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Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments: May 2010


Beyond the Edge of the Sea is an exhibition of the work of scientific illustrator Karen Jacobsen. She has accompanied Dr. Cindy Lee Van Dover of Duke University in the deep-sea submersible Alvin numerous times to locations across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, exploring hydrothermal vent ecosystems. This unique collaboration has yielded a vast collection of extraordinary drawings and paintings. The traveling exhibition highlights five newly commissioned pieces, and features over 70 works selected from Jacobsen's sketchbooks.

The exhibition is on display currently at Penn State University where several events have been organized to highlight it, including a scientific colloquium, presentations at local middle school classrooms, an educator workshop (in collaboration with NSF's Ridge 2000 program), and several public lectures. The exhibition will also highlight two public events, Penn State's Exploration Day and Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, at which two related films will accompany the exhibit, "Aliens of the Deep" and "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea."

If you're interested in the exhibition coming to a venue near you, please contact Daniella Scalice, daniella.m.scalice@nasa.gov, 650.604.4024.

[Source: NAI Newsletter]

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: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/seminars/detail/174

[Source: NAI Newsletter]