Archives

October 2010


Deadline: 15 November 2010

Presented by the NASA Astrobiology Program in celebration of NASA's Year of the Solar System, From Earth to the Solar System (FETTSS) will be an online collection of images that can be freely downloaded and exhibited by organizations worldwide in whatever manner they choose. The images will showcase discoveries in planetary exploration, with a focus on the origin and evolution of the Solar System and the search for life.

We are currently seeking images for the exhibit, whether it be your favorite image taken by a spacecraft, or a picture you took yourself as part of your research. We are looking for artistic and informative images of astrobiological or planetary science significance that tell a story and showcase views of the planets, moons, and other bodies in our Solar System, as well as pictures of field sites here on Earth. Our goal is for this image collection to represent the current state of exploration as seen through the eyes of the scientific community.

See http://fettss.arc.nasa.gov for instructions on how to submit an image. See http://nai.arc.nasa.gov/library/uploads/FromEarthToTheSolarSystem-ImageSubmission.pdf for a poster about FETTSS. Please contact fettss@lists.nasa.gov for additional information. [Source: NAI]

NASA's Year of the Solar System

Planetary exploration is shifting into high gear with an unprecedented tripling of flybys, orbital insertions, and launches to destinations around the Solar System. To commemorate the increase, NASA has declared the year ahead The Year of the Solar System. For more information: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/07oct_yss/ [Source: NAI]

- A Symposium Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of NASA's Exobiology Program

On October 14th a symposium was held celebrating the 50th anniversary of NASA's Exobiology program. Recordings of the keynote addresses and panel discussions are now available online at http://www.livestream.com/astrobiology50th/ For more information about the symposium: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/articles/seeking-signs-of-life-a-symposium-celebrating-the-50th-anniversary-of-nasa-s-exobiology-program/ . [Source: NAI]

The School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) is seeking new faculty expertise in the study and delivery of new pedagogies in both K-12 and informal space sciences education. We are interested in new colleagues who focus on STEM education research and delivery through the lenses of astronomy, astrophysics, and planetary science. The successful candidate will complement existing strengths in geoscience education research and expand the scope of SESE's existing B.A.E. degree program in Earth and Space Science Education in collaboration with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU. We are especially interested in applicants at the Assistant or Associate Professor level with interest and proven expertise in multimedia informal science education.

Established in 2006, SESE is one of the fastest growing academic programs at one of the fastest growing institutions of higher learning in the United States. An essential part of its mission is a transformative integration of earth and space sciences and systems engineering. SESE is increasing its emphasis on education beyond graduate and undergraduate major programs with the construction of a new building which will include a high-definition theater and interactive museum exhibit spaces to support informal science education, as well as technology-enabled learning laboratories to support research on K-12 STEM education and teacher training. These new facilities are scheduled for occupancy in the second quarter of 2012; appointment of the successful candidate for this search may begin as early as August 15, 2011.

Applications should include: 1) a cover letter that includes a description of the applicant's research and teaching interests and experience; 2) a current CV; and 3) the names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references. All materials should be submitted electronically, in PDF format, through the school's website: http://sese.asu.edu/opportunities-faculty

Application deadline is 1 December 2010; if not filled, reviews will continue weekly until search is closed.[Source: NAI]

Nordic Network of Astrobiology

The Nordic Network of Astrobiology encompasses universities that offer several different courses of relevance to Astrobiology. For information on universities and courses visit http://www.nordicastrobiology.net/Courses.html [Source: NAI]

The Australian Centre for Astrobiology and the Natural Products Research Laboratory in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science at UNSW are offering several PhD scholarships for both Australian and overseas PhD students.

To qualify you must have honours or Masters degrees or previous research experience in microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology or bioinformatics to work on research projects funded by the Australian Research Council, the University of New Wales, as well as a variety of industry partners.

Particular research interests and strength are in the fields of environmental microbiology and genomics, biotechnology, molecular evolution, functional genomics, drug discovery and development, astrobiology, and extremophiles.

Scholarships include a stipend of up to AUD $30,000 per annum tax-free, international travel support (AUD $5,000), office and/or laboratory expenses. Non-Australian or New Zealand applicants may also be eligible for tuition waivers (valued at AUD $22,000 per annum). Qualified applicants may be invited and funded to visit the facilities. For more information visit http://www.aca.absociety.org/aca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=54 [Source: NAI]

Dates: 5-8 June 2011

Location: Montana State University, Bozeman Montana

Eligibility: graduate students, post-doctoral students, early-career astrobiologists (2-5 years past PhD).

