Astrobiology (general): December 2011

Nordic-NASA summer school "Water, ice and the Origin of Life in the Universe", which will be held in Iceland from 2 to 15 July 2012, aims to give participants a thorough high-level introduction into the role of water in the evolution of life in the cosmos, starting from formation of water molecules in space and ending with evolution of the first organisms. It will bring together students and researchers from a multitude of different science branches, making it a truly multidisciplinary event. The event will be organised by the Nordic Astrobiology Network ( together with the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Field studies on the colonisation of lava fields and glaciers will complement the lectures. The programme of the summer school comprises:

* lectures by internationally leading scientists covering a broad range of subjects in astrobiology
* investigation of colonisation of volcanic rocks and glaciers with in situ life detection techniques
* excursions to geologically and biologically interesting sites (lava caves, new lava fields)
* 2 poster sessions for students and early career scientists
* participants-led discussions about hot topics

The event is aimed for graduate students and early career scientists (up to 5 years after their first Ph. D. in a related field) in fields related to astrobiology. Undergraduate students can also apply, and can be accepted under exceptional circumstances. The event is open to applicants from all nationalities. Detailed information about the summer school and the application procedure (deadline 31 January 2012) can be found at Successful applicants accepted by the Scientific Committee as participants will receive free lodging, meals and excursions, but will have to organise financial means for their travel to and from Iceland themselves.Course credit awards (ECTS points) for undergraduate and Ph. D. students will be applied for by the course organisers.

FameLab Astrobiology is a science communication competition focused on graduate students and post doctoral researchers doing research in astrobiology. Via four preliminary and one final competition, early career astrobiologists will compete to convey their own research or related science concepts. Each contestant has the spotlight for only three minutes -- slides and charts are not allowed. A panel of experts in both science and science communication will judge the events. Events will take place on the following dates:

-- Jan. 13, 2012 -- Houston, Texas -- Lunar and Planetary Institute
-- Feb. 10, 2012 -- Denver, Colo. -- Denver Museum of Nature and Science
-- March 9, 2012 -- Washington, D.C. -- NASA Headquarters/National Geographic Society
-- Jan. - March 2012 -- Online via YouTube
-- FINAL: April 12-16, 2012 -- Atlanta, Ga. -- Astrobiology Science Conference

Each preliminary event will feature science communication training and enrichment activities, providing exposure to alternative careers. There will be a two-day master class for finalists prior to the final event in April.

The winner will go on to compete in the International FameLab Final in the United Kingdom in June 2012.

For more information, visit

Questions about this competition may be directed to Daniella Scalice at the NASA Astrobiology Institute via email at

Release Date: October 11, 2011

Proposals Due: February 15, 2012

With this amendment, the proposal due date for NASA Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) NNH11ZDA012O, "NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) - Cycle 6," has been delayed to February 15, 2012. Due to the large number of time consuming activities between November and the end of January encountered by the Planetary Science and Astrobiology community, the proposal due date for the NAI Cycle 6 CAN has been changed to February 15, 2012.

On or about December 5, 2012, Amendment No. 1 to the "NASA Astrobiology Institute Cycle 6" CAN (NNH11ZDA012O) will be posted on the NASA research opportunity homepage at (select "Solicitations" then "Open Solicitations" then "NNH12ZDA002C").

Additional information on the NASA Astrobiology Institute may be obtained from: Dr. Carl Pilcher, Director, NASA Astrobiology Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035; Telephone: (650) 604-0022; E-mail: Additional information on this Notice and the overall NASA Astrobiology Program may be obtained from: Dr. Mary Voytek, Senior Scientist for Astrobiology, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546; Telephone: (202) 358-1577; E-mail: