Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments: February 2009

The Life in Extreme Environments Educator Conference, hosted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Education Office, was held on January 24-25, 2009 in JPL's von Karman auditorium. E/PO Leads from NAI's teams at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, JPL-Titan, and JPL-Icy Worlds participated in producing the event. Eighty-one educators attended. The program included an introduction to astrobiology, as well as more detailed presentations outlining astrobiology research into extrasolar planet habitability, pre-biotic chemistry, spectral "bio"signatures, and planetary protection. NAI educational materials were distributed.

Availability of reduced nitrogen is considered a prerequisite for the genesis of life from prebiotic precursors. Most atmospheric and oceanic models for the Hadean Earth predict a mildly oxidizing environment that is conducive to the formation and stability of only oxidized forms of nitrogen.