Astrobiology (general): January 2007

Please join me in welcoming Wendy Dolci back to the NAI as our Associate Director for Operations. From 2000-2004, Wendy served as the NAI Operations Manager and then Assistant Director, and played a lead role, during the Institute's formative years, in developing its processes and working methods as a virtual organization. She is very happy to be working once again with the NAI science community and the NAI Central team at Ames.

Using atmospheric chemical models of a Snowball Earth, scientists from NAI's Alumni Virtual Planetary Laboratory Team show that, during long and severe glacial intervals, a weak hydrological cycle coupled with photochemical reactions involving water vapor would give rise to the sustained production of hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide, upon release from melting ice into the oceans and atmosphere at the end of the snowball event, could mediate global oxidation events. Their results are published in the December 12th issue of PNAS. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

Production of hydrogen peroxide in the atmosphere of a Snowball Earth and the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis, PNAS

Presentations were given by videoconference and WebEx to the teams of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) on December 1, 2006. The presenters were senior officials of the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA Headquarters.

The following new papers have been published recently by NAI members. These and other recent NAI funded research are presented on the NAI member portal and collected in the NAI Research Highlights Archive