Astrobiology (general): October 2009

NAI's New York Center for Astrobiology held its first Teachers Academy at RPI on July 13-16, 2009. Nine high school science teachers from four local school districts collaborated with six NAI scientists to learn about topics in astrobiology. The participants represent disciplines across the sciences: biology, chemistry, earth science, forensic science, and physics. The goal of the Academy was to develop a learning module infused with astrobiology and aligned with New York State standards and NASA Astrobiology Science Goals.

The teachers used science lectures, existing astrobiology curriculum materials, and consistent interaction with the scientists to develop their learning modules, which ranged in topic from the physiochemical limits to sustainable life, to colors of photosynthetic organisms on exoplanets, to nucleosynthesis of biologically-relevant elements. The teachers are implementing their modules in their classrooms this school year, and the Academy will be featured at the annual regional meeting of the Science Teachers Association of New York State in March, 2010. [Source: NASA Astrobiology]

Astrobiologists searching for life in the universe, believe that Darwin's vision of natural selection promises to profoundly alter and expand the notion of life and its origins.

John Baross, an oceanographer and astrobiologist from the University of Washington, Seattle, will explore this topic on Monday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. PST at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, Calif. Baross will reflect on Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection and possible evolutionary adaptations on other planetary bodies, in a lecture titled "Evolution of Astrobiology: Searching for Life in the Universe - A New Darwinian Voyage." Admission is free.
Sponsors of the lecture include the NASA Astrobiology Institute at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and Lockheed Martin Corporation, Sunnyvale. Calif. This is the last in a series of Ames-hosted public lectures centered on the concept of evolution. In honor of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of "On the Origin of Species," Ames is looking at the evolution of science and technology, particularly as it contributes to the NASA mission.

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Tune into the latest from Omega Tau, a wide-reaching podcast series from Stuttgart, Germany, for an interview with NAI's Director Carl Pilcher as he talks about NAI, astrobiology, and the search for life elsewhere in the universe. For more information: [Source: NAI Newsletter]