Astrobiology (general): July 2006

Towards the end of our summer expedition while flying back to Eureka from our camp on Axel Heiberg, I spotted a lake with what appeared to be green ice on it.

Mars Institute HMP Research Station Astrobiology Update 21 July 2006

Dr. Richard Lveill, Visiting Fellow in astrobiology at the Canadian Space Agency: "The first question I am investigating is did impact-induced hydrothermal systems (i.e. hot springs created by the force of the impact) at Haughton support chemosynthetic microbial ecosystems? The second question I am trying to answer is what is the nature and origin of Mars-like minerals in ancient lake sediments found in the Haughton Crater?"

It's that time again for NAI's Annual Report. Annual report entries are collected by team and published on the NAI webpage in the "team" section. Reports include science projects, team members, and publications, as well as Education and Public Outreach, Focus Group activities, and other special projects.

NAI Postdoctoral Fellowship Program Accepting Applications: Deadline August 1
A reminder applications are now being accepted for the August 1 cycle of the NAI Postdoctoral Program, administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

Bigelow Spacecraft Carries NASA 'GeneBox' for Tests in Orbit, NASA ARC

"On July 12, a Russian rocket lofted 'GeneBox' into Earth orbit within Bigelow Corporation's Genesis I test spacecraft. Attached to the large inflatable spacecraft's internal structure, GeneBox contains a miniature laboratory. In future flights, it will analyze how the near weightlessness of space affects genes in microscopic cells and other small life forms."

"We drove a half hour out of town to the first transect site. The teachers separated and went with different scientist to collect samples of the rocks and soil. Our sampling tools consisted of sterile spoons, plastic gloves and zip-lock baggies. The scientists are all passionate about their work here and the teachers are excited to be doing real science along side the scientists. We were still working out the kinks of cooperation and communication. We kept hearing the term "herding cats", which was a good description of the progress of our group."

Daily field reports are listed below:

Email Memo from Senate Appropriations Committee Staff Regarding Mikulski - Hutchison Amendment on NASA FY 2007 Budget

"The amendment they will offer in Committee will provide $1 billion to the NASA Administrator to pay-back the costs of returning the Shuttle to flight and restore cuts to science, aeronautics and exploration programs that were cut in order to pay for the return to flight. The $1 billion will be declared an emergency under the terms of the budget act and budget resolution."

Legislative Action Memo From the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology (ASGSB)

"Remember: Doing nothing will get us nothing."

SETI Institute to Astrobiology Community Regarding NASA Budget Process

"Once again we write you from the SETI Institute to alert you to an important moment in the NASA budget approval process. Your help is needed."

With NAI support, the Evolutionary Genomics Focus Group hosted a one-day symposium on Friday, May 26th, at Arizona State University. Blair Hedges (Penn State) organized the event, which featured 15 speakers from the U.S. and Europe and more than 100 participants, during the annual meeting for the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

July 24 - August 11, 2006, Honolulu, Hawaii. The University of Hawaii Astrobiology Institute (UH-NAI) is hosting the Computational Astrobiology Summer School from July 24 until August 11, 2006. This is an excellent opportunity for graduate students in computer science and related areas to learn about astrobiology, and to carry out substantial projects related to the field.

16-18 Oct. 2006 Lyon, France The deadline for registration, abstract submission and travel grants applications has been extended to 14 July 2006. You can register and submit contributions to the 6th European Workshop on Astrobiology (16-18 Oct. 2006, Lyon, France) at [Source: NAI Newsletter]

Oxygen Trapped in Europa's Icy Surface May Offer Clues to Moon's Habitability, Astrobiology

"Astrobiology is the leading peer-reviewed journal in its field. To promote this developing field, the Journal has teamed up with The Astrobiology Web to highlight one outstanding paper per issue of Astrobiology. This paper is available free online at and to visitors of The Astrobiology Web at"

The Mars Institute Core Team Arrives in Resolute Bay, Nunavut

"The first charter plane arrived in Resolute Bay yesterday on schedule with the initial Mars Institute core team and cargo. Another charter with personnel and cargo is scheduled to arrive in Resolute on Wednesday, July 5th."