The 2012 Astrobiology Graduate Student Conference (AbGradCon) will be held on August 27 - 30, 2012, preceded by the Research Focus Group splinter, August 24-26. The science program for the conference will be held at the California Institute for Technology (Caltech), with an outreach event at the University of Southern California (USC), and a field-trip to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The conference will consist of three days of scientific sessions, two evenings of public outreach and education activities, and a one day field trip to JPL. Approximately 100 participants consisting of graduate students and early career postdocs are expected from both the US and abroad. The talks and poster sessions will draw on the success of past AbGradCons as a venue for early career astrobiologists to expand their horizons by forming collaborations and sharing their work and ideas with their contemporaries. By incorporating organized outreach events, we will highlight the importance of education and communication within our field and provide a venue for public involvement with the astrobiology community. The JPL tour is a unique aspect of this year's meeting, and comes at an especially exciting time for the lab, just after the Curiosity rover's (MSL) landing at Mars. At JPL participants will view active laboratories and mission development relevant to astrobiology.
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