Limit: 50

The 2011 Astrobiology Graduate Student Conference (AbGradCon) will be held at Montana State University, from 5-8 June, 2011. The schedule will include two full days of talks and poster sessions, one day of public outreach and educational activities, and a full-day field trip to Yellowstone National Park. The conference application will be available online in January 2011. For more information, please visit our website: http://abgradcon2011.org, or email abgradcon2011@gmail.com.

[Source: NAI]

The Canadian Astrobiology Training Program (CATP) is the first Canadian cross-disciplinary, multi-institutional undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral training program in Astrobiology and is an NSERC-funded Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program (CREATE) (2009-2015) located at McGill University, McMaster University, University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, and the University of Winnipeg. The CATP program objectives are being accomplished through collaborative and integrative research approaches containing elements of geology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, microbiology, and robotics.

CATP trainees (~70 graduate & undergraduate students, PDFs over 6 years) will be exposed to innovative research and training approaches, combining fieldwork at unique Canadian analogue sites, including those in the high Arctic, with laboratory work at cutting edge analytical facilities at participating university, government, and industry partners. Shared expertise within and among institutions will be provided by means of course and seminar videoconferencing, and interdisciplinary supervision. Professional training will be enhanced by training rotations with our collaborators at CSA, MDA Space Missions, and our international partners, including NASA Ames.

CATP Highly Qualified People (HQP) trained in various aspects of astrobiology will be at the forefront of the search for life beyond the Earth. Indeed, CATP will address the recognized lack of HQP in space science and lead to new scientific opportunities and promote Canadian participation in future missions to Mars with the ultimate goal of having Canadian scientists actively participating on such missions within 2-5 years as well as a future Mars sample return mission; both are direct initiatives of the 2008 CSA Exploration Roadmap. The skills acquired through this program will be directly transferable to various other disciplines, such as Earth and environmental sciences, robotics, medicine, and astronomy.

CATP research activities will be structured around 4 major themes that are explicitly linked to the domains of expertise of the CATP co-applicants: Extremophiles, Biosignatures, Astrobiology Instrument and Technology Development, and Planetary Analogues. The 4 themes unite to serve a common purpose: the unambiguous detection of life, extant or extinct, in areas where the existence of life cannot be presupposed. For more information regarding the CATP initiatives, please follow this web link: http://create-astrobiology.mcgill.ca/index.html Here you will find details regarding our current students and their research, our highly successful seminar series, and the training opportunities available and how to apply during the next recruitment period scheduled to start in November 2010. Please note that the deadline for all applications is 14 January 2011. [Source: NAI]

Presented by the NASA Astrobiology Program in celebration of NASA's Year of the Solar System, From Earth to the Solar System (FETTSS) will be an online collection of images that can be freely downloaded and exhibited by organizations worldwide in whatever manner they choose. The images will showcase discoveries in planetary exploration, with a focus on the origin and evolution of the Solar System and the search for life.

We are currently seeking images for the exhibit, whether it be your favorite image taken by a spacecraft, or a picture you took yourself as part of your research. We are looking for artistic and informative images of astrobiological or planetary science significance that tell a story and showcase views of the planets, moons, and other bodies in our Solar System, as well as pictures of field sites here on Earth. Our goal is for this image collection to represent the current state of exploration as seen through the eyes of the scientific community.
See http://fettss.arc.nasa.gov for instructions on how to submit an image.

See http://nai.arc.nasa.gov/library/uploads/FromEarthToTheSolarSystem-ImageSubmission.pdf for a poster about FETTSS. Please contact fettss@lists.nasa.gov for additional information [Source: NAI]

Fourth ASB Conference, April 2010

The Astrobiology Society of Britain (ASB) held its 4th biennial conference in April 2010. The meeting was held at Royal Holloway College (London University) and was attended by over 60 people. The International Journal of Astrobiology has devoted an issue to 11 selected original (refereed) papers presented at the meeting. Conference proceedings are listed in the International Journal of Astrobiology, Vol. 9 issue 4, pp 191-291, (2010). Selected proceedings of our earlier meetings are also available in the International Journal of Astrobiology, Vol. 8, issue 1, pp 1-61 (2009); Vol 5., issue 3, pp 181-275 (2006); and Vol. 3, issue 2, pp 71-181 (2004). For further information, see: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?jid=IJA&tab=currentissue. [Source: NAI]

CAREX (Coordination Action for Research Activities on life in Extreme Environments) is a Coordination project funded by the European Commission. This project tackles the issues of enhancing coordination of research on life in extreme environments in Europe by i) developing a strategic European research agenda in the field and ii) providing networking and exchange of knowledge opportunities to the scientific community.

