27, 2009 / Posted by: Marco Boldt
- Astrobiology Research Priorities for Exoplanets (Last Updated: May 28, 2009)
- Astrobiology Research Priorities for Mercury, Venus, and the Moon (Added: June 8, 2009)
- Astrobiology Research Priorities for Mars (Added: June 10, 2009)
- Astrobiology Research Priorities for the Outer Solar System (Added June 15, 2009)
- Astrobiology Research Priorities for Primitive Asteroids (Added July 22, 2009)
- Limits of ...
The Lassen Astrobiology Student Internship Program, a collaboration between NAI’s Ames team, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and Red Bluff High School, will wrap up its first year of activity in August. Nine high school students and their chemistry teacher, with training from NAI scientists and under the supervision of a park ranger, have made eight field trips to various sites within the park throughout the course of the school year. They monitored field sites and made seasonal measurements of temperature, pH, and water chemistry of the hydrothermal features. PBS station KNPB, Reno, NV, interviewed the students while sample collections ...July 23, 2009 / Posted by: Daniella Scalice
The Josep Comas i Solà International Astrobiology Summer School, held annually in Santander, Spain, has become a tradition in the astrobiology community, as this summer marked its seventh year. The week-long program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows provides lectures from international experts, round-table discussions, student projects, night-sky observations, and a half-day field trip to a nearby site of astrobiological interest.
This summer’s program, held from 22-26 June, was devoted to an understanding of the characteristics and diversity of organisms that inhabit Earth’s extreme environments and the implications for the habitability of environments beyond Earth. About 40 students ...July 14, 2009 / Posted by: Daniella Scalice
This summer, NAI’s new team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) played a major role in hosting the 2009 ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. The camp is a free, academic program of The Harris Foundation, named for Bernard A. Harris, MD, an accomplished NASA astronaut, physician and entrepreneur, and the first African American to walk in space.
The theme of this year’s camp, held from June 14-26th, was The Quest for Life, and 50 middle school students participated. During the two exciting weeks, students went on several field trips to The Albany Pine Bush, New York State Museum ...July 13, 2009 / Posted by: Daniella Scalice
- May 28 - Emerging Researchers in Exoplanet Science Symposium (ERES)
- May 29 - Application Deadline for The Forum for New Leaders in Space Science
- May 29 - Pre-proposal deadline for FfAME - Templeton Origins Funding Opportunity
- May 31 - Abstract Submission Deadline for 2nd Symposium of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR 2015): Water and Life in the Universe
- May 31 - Application Deadline for Gordon Research Conference on Origins of Solar Systems
- May 31 - Abstract Submission Deadline for Life in a Cosmic Context - 5th Workshop of the Italian Astrobiology Society
- June 2 - Workshop on the Formation of the Solar System II
- June 10 - Registration Deadline for European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) 2015
- June 15 - Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) 2015
- June 15 - Application Deadline for Summer School at Moletai Observatory: "Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems and Habitable Planets"
- June 15 - Travel Grant Application Due for IAU XXIX General Assembly
- June 19 - Application Deadline for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) International Top Young Fellowship (ITYF)
- June 22 - International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy 70th Meeting
- June 24 - European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) 2015
- June 28 - Abstract and Registration Deadline for 15th EANA Astrobiology Conference
- June 30 - Abstract Submission Deadline for Exoplanetary Atmospheres and Habitability Workshop
- June 30 - Principal Investigator or Associate Principal Investigator Opportunity at The Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology