Education and Outreach


Exoplanet Education Guide

Exoplanet Education Guide

The discovery and characterization of exoplanets is one of the most exciting and fast-changing areas in modern astronomical research.


AbGradCon 2014 Abstract Submission Now Open

AbGradCon 2014 Abstract Submission Now Open

The 10th Annual Astrobiology Graduate Conference (AbGradCon), an interdisciplinary conference organized by and for graduate students and early career scientists, will be held at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY during July 27 - 31, 2014.


AbSciCon 2014 Postponed until 2015

AbSciCon 2014 Postponed until 2015

The Astrobiology Program has been the sole source of funding for biennial AbSciCons from their beginning. However, restrictions on federal spending on conferences and budget limitations due to sequestration have led us to determine that the Program cannot support an AbSciCon next year. We regret this decision as much as you do, and it was a hard one to make.


NASA Astrobiologist to Discuss Exotic Earths at Library of Congress Spring Lecture

NASA Astrobiologist to Discuss Exotic Earths at Library of Congress Spring Lecture

The public is invited to a free lecture called "Exotic Earths: Exploring Planets Around Other Stars" by NASA astrobiologist Avi Mandell at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The free lecture will be held on Wednesday, June 19, at 11:30 a.m. EDT in the Pickford Theater of the Library of Congress.


Celebrate One Year of Virtual Discovery and Exploration with S.A.G.A.N.

Celebrate One Year of Virtual Discovery and Exploration with S.A.G.A.N.

Are we alone in the universe? How did life begin? Will the human civilization expand out into the solar system and beyond? How can we act as curators of our home planet to achieve long-term sustainability? As astrobiologists we recognize these scientific and societal questions as some of the greatest of our time.


AbGradCon 2013

AbGradCon 2013

The 10th annual Astrobiology Graduate Conference (AbGradCon), an interdisciplinary conference organized by and for graduate students and early career scientists, will be held at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from June 10th - 14th, 2013. AbGradCon is for pre- and early-career scientists (astronomers, biologists, chemists, educators, engineers, geologists, planetary scientists and social scientists) whose research addresses a topic relevant to astrobiology.
For all information and updates, visit www.abgradcon.org


2013 Astrobiology Summer Science Experience for Teachers

2013 Astrobiology Summer Science Experience for Teachers

The 2013 Astrobiology Summer Science Experience for Teachers, or ASSET, is being held July 29 - Aug. 2, 2013, at San Francisco State University. ASSET will feature presentations by leading astrobiology researchers from the SETI Institute, NASA and the California Academy of Sciences. Scientists will share the latest in astrobiology research on the origin of life on Earth, the extreme conditions in which life exists, Mars exploration, the formation of planetary systems around sun-like stars and the search for life in the universe.


Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunities at Harvard University Origins of Life

Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunities at Harvard University Origins of Life

The Harvard Origins of Life Initiative is a multi-disciplinary research program at the intersection of biochemistry and planetary astronomy. Our goal is to discover how the initial conditions on planets, including our Earth, determined their biochemistry and life forms. This knowledge will eventually allow targeted studies of planets that might harbor life, including Earth twins. The Initiative is an active, vibrant community of students, faculty and researchers in this exciting new field.


Last Call for the 2013 NASA Astrobiology Program Minority Institution Research Support Program

Last Call for the 2013 NASA Astrobiology Program Minority Institution Research Support Program

Do you have a colleague at a minority serving institution (MSI) with whom you would like to work with more closely? Do you have a current Astrobiology Program project and would like to host a faculty member from a MSI?


AbGradCon 2013, Abstract submission now open

Abstract submission Deadline: March 1, 2013

The 10th annual Astrobiology Graduate Conference (AbGradCon), an interdisciplinary conference organized by and for graduate students and early career scientists, will be held at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from June 10th - 14th, 2013. Pre- and early-career scientists (astronomers, biologists, chemists, educators, engineers, geologists, planetary scientists and social scientists) whose research addresses a topic relevant to astrobiology are encouraged submit for oral and / or poster presentations. Abstract submission for AbGradCon 2013 is open now, and closes March 1, 2013. The submission form can be found here: http://www.abgradcon.org/applicationform.html For more information and updates, visit www.abgradcon.org


The Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology

Application Deadline: February 1, 2013

The American Philosophical Society and the NASA Astrobiology Institute have partnered to promote the continued exploration of the world around us through a program of research grants in support of astrobiological field studies undertaken by graduate students, postdoctoral students, and early career scientists who are affiliated with U.S. institutions.

The Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology is designed for field studies in any area of astrobiology research. 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. Recipients will be designated as Lewis and Clark Field Scholars in Astrobiology.

Additional information, including the application forms and instructions, is available at the APS's Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology page: http://www.amphilsoc.org/grants/astrobiology


ROSES-12 Amendment 23: New opportunity via Appendix D.13: Kepler Participating Scientist Program

The Kepler Participating Scientist Program (PSP) is designed to fund community investigations that advance the goals of the Kepler Mission during its extended phase. Participating Scientists may pursue data processing and analysis tasks, exoplanet candidate follow-up observations, completeness and reliability studies, characterization of the stellar target sample, etc.