CAREX is a truly interdisciplinary initiative as its approach to life in extreme environment covers microorganisms, plants and animals evolving in various marine, polar, terrestrial extreme environments as well as outer space.

In order to achieve its objectives, CAREX work program has been developed around four lines of actions:

Scientific Priority setting

CAREX's high level scientific workshops addressed the issues of Model Ecosystems (November 2008), Technology and Infrastructures (December 2008) and Model Organisms (June 2009). The main outcomes and findings from these events are being integrated into a European roadmap for research on life in extreme environments (available in December 2010) Databases

CAREX website hosts an open searchable directory of international experts, a database of life in extreme environments research projects and a portfolio of specific infrastructures and technologies. Exchange of Knowledge

Through the organisation of field trips, a laboratory seminar, a summer school and the award of short visit grants, CAREX catalyses the transfer of knowledge and exchange of best practices among the scientific community and towards young researchers.

Information Hub

CAREX website provides an interactive platform for the exchange of information, job and funding opportunities, news and events specific to life in extreme environment research. Website address for further information: www.carex-eu.org

Date/Time: Monday, October 25 2010 11:00AM Pacific
Speaker: Ken Stedman (Portland State University)
Title: "Quo vadis Astrovirology?"

Abstract: What is "Astrovirology" and where is it going? In the last few years there has been a quiet revolution in the study of viruses on our planet and in our ecosystem. The presence of vast numbers and astounding diversity of viruses in all known environments has been confirmed. Moreover, the discovery of new "giant" viruses has blurred the accepted definition of viruses. Currently, the role of viruses in terrestrial global cycles and their role in the origins and evolution of life as we know it are under intense investigation. We consider these studies to be "Astrovirology". Other central questions in "Astrovirology" include: "What is a virus?", "How old are viruses and how can they be detected?", and "What is (or are) the origin(s) of viruses?". This presentation will address these questions and discuss recent results from our research on virus preservation and a discovery-based study of viruses in an extreme environment, Boiling Springs Lake, in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

For more information and participation instructions: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/seminars/detail/181 [Source: NAI]

Astrobiology Science News 17 October 2010

Astrobiology Science News 8 October 2010

AbGradCon 2011

Aspiring astrobiologists should report to Montana State University in Bozeman, Montanta on June 5-8th 2011 for AbGradCon 2011, the world's leading astrobiology conference for graduate students and early career scientists. Students and post-docs from a variety of fields are invited to participate in this event which will feature oral presentations, poster sessions, public outreach, and a field trip to Yellowstone National Park. For more information: http://www.abgradcon2011.org/

Source: NAI Newsletter

Release Date: July 9, 2010
Notices of Intent Due: August 6, 2010
Proposals Due: October 7, 2010
Selection Announcement: December 21, 2010
Identification Number: NNA10339208C

On July 9, 2010, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center released a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) for the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) Minority Institution Research Support (MIRS) Program. The full text of the CAN solicitation is available at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/.

The NAI MIRS Program is intended to help train a new generation of researchers in astrobiology and to increase diversity within the astrobiology community. This solicitation seeks proposals to continue the process of recruiting and retaining underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers by involving faculty and students from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) in astrobiology research.

Under this CAN, NASA Ames is soliciting proposals from accredited US institutions of higher education, non-profit higher education professional organizations, and consortia of those types of organizations and institutions. Proposals from MSIs and non-profit organizations serving underrepresented students are strongly encouraged. Other organizations, including for-profit organizations, with a demonstrable capability to engage minority populations are also eligible to propose.

The period of performance for the award resulting from this solicitation is a maximum of four years. NASA expects to award one Cooperative Agreement to take effect on February 1, 2011. The estimated total value of the award is projected to be $0.8M - $1.0M.

Date: Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Location: Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center 2121 Crystal Drive Arlington, VA 22202

NASA's Astrobiology Program addresses three fundamental questions: How does life begin and evolve? Is there life beyond Earth, and if so, how can we detect it? What is the future of life on Earth and in the universe?

Experts in a range of relevant disciplines will engage in an exciting day of discussions . . . . Are we alone? Confirmed speakers include Baruch S. Blumberg, The Honorable Daniel S. Goldin, David Grinspoon, Noel Hinners, James Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, and Steve Squyres.

Event is free, but kindly RSVP by October 7, 2010, to exosymposium@gmail.com Non-U.S. citizens will need to provide nationality, passport number, and passport expiration date. Seating is extremely limited. Business attire is requested.