Astrobiology (general): March 2011

The University of Hawaii NASA Astrobiology Institute (UHNAI) will host the invitation-only Computational Astrobiology Summer Symposium (CASS) from August 1-15 2011. This is an excellent opportunity for graduate students in computer science and related areas to expand their knowledge of astrobiology by applying their computational skills in substantial projects that solve the real-world challenges faced by astrobiology research scientists.

The two-week on-site part of the program will be an intensive survey of the field of astrobiology. NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) scientists will present their work, and the group will discuss ways in which computational tools (e.g. models, simulations, data processing applications, sensor networks, etc.) could advance astrobiology research. Also during this time, participants will define their projects, with the help of the participating NAI researchers. Suitable projects are significant team or individual programming efforts that result in useful tools for astrobiology research.

On returning to their home institutions, participants will begin work on their projects, under the supervision of a mentor, with appropriate input from the astrobiologist(s). The amount of time required to complete a project will vary, but the effort should be roughly equivalent to a one semester, three credit-hour course. Indeed, we anticipate that most participants will arrange to earn credit for their project at their home institution. When the projects are completed, participants are expected to submit a poster to an astrobiology-related conference (some travel support available).

Application deadline: April 15, 2011

For more information, see

Source: NAI Newsletter

Every summer, NAI teams and others host hands-on, in-the-field, in-the-lab workshops for educators. The workshops feature cutting edge astrobiology research delivered by astrobiology scientists and education professionals, as well as inquiry- and standards-based activities ready for your classroom. Below is the list of offerings for Summer 2011.


Dates: July 17-23, 2011
Location: San Francisco, CA
Applications due: March 31, 2011

The ASSET experience will be intense and exciting, interactive and content rich, with presentations by leading astrobiology researchers from the SETI Institute, NASA, and the California Academy of Sciences. Participants receive the Voyages Through Time curriculum. All expenses are covered for participants.


Dates: July 7-13, 2011
Location: University of Hawai'i, Manoa, Oahu, HI
Applications due: March 31, 2011
Contact: Mary Kado'oka,

This workshop, designed for secondary science teachers, will introduce the big picture of astrobiology before delving deeper to highlight specific contributions from cosmochemistry, heliophysics, astronomy, geosciences and evolution. The central theme is "twin timelines" - the timeline of the universe (from the Big Bang to the origin of our species) and the timeline of human discoveries (from the Age of Enlightenment to emerging frontiers). Besides lectures and state-of-the-art lab tours, the newest development will be the active participation of all scientists leading hands-on activities. Registration fee is $50. Because of a tuition waiver, 3 University of Hawaii graduate education credits will be offered for the administrative fee of $158. A limited number of teachers from continental US will receive a subsidy of $1000 to defray expenses. Accepted Hawaii teachers will be fully subsidized. Dormitory accommodations will be available on the UH campus within walking distance of the workshop.

Source: NAI Newsletter

A new virtual Astrobiology Centre is being founded at Stockholm University to which the Departments of Astronomy, Geology, Physics, and Molecular Biology and Functional Genomics will contribute. The centre will conduct a multitude of interdisciplinary research efforts, some carried out in cooperation with NAI teams. Four postdoctoral researchers will be hired for these projects over the next four years. In addition, five graduate student (Ph.D.) positions starting in Fall 2011 have been announced (information at ).

In addition to research activities, the centre, which will be an extension of the existing Astrobiology Graduate School, will organise special courses in astrobiology, summer schools, conferences, and seminars. The Nordic Network of Astrobiology Graduate Schools is also coordinated from Stockholm University.

Source: NAI Newsletter

We are now accepting applications to the NAI-sponsored Astrobiology Research Focus Group Workshop: an intensive three-day training workshop for early career astrobiologists. The goal of this workshop is to build collaborative proposal writing & research skills in the next generation of astrobiology scientists.

Through the course of the workshop, participants create an original proposal on a topic relevant to the current state of astrobiology research, which must be presented to a body of peers. Participants are encouraged to use the workshop as a forum for exploring creative and original research topics.

The 2009 and 2010 workshops produced several original research ideas. Highlights include: work leading to a successfully funded research grant through the NAI director's discretionary fund and an internationally recognized space policy paper proposing a METI protocol for messaging extraterrestrial intelligence.

New this year, we will be hosting an intimate NASA proposal writing workshop that will be led by Dr. Michael New from NASA headquarters.

Also new this year, we will unveil the details of the Young Investigator's Award: a new award being developed to provide support to research ideas developed at RFG.

Please visit our website to apply today and apply!

Food & Lodging for this workshop is covered for all accepted participants as is travel from Bozeman, MT to El Western Resort in Ennis, MT.

Applications will be open until April 8th, 2011!

if you have any questions please e-mail rfgw11@