The Kepler PSP is complementary to, but distinct from, the Kepler Guest Observer (GO) program. The Kepler GO program offers members of the scientific community the opportunity to pursue research in any area of astrophysics through observations of stellar and/or nonstellar targets that fall within the Kepler field-of-view, but are not included in the Kepler target list. Kepler GOs are solicited under Appendix D.7 of the ROSES 2012 NRA.

Notices of intent are requested by January 18, 2013, and the due date for proposals is March 1, 2013.

On November 28, 2012, this Amendment to the NASA Research Announcement "Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) 2012" (NNH12ZDA001N) will be posted on the NASA research opportunity homepage at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/ and will appear on the RSS feed at: http://nasascience.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/grant-solicitations/roses-2012.

Technical questions regarding the Kepler extended mission and key science project activities may be directed to: Dr. Steve Howell, Kepler Project Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center, MS 244-30 Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000. E-mail: steve.b.howell@nasa.gov; Telephone: (650) 604-4238.

NASA point of contact for programmatic information is Dr. Douglas Hudgins Astrophysics Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546-0001. Telephone: (202) 358-0988; E-mail: douglas.m.hudgins@nasa.gov


NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunities for Ph.D. Scientists and Engineers

Application Deadline: July 1, 2013

The NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) provides opportunities for Ph.D. scientists and engineers of unusual promise and ability to perform research on problems largely of their own choosing, yet compatible with the research interests of the NASA Astrobiology Program.

As noted on the NPP Web site (http://nasa.orau.org/postdoc), the Astrobiology Program does not participate in every application/award cycle. The next award cycle that the Astrobiology Program will participate in will be for the July 1, 2013 application deadline. Additional information and application instructions are available at http://nasa.orau.org/postdoc/application.

Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in hand before beginning the fellowship, but may apply while completing the degree requirements. U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, and foreign nationals eligible for J-1 status as a Research Scholar may apply.

The intent of this program is to develop outstanding early career astrobiology researchers, broaden the scope of Astrobiology Program research, and continue to build and integrate the astrobiology community. Accordingly, priority for selection will be given to applicants whose proposed research is particularly interdisciplinary and/or innovative. Research that involves one or more elements of the Astrobiology Program will also be given priority for selection, as will research that broadens the activities of the Program. Proposals for research that incrementally extend ongoing projects will be given lower selection priority.


Geobiology 2013: An International Training Course in a Rapidly Evolving Field

Applications due: February 15, 2013

In this intense multidisciplinary summer course, June 9 - July 12, explore the coevolution of the Earth and its biosphere, with emphasis on how microbial processes affect the environment and leave imprints on the rock record. Participants get hands-on experience in cutting-edge geobiological techniques including molecular biology, bioinformatics, geochemistry, petrology and sedimentology, and work in research groups to solve relevant questions. The course will involve a field trip to the Great Salt Lake and southern Wyoming. Lab work will be conducted at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, USC/Caltech/JPL in the Los Angeles area and the USC Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island. The 2013 course is open to students and researchers at any level, although we give preference to graduate students in their early to mid years of study.

For more information visit: http://dornsife.usc.edu/geobio2013


Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award

The NASA Astrobiology Program Early Career Collaboration Award offers research-related travel support for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Applicants are encouraged to use these resources to circulate among two or more research teams, however any travel that is critical for the applicant's research will be considered. Travelers must be formally affiliated with a U.S. institution. Requests are limited to $5,000. The next deadline is April 1, 2013

For more information, see http://astrobiology2.arc.nasa.gov/nai/funding/astrobiology-program-travel-awards/


NASA Year of the Solar System Undergraduate Planetary Science Research Conference

Due to the popularity of last year's conference, the NASA Year of the Solar System (YSS) Undergraduate Planetary Science Research Conference is again being hosted in conjunction with the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) March 18-22, 2013 in The Woodlands, Texas.

The NASA YSS Undergraduate Planetary Science Research Conference will include:

* Panels on "How to Choose the Grad School Right for You," "Alternative Careers in Science," and "Women in Planetary Science"
* Poster sessions where students will present their posters to other students and to the scientific community
* "Meeting Mentors," which will pair students with a scientist for a portion of the LPSC meeting, so students can learn how to engage at a scientific conference
* Opportunities to meet other undergraduate researchers, graduate students, and scientists

Undergraduate students currently conducting research in planetary sciences, astrobiology, and lunar sciences are eligible.

To apply, submit the indication of interest form, which serves as the registration form for the NASA YSS Undergraduate Conference. Applications are due by close of business February 8, 2013. NASA YSS Undergraduate Conference student participants, and all participants receiving travel support, are expected to submit an abstract for the NASA YSS Undergraduate Conference by February 8, 2013, and present a poster at the conference. Go to the abstract submission form to submit your NASA YSS Undergraduate Conference abstract. Participating students are welcome to also submit an abstract to the LPSC conference, but are not required to do so; the LPSC abstract submission deadline is January 8, 2013.

