August 2006

"The 2006 Annual Meeting is coming up soon (November 2-5)*, and we look forward to recognizing our most outstanding members at the Annual Meeting with the Society's traditional four awards."

Kirsten Fristad's NASA Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition Field Reports

"I stand at the window looking out over Sassenfjord. Our trip has come to an end. The sky is cool and the mountains around Longyearbyen are dark in comparison to the white glaciers in the distance. I am exhausted from the late nights and early mornings of the expedition, but am completely overcome by the beauty of this place."

Recent Reports:

Astrobiology August 2006 issue: Seasonal Changes and Ice Melt on Mars Explain Spider Formations on Martian Surface

"Dark spiders" on the surface of Mars might be explained by seasonal temperature changes that melt surface ice and salt, causing erosion, according to a provocative new theory presented in the August 2006 issue (Volume 6, Number 4) issue of Astrobiology"

Editor's note: I have spent the last few days as a participant in the NASA Next Generation Exploration Conference at NASA ARC - a fascinating assembly of young space professionals and students from around the U.S. - and the world. This has been a refreshing break from the cynicism I usually encounter as I "watch" NASA. These folks see their future in space - and they are determined to make it happen. A moment ago I made an offer to all participants to post anything they might wish to send me about this conference - and what they'd like to see come from it.

More at A Bright Ray of Hope, NASA Watch

To the Gravitational and Space Biology Family: We have all been saddened by the passing of Guy Etheridge this week. His death is a great loss for NASA and especially for KSC. We will miss him in many ways.

Kirsten Fristad's NASA Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition Field Reports

"The last two days have been very busy with instrument testing, gathering last minute supplies and attending an arctic training course. The cold temperatures here pose a serious challenge to our instruments here as it can greatly affect our power consumption, pressure readings and pumping capabilities."

NASA Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition Field Reports:

Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) 2006, NASA

"In August, members of the Sample Analysis of Mars (SAM) Lab team will spend two and a half weeks in Svalbard. The objective of the Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) is to characterize the geology, geophysical features, biosignatures, and possible life forms of volcanic centers, warm springs, and perennial rivers, settings thought to be analogous to sites on ancient Mars. AMASE targets the Bockfjorden area of the Norwegian island of Svalbard, in hot-spring-deposited carbonate terraces."

Join us for the final two segments of the 2006 NAI Student Seminar Series on Friday August 11th and Friday August 18th at 12:00pm PDT (9:00am HT/1:00pm MDT/2:00pm CDT/3:00pm EDT). In this ninety minute program broadcast by NAI, students will be presenting their summer research from University of Rhode Island, University of Arizona and the SETI Institute. For more information, please contact Estelle Dodson,

ROSES-06 Amendment No. 12: Due date delay for PLANETARY INSTRUMENT DEFINITION AND DEVELOPMENT 2006 -The proposal due date for proposals to the Planetary Instrument Definition and Development program (PIDDP) described in Appendix C.17 of the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) entitled "Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) 2006", NNH06ZDA001N, released January 23, 2006, have been changed. The due date for PIDDP proposals is changed from August 18, 2006, to September 27, 2006.

ROSES-06 Amendment 13: New proposal opportunity for Concept Studies for Lunar Sortie Science Opportunities - With this amendment to ROSES-2006, NASA establishes a new program element in Appendix E.4 entitled "Concept Studies for Lunar Sortie Science Opportunities (LSSO)."

"The deadline for submission of abstracts for making presentations at the ASGSB (American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology) annual meeting in November has been extended to August 6. Any abstracts received after that will be too late for inclusion in the program. We look forward to seeing you in November and hearing about your recent work." [source: ASGSB]

Editor's note:Two new HMP Research Station webcams are now online and updating every 10 minutes. This brings a total of four webcams now available from Devon Island including the two from the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse.

Underwater robots work together without human input, Princeton University

"This August in Monterey Bay, Calif., an entire fleet of undersea robots will for the first time work together without the aid of humans to make detailed and efficient observations of the ocean. The mathematical system that allows the undersea robots to self-choreograph their movements in response to their environment might one day power other robotic teams that - without human supervision - could explore not just oceans, but deserts, rain forests and even other planets."