NASA Astrobiology Institute: November 2008

The pilot-test of an NAI-supported curriculum entitled Astrobiology: An Integrated Science Approach will help kick-off the State of Maine's new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Initiative. This initiative is the subject of a press conference to be given by Maine's Governor, The Honorable John E. Baldacci, on November 17th.

The curriculum was developed with significant input from the NAI Ames Team led by Dave Des Marais, who will speak at the press conference. Much of the team's research in astrobiology is captured in the curriculum.

A new collaboration between NAI and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) enabled the production of a special astrobiology-themed event at this year's NABT 2008 Professional Development Conference, held in Memphis, TN, October 15-18th. ASM's K-12 Committee Chair graciously invited NAI to join them in making astrobiology the theme of the day-long event that ASM hosts at NABT each year. E/PO Leads from NAI's MBL and IPTAI teams, in collaboration with exobiology researcher Brad Bebout from NASA Ames, joined several astrobiologists from ASM's ranks in sharing lectures and classroom materials about microbial life in extreme environments. NABT supported the event by advertising it in their newsletter and highlighting it in the conference program.

The NAI-MIRS Program provides opportunities for researchers from qualified minority institutions to initiate joint partnerships with NAI researchers in the field of astrobiology. The NAI-MIRS program provides summer sabbaticals, follow-up support, and travel opportunities for faculty and students from minority institutions. The application deadline for summer 2009 is March 16. For more information, visit

Source: NAI Newsletter

Dina Bower: Advisor: Andrew Steele, Carnegie Institution of Washington, NAI CIW Team Topic: Experimental Investigations on the Effects of Diagenesis on the Formation of Fe,Ti-oxides (Pseudorutile) in Microfossils: Using Minerals as Biosignatures in Ancient Rocks

Mark Claire: Advisor: Jim Kasting, Pennsylvania State University and NAI VPL Team
Topic: Biogenic Sulfur - From Biospheres to Biosignatures

Source: NAI Newsletter