For all the details visit: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2013/events/education/index.shtml#conference


NAI Supports Early Career Astrobiologists to Take "Grand Tour"

The NAI has selected five early career astrobiologists to participate in an 11-day tour of astrobiology-relevant field sites in Western Australia. This Astrobiology Grand Tour is organized by the Australian Centre for Astrobiology (ACA) and will include visits to the extant stromatolites of Shark Bay, the banded iron formations and iron ore mines of the Hamersley Basin, the putative cyanobacterial stromatolites of the 2.7 Ga Fortescue Group, and the 3.35-3.49 Ga fossiliferous and other units of the Pilbara Craton with what is arguably the oldest convincing evidence of life on Earth.

The five early career scientists selected are:

Megan Ansdell University of Hawaii
Yadira Ibarra University of Southern California
Giulio Mariotti Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kathleen Scanlon Brown University
Eva Stueeken University of Washington


Rensselaer Awarded Gift to Establish Fellowship in Astrobiology

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced today a $480,000 gift from the Emily Landecker Foundation. The gift will establish the James P. Ferris Fellowship in Astrobiology, which will support graduate students in the School of Science pursuing research in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology. The fellowship is named in honor of Ferris, an emeritus professor of chemistry and chemical biology, currently a senior research professor, and a member of the New York Center for Astrobiology at Rensselaer.

"The field of Astrobiology seeks to address some of the most fascinating questions in science: What makes a planet habitable? How did life on Earth begin? Is there life elsewhere?" said Laurie Leshin, dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer. "The James P. Ferris Fellowship in Astrobiology will allow us to attract the very best graduate students to Rensselaer to explore these compelling questions through their research. We are extremely grateful for the generous support of the Emily Landecker Foundation in establishing the fellowship, which is a fitting tribute to Jim Ferris' pioneering work in this exciting field."

The center places a strong emphasis on education and training, and graduate students with an interest in the field are offered strong opportunities for research under the mentorship of faculty members in the center, according to Professor Doug Whittet, director of the New York Center for Astrobiology at Rensselaer.


Student Opportunity: LPI Summer Intern Program in Planetary Science

Application Deadline: January 18, 2013

Applications Now Being Accepted for the 2012 Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) Summer Intern Program in Planetary Science. The LPI invites undergraduates with at least 50 semester hours of credit to experience research in the planetary sciences. As a summer intern, you will work one-on-one with a scientist either at the LPI or NASA Johnson Space Center on a research project of current interest in planetary science. Furthermore, you will participate in peer-reviewed research, learn from top-notch planetary scientists, and preview various careers in science.

The 10-week program begins June 3, 2013, and ends on August 9, 2013. Selected students will receive a $5000.00 stipend plus a travel stipend of $1000.00 (U.S. students) (foreign nationals will receive a $1500.00 foreign travel reimbursement).

Applications are only accepted via the electronic application form found at the LPI's Summer Intern Program website: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lpiintern Faculty members: Please pass this information on to any of your students who might be interested. Contact: Claudia Quintana Phone: 281-486-2159 E-mail: internprogram@lpi.usra.edu


Graduate Student Opportunities in Microbial Paleobiology and Geochemistry

Departments of Geology and Chemistry, University of Cincinnati

I am looking for M.S. or Ph.D. students to join my lab at the University of Cincinnati in the Department of Geology. Overall, I am interested in the early history of life on Earth, evidence for which can come from morphological and geochemical studies of microfossils as well as chemical and isotopic signatures in ancient sediments. I am also interested in the Phanerozoic record of microbes. I have an affiliation with the NASA Astrobiology Institute and there will be opportunities for students to get involved.

Possible topics that students could pursue include:
*Precambrian record of deep-water microbiotas
*Metabolisms of ancient microbes
*Taphonomy and fossilization of microorganisms
*Phanerozoic record of microbial life
*Microbial endoliths in Phanerozoic skeletal fossils

My lab is designed to study both the morphology and chemistry of fossil microorganisms via standard transmitted light microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Additionally, I have collaborations and associations with researchers at many institutions, including UCLA, UW-Madison, JPL, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, where students can access facilities not available in my lab, such as multi-collector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometers, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, and organic geochemical and carbon isotope facilities.

The University of Cincinnati is home to the #6 ranked paleontology program in the country and students would have access to expertise of world-class paleontologist and geochemists, as well as the courses offered, such as Marine Paleoenvironments and Paleoecology, Biodiversity Through Geological Time, and Organic Geochemistry.

Students should have a background (B.S./B.A. or M.S.) in geology, biology, microbiology, chemistry, or other related field. Note: my joint appointment in the departments of Geology and Chemistry means students can be enrolled in either department. For more information, please contact Andy Czaja at: 513-556-3574 (office) 310-720-5601 (cell) andrew.czaja@uc.edu (website: http://homepages.uc.edu/~czajaaw/)



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