Astrobiology (general): February 2007

Vienna, Austria, 15 - 20 April 2007: Session Description: Exo/Astrobiology - the study of the origins, early evolution, distribution and destiny of life - is a multidisciplinary science which encompasses, amongst others, the disciplines of chemistry, biology, geology, palaeontology, atmospheric physics, planetary sciences, astronomy and astrophysics. With the wealth of new information arriving from surface and orbital missions, there is plenty of fuel to fire our imaginations regarding the search for traces of past or present life on Mars. We therefore invite papers for this session on all aspects of astrobiology, especially those having particular relevance for upcoming and planned Mars missions, such as the European ExoMars mission (2013) and NASA's Astrobiology Field Laboratory (AFL-possibly in 2016).

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin announced Monday that Dr. S. Alan Stern will be the agency's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, effective April 2. Stern succeeds Dr. Mary L. Cleave who announced her retirement.

Pilot episodes of a new science television series, including one on "Extreme Virology," are available for viewing online. Produced by WIRED SCIENCE, a collaboration between WIRED Magazine and KCET/Los Angeles, these pilots may evolve into a larger PBS science program featuring astrobiology science topics. Check them out at: [Source: Astrobiology Institute Newsletter]

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 - In this archive, you can link to the papers and any press materials that may have been generated about them.

The NAI Minority Institution Research Support (MIRS) Program provides opportunities for researchers from qualified Minority Institutions to initiate joint partnerships with researchers in the field of astrobiology. The NAI-MIRS program provides summer sabbaticals, follow-up support, and travel opportunities for faculty and students from Minority Institutions.

The NAI Postdoctoral Fellowship Program provides opportunities for Ph.D. scientists and engineers of unique promise and ability to perform research on problems largely of their own choosing, yet compatible with the research interests of NASA and the member teams of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. The next award cycle in which the NAI will participate has a March 1, 2007 application deadline. For additional information about the program see . [Source: Astrobiology Institute Newsletter]

The Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology, a partnership between NAI and the American Philosophical Society (APS), is open to field studies in any area of interest to astrobiology. Grants may be used for travel and related expenses, including field equipment, up to $5,000. Applications will be reviewed by a committee that includes members of the NAI, the APS, and the wider science community as needed.