Archives

April 2011


Final text for Appendix C.16: Planetary Instrument Definition and Development (PIDD) and notice of co-review with proposals to Appendix C.19 Astrobiology Science and Technology for Instrument Development (ASTID).

The Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program (PIDDP) supports the advancement of spacecraft-based instrument technology that shows promise for use in scientific investigations on future planetary missions. The goal of the program is not to develop flight-qualified hardware, but rather to define and develop scientific instruments or components of such instruments to the point where the instruments may be proposed in response to future announcements of flight opportunity without additional extensive technology development. Results of PIDDP have contributed to the development of flight hardware flown on, or selected for, many of NASA's planetary missions. The proposed instrument technology must address specific scientific objectives of likely future science missions.

This amendment presents the revised text for PIDDP, Appendix C.16 of ROSES-2011. This text replaces in its entirety the draft text released with ROSES-11. Please note that proposals submitted to Appendix C.19 Astrobiology Science and Technology for Instrument Development and Appendix C.16, PIDD, will be reviewed together and thus, if identical proposals are submitted to both programs, only one will be reviewed. The due date for PIDD Notices of Intent remains unchanged at July 15, 2011, but the due date for proposals has been changed to August 26, 2011.

On or about April 28, 2011, this Amendment to the NASA Research Announcement "Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) 2011" (NNH11ZDA001N) will be posted on the NASA research opportunity homepage at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/ (select "Solicitations" then "Open Solicitations" then "NNH11ZDA001N"). You can now track amendments, clarifications and corrections to ROSES and subscribe to an RSS feed at: http://nasascience.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/grant-solicitations/roses-2011

Questions concerning PIDD proposals may be addressed to:
Janice Buckner, Planetary Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546-0001; Telephone: (202) 358-0183;
HQ-PIDD@mail.nasa.gov.

May 12-13, 2011

A two-day workshop using NAI remote communications tools will be held on May 12th and 13th, 2011. Real-time participation requires only an internet connection and is available to interested scientists from around the world. More details, including connection and registration information, is available at the meeting website given below.

Synopsis

Over the past 4 billion years, the Earth and its biosphere have undergone a series of linked transitions in redox state, biochemical plasticity, and biological diversity. In order to study this evolution, diverse scientific disciplines, including inorganic and organic geochemistry, microbiology, and genomics, we must overcome traditional disciplinary barriers and interact. In recent years, numerous technological advances have resulted in rapid advances in each of these fields. One of the most striking has been the development of cheaper and more efficient sequencing technologies, along with attendant advances in genetics and the computational techniques to leverage the resulting data. To facilitate interactions between paleobiologists and scientists using the latest techniques in molecular biology and genomics, a symposium will be held at the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego, California. The primary objective is the exchange of knowledge and the development of a dialog that might yield cutting-edge ideas for future work.

Confirmed Speakers

Tim Lyons, University of California, Riverside
Gordon Love, University of California, Riverside
James Lake, University of California, Los Angeles
Gustavo Caetano-Anolles, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Lawrence David, Harvard University
Trinity Hamilton, Montana State University
Ziming Zhao, Georgia Tech
Clyde Hutchison, J. Craig Venter Institute
Kate Freeman, Pennsylvania State University
Dave Doughty, California Institute of Technology
Jason Raymond, Arizona State University
Andrew Allen, J. Craig Venter Institute
Jack Bailey, University of Minnesota
Frank Stewart, Georgia Tech

The workshop will consist of talks and discussion. Each presentation will allow ample time for questions and answers afterwards. We encourage researchers to attend in real time to engage in what we expect will be a lively exchange of ideas during the workshop.

Workshop Organizing Committee

Chris Dupont, J. Craig Venter Institute
Ariel Anbar, Arizona State University
John Peters, Montana State University

For more information and participation instructions, visit: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/geobiology2011

Budget crunch mothballs telescopes built to search for alien signals, Scientific American

"The hunt for extraterrestrial life just lost one of its best tools. The Allen Telescope Array (ATA), a field of radio dishes in rural northern California built to seek out transmissions from distant alien civilizations, has been shuttered, at least temporarily, as its operators scramble to find a way to continue to fund it. In an April 22 letter to donors, Tom Pierson, CEO of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., explained that the ATA has been put into "hibernation," meaning that "starting this week, the equipment is unavailable for normal observations and is being maintained in a safe state by a significantly reduced staff." The ATA is a partnership between the SETI Institute, which is responsible for building the telescope array, and the University of California, Berkeley, which is responsible for operating it."

4/25 NAI Director's Seminar

Jay Kaufman 'Irreversible Oxidation of the Exosphere and Acceleration of the Biosphere Across the Archean-paleoproterozoic Transition'

Join us for the next NAI Director's Seminar!

