Conferences and Meetings: May 2010

Session Proposals for the 2010 American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco are now being accepted. The deadline for all session proposals is 27 May 2010. Members of the Earth and space sciences community may submit a session proposal to any of the existing disciplines. Session proposals must focus on scientific results and/or their applications. Further details are available at

[Source: NAI Newsletter]

The Planets, Life, and the Universe Astrobiology Lecture Series is supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Space Studies Initiative and the Department of Biology of The Johns Hopkins University.

Upcoming Lectures:

Jun 18, 2010, 12:00p - 2:30p Wes Traub (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech) "Astrobiological Factors in Exoplanet Exploration Strategies"

Sep 3, 2010 12:00p - 2:30p Stephen Freeland (Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii) "Will Alien Life Resemble Us (and How Could We Possibly Know)? Astrobiology, Evolution and the Amino Acids"

More information and webcast information is available at

[Source: NAI Newsletter]

Dear Members of the Exoplanet Research Community, We are pleased to announce that the second meeting of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG-2) will be held Thursday and Friday, June 24-25, 2010 in Pasadena, CA. The tentative venue for the meeting is the Hilton Pasadena Hotel. Although the meeting agenda is still being formulated, it will likely include discussions in the areas the five science analysis groups (SAGs) established after the inaugural ExoPAG meeting. For reference, those 5 SAGs span the topical areas of:

1. Debris Disks and Exozodiacal Dust 2. Potential for Exoplanet Science Measurements from Solar System Probes 3. Planetary Architecture and Dynamical Stability 4. Planetary Measurements Needed for Exoplanet Characterization 5. State of External Occulter Concepts and Technology

More information about the scope of the current SAGs, as well as the ExoPAG in general, can be found on the ExoPAG website: Information about meeting logistics will also be posted on the ExoPAG web site as planning proceeds.

Of course, we welcome any suggestions from stakeholders in NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program for additional topics of ExoPAG discussion and analysis. Please send any suggestions you might have to: .

We hope to see you in Pasadena!

Jim Kasting - ExoPAG Chair Douglas Hudgins - NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program Scientist

[Source: NAI Newsletter]

June 13-18, 2010
Salve Regina University
Newport, RI

Chairs: Rachel N. Austin & Ariel D. Anbar


This interdisciplinary meeting will gather together scientists--structural biologists, chemists, geneticists, chemical and biological oceanographers, geochemists, and other specialists--who study the flows of essential and toxic elements through the environment and living systems, on timescales ranging from femptoseconds to eons. Of particular interest are the molecular mechanisms that govern element acquisition and use in organisms, and the tools and techniques used to study these phenomena. The aim of this community is to use these molecular-scale insights to understand the interconnected biotic and abiotic processes that shape the macroscopic environment and its development and change over a range of time scales.

For more information:

Date/Time: Monday, June 7, 2010 11:00AM Pacific
Speaker: Katrina Edwards (University of Southern California)
Title: "Intraterrestrial Life on Earth"

In 1986, scientists sailing in the Pacific Ocean made an astonishing discovery. In sediments collected from 850m below the seafloor, they identified that microbes were living and thriving in an environment not previously known to contain life. This discovery has spawned a new field of research on the "deep biosphere" with researchers exploring how life persists and evolves at hostile temperatures and pressures. With estimates that the sub-seafloor may contain as much two-thirds of the Earth's microbial population, research today focuses on understanding the importance, or lack thereof, of this community to the Earth's systems. This presentation will focus on the current state of knowledge with respect to the deep biosphere and the major questions being addressed in this field, such as what are the nature and extent of life on Earth? What are the physico-chemical limits of life on Earth? How metabolically active is the deep biosphere, and what are the most important redox processes? What are the dispersal mechanisms for life in the deep biosphere? How does life evolve in deeply buried geological deposits that can occur more than a km beneath the ocean floor? What is the influence of the deep biosphere on global-scale biogeochemical processes?

For more information and participation instructions:

[Source: NAI Newsletter]

The NAI once again hosted the Student Poster Competition at the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) 2010, held in League City Texas on April 26-29, 2010. Louis Lerman and Steve Benner from the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution (FfAME) provided a generous contribution in support of the competition, as they did for AbSciCon2008.

Thirty posters were submitted to the competition, and four cash prizes wereawarded.

The first place prize went to Jorge Nunez, a graduate student at Arizona State University, for his poster entitled The Multispectral Microscopic Imager (MMI) and the Mars Microbeam Raman Spectrometer (MMRS): An Integrated Payload for the In-Situ Exploration of Past and Present Habitable Environments on Mars. Jorges co-authors were J. D. Farmer (advisor), R. G. Sellar, S. Douglas, K. S. Manatt, M. D. Fries, A. L. Lane, Alian Wang, and D. L.Blaney.

Second place in the competition was awarded to Jennifer Glass, a graduate student at Arizona State University for her poster Signatures of Low-Mo Ancient Ocean May be Preserved in Cyanobacterial Genomes. Jennifers co-authors were Felisa L. Wolfe-Simon, A. T. Poret-Peterson and A. D. Anbar(advisor).

The third place winner was Eva Stueeken, a graduate student at the University of Washington, for her poster Selenium Biogeochemistry as a Planetary Deep-Time Redox Proxy. Evas co-authors were Julien Foriel, B. K.Nelson, and Roger Buick(advisor).

Fourth place in the competition was awarded to undergraduate student Dyana Lucas of the Native American Research Laboratory (NARL) at The University of Montana, for her poster Evidence for Local Adaptation in Extremophilic Crenarchaeal Systems: A SSV-Sulfolobus Study. Dyanas co-authors were Manny Ceballos, and Michael Ceballos(advisor).

Congratulations to these four outstanding students for theirachievement! [Source: NAI Newsletter]