Education and Outreach: March 2011

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

The deadline for the 2011 MIRS Program is March 31, 2011.

The Astrobiology Program Minority Institution Research Support (MIRS) program, administered by the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation, provides funded opportunities for researchers from minority institutions to initiate partnerships with researchers in the field of astrobiology. Past MIRS Scholars have worked with researchers at UCLA, NASA Ames, the University of Hawaii, JPL, the University of Wisconsin, NASA Goddard, and Portland State University.

For more information:

Source: NAI Newsletter

NASA is accepting applications from science and engineering post-docs, recent PhDs, and doctoral students for its 23rd Annual Planetary Science Summer School, which will hold two separate sessions this summer (18-22 July and 1-5 August) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. During the program and pre-session webinars, student teams will carry out the equivalent of an early mission concept study, prepare a proposal authorization review presentation, present it to a review board, and receive feedback. By the completion of the session, students will have a clearer understanding of the mission design relationships among science instruments, cost, and schedule, and the trade-offs necessary to stay within cost and schedule while preserving the opportunity to acquire high-quality science. They will also understand the lifecycle of a robotic space mission.

Application Deadline: April 1, 2011

For more information, see

Source: NAI Newsletter

The NASA Astrobiology Program Research Scholarship Program 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.

For more information, see

Source: NAI Newsletter

The NASA Astrobiology Program is pleased to announce the selection of four new NASA Postdoctoral Fellows:

Aaron Engelhart (Georgia Tech)
Advisor: Jack Szostak (Exobiology: Prebiotic Evolution, Mass General/ Harvard)
Topic: "Experimental Models of a Key Step in Prebiotic Compartmentalization: Coupling Vesicle Growth and Nucleic Acid Synthesis"

Svetlana Berdyugina (ETH Zurich)
Advisor: Karen Meech (NAI University of Hawaii Team)
Topic: "Hot Water in Exoplanets and Protoplanetary Disks"

Aaron Goldman (University of Washington)
Advisor: Laura Landweber at Princeton University (NAI, Georgia Tech Team)
Topic: "ORGOS: A Database and Unified Organizational Framework to Aggregate, Evaluate, and Advance Origin of Life Research"

Jordan Okie (Univ. of New Mexico)
Advisors: Everett Shock (Exobiology: Early Evolution of Life and the Biosphere, Arizona State University) and Tori Hoehler (NAI, NASA Ames Team)
Topic: "Thermodynamic and Kinetic Constraints on Metabolic Diversity: Quantifying the Biogeochemical Niche Space of Life"

More information about the NPP can be found at

Source: NAI Newsletter

Celebrating the International Year of Chemistry, The Future of Women in Chemistry and Science was a virtual conference featuring women from across the spectrum of careers in science sharing insights on such topics as how to understand GenY, mentorship, work-life balance, and how to attract women into science. Sixty women participated in this 60 minute presentation sponsored by Dow Chemical and Scientific American. NAI affiliates Felisa Wolfe-Simon, Linda McGown, and Catherine Drennan participated.

For more information and to view the presentations:

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@