Date/Time: Monday, April 25, 2011 11:00AM Pacific

Presenter: Jay Kaufman (University of Maryland)

Abstract:

Around two and half billion years ago a harmonic convergence of tectonic, volcanic, oceanographic, atmospheric, and biological events resulted in the irreversible oxidation of Earth's thin crust and surface environments. Lithological and geochemical evidence of this terrestrial metamorphosis - which stimulated global environmental, climatic, and biological innovations - is preserved in sedimentary archives sampled in outcrop and deep time drill cores from ancient continental fragments scattered about the globe. Recent time-series investigations of geochemical change in the shallow Archean and Paleoproterozoic oceans predict stepwise growth in atmospheric oxygen and ozone, the planetary sunscreen, and in seawater nitrate and sulfate, which sustain key microbial ecosystems. In this evolutionary seminar we will explore the possible sources and sinks of oxygen on the early Earth and the effect of its geologically sudden rise (coined by Dick Holland as the Great Oxidation Event or GOE) on weathering, climate, and the onset of a modern-style carbon cycle. Participation Instructions:

TO JOIN USING A VIDEOCONFERENCING SYSTEM:

Please RSVP to Marco Boldt (Marco.Boldt@nasa.gov) if you will be joining by Polycom. To view the slides, connect to http://connect.arc.nasa.gov/nai_directors_seminar/

TO JOIN USING A WEB BROWSER:

The slides and audio/video for this meeting will be presented using Adobe Connect. To join the meeting, connect to: http://connect.arc.nasa.gov/nai_directors_seminar/

The Astrobiology Science and Technology for Instrument Development (ASTID) program element requests proposals to develop instrumentation capabilities to help meet Astrobiology science requirements on future space flight missions, as well as unique Astrobiology science objectives on Earth. Selected activities are expected to advance the development of scientific instruments or instrument components to the point where the instruments could credibly be proposed in response to future flight opportunity announcements, including instruments that could be accommodated on or in small satellites (under 50kg total spacecraft mass), or as small payloads in support of future science activities associated with missions of human exploration. Note that proposals to build and fly hardware on a specific mission opportunity are not a part of this program element. In addition, the development of instruments for use in future field campaigns is solicited under the Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) program (see Appendix C.20).

This amendment notes that proposals to ASTID and the Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program (PIDDP; Appendix C.16) will be reviewed together and thus, if identical proposals are submitted to both programs, only one will be reviewed. For the ASTID program the due date for notices of intent has been changed to June 24, 2011, and the due date for proposals has been changed to August 26, 2011.

On or about April 8, 2011, this Amendment to the NASA Research Announcement "Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) 2011" (NNH11ZDA001N) will be posted on the NASA research opportunity homepage at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/ (select "Solicitations" then "Open Solicitations" then "NNH11ZDA001N"). You can now track amendments, clarifications and corrections to ROSES and subscribe to an RSS feed at: http://nasascience.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/grant-solicitations/roses-2011

Questions concerning ASTID proposals may be addressed to: Michael New, Planetary Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546-0001; Telephone: (202) 358-1766; HQ-ASTID@mail.nasa.gov.

Baruch S. Blumberg, President of the American Philosophical Society from 2005-2011, died on April 5, 2011 at the age of 85. At the time, he was visiting the NASA Ames Research Center in California as a featured speaker at the International Lunar Research Park Exploratory Workshop.

Dr. Blumberg received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1976 for identifying the Hepatitis B virus and for making "discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases." During his long and illustrious career he served as the first director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, Distinguished Scientist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and Master of Balliol College, Oxford University.

Dr. Blumberg's family has requested that memorial gifts be sent to the American Philosophical Society for the Baruch S. Blumberg Fund for the Lewis and Clark Grants for Exploration and Field Research. Dr. Blumberg recognized that field research had been a large part of his own scientific experience, and had directly affected his work with the Hepatitis B virus. He established the Lewis and Clark Grants in 2004 (during the bicentennial year of their epic journey) to assist younger scientists and scholars with projects at a critical time in their careers. "I believe that a passion for exploration is deeply rooted in the American character, and it is regrettable that funding for field studies is so difficult to obtain," he said. Including this year's projected grants, the Lewis and Clark program will have supported more than 250 emerging scientists and scholars since its founding.

The American Philosophical Society community sends heartfelt condolences to Dr. Blumberg's wife Jean, their four children, and nine grandchildren.

Funeral services: Sunday, April 10, 2:00 p.m. at the Society Hill Synagogue (on Spruce between 4th and 5th), Philadelphia. Reception to follow in Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street.