November 2006

Robert Hazen, from NAI's Carnegie Institution of Washington Team, published his 2005 Presidential Address to the Mineralogical Society of America in this month's American Mineralogist.

The December 2006 issue of Geobiology is a collection of papers focusing on the history of Earth's biogeochemistry, from the earliest sedimentary rocks in Greenland to the late Proterozoic. The rise of atmospheric oxygen provides a thematic link.

The NAI is excited to announce the release of this year's NAI Annual Report. It can be viewed on the NAI website by navigating to the "Teams" section and selecting any team.

NAI has approved funding for the development of a new, state-of-the-art facility capable of recreating past atmospheric and oceanic conditions, to be called VAL, the Variable Atmospheres Laboratory. Capable of simulating various combinations of oxygen, carbon dioxide, temperature, and hydrogen sulfide levels, this facility will be able to test new hypotheses for the cause of some of the Earth's major mass extinction events - such as the Permian and Triassic mass extinctions.

Scientists from NAI's Penn State Team have contributed to a new book entitled "Neoproterozoic Geobiology and Paleobiology," Xiao, Shuhai; Kaufman, Alan J. (Eds.). Their article, entitled "Molecular Timescale of Evolution in the Proterozoic," is one of many sections exploring topics from the rise in complexity of life, to phylogeny and timing of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, the colonization of land by plants and fungi, global glaciations, and "oxygen and the Cambrian explosion."

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (B). Organised and edited by Charles Cockell, Sydney Leach and Ian Smith Published August 2006

Speakers: Sean Raymond (University of Colorado) and Avi Mandell (Goddard Space Flight Center) Date/Time: Monday, November 27, 2006 11AM PST

With this amendment to ROSES-2006, NASA establishes a new program element in Appendix E.5 entitled "History of the Scientific Exploration of Earth and Space." The primary objective of the History of the Scientific Exploration of Earth and Space (HSEES) program element is to engage, inform, and inspire diverse public audiences by sharing historical knowledge about NASA's scientific exploration of the Earth and space and by communicating NASA's unique contributions to the advancement of Earth and space science during the past 50 years. An essential component of communicating to the public is accurate, complete, well-written histories about the scientific exploration of space.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) invites proposals for the Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI). See Program Solicitation NSF 07-510 at: This solicitation addresses major instrument acquisition or instrument development that is too costly for support through other NSF programs.

HFSP Publishing is launching a new journal for scientists doing high quality, innovative interdisciplinary research at the interface between biology and the fields of physics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, or engineering. The journal offers scientists a truly interdisciplinary peer review system involving scientists from different disciplines doing interdisciplinary research.

The 9th International Thermophiles Conference will be held from 24th to 27th of September 2007 in Bergen, the "Gateway to the Fjords of Norway". The conference will cover all aspects of microorganisms living at high temperatures. Registration and abstract submission will open on January 15, 2007.

The Astrobiology Primer: An Outline of General Knowledge appears in this month's issue of Astrobiology. Sponsored by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), the Primer was spearheaded by editor-in-chief Lucas Mix, and represents the work of 8 editors, 13 authors, and countless contributors.

Peter Ward from NAI's Alumni Team at the University of Washington and his collaborators have a new paper out in PNAS providing supportive evidence for Romer's Gap. Their results link this gap in vertebrate terrestrialization with a low atmospheric oxygen interval. This paper supports Ward's new book on the evolution of effective respiratory systems, entitled "Out of Thin Air." [Source: NAI Newsletter]

NASA announces a call for graduate fellowship proposals to the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) program for the 2007/2008 academic year. This call for fellowship proposals solicits applications from accredited U.S. Universities on behalf of individuals pursuing Master of Science (M.Sc.) or Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in Earth and space sciences, or related disciplines.

Join us for the next University of Washington Astrobiology Seminar! David Deamer of U.C. Santa Cruz will be speaking on the topic "Self-assembly Processes in the Prebiotic Environment"

In July 2006, Arizona State University launched the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) as part of a university-wide initiative in transdisciplinary research and education. SESE faculty are explicitly organizing their research efforts around "grand challenges" in the earth and space sciences, such as: