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NASA Astrobiology Institute: June 2009


Date/Time: Monday June 29, 2009 11:00AM Pacific

Presenter: Chris Scholin, Molecular Biologist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

Abstract: In late April 2009, a team of MBARI researchers tested the world's only deep-sea robotic DNA lab beneath the waters of Monterey Bay. This instrument is the latest version of the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), which MBARI molecular biologist Chris Scholin has been developing for over 10 years. The ESP is a self-contained robotic laboratory that collects samples of seawater and tests these samples for different types of genetic material, such as DNA.

The NAI and the American Philosophical Society (APS) jointly sponsor graduate students, postdocs, and junior scientists for field studies through the Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology. For more information see http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/funding/lewis-and-clark

We are very pleased to present the young investigators selected for 2009:

by Pier-Luigi Luisi

The 2009 San Sebastian meeting on OQOL was the follow-up to an analogous meeting held in Erice, Sicily three years ago. The general idea was to identify and discuss the areas in the field that are still "in the darkness", i.e. remain poorly understood despite their importance. We asked what were the reasons of our persisting ignorance, and what could we do to shed light on the "dark" areas. The meeting was not organized as a series of standard lectures (the usual "talk-and-run-away" format). Instead, it was centered on several selected questions, one per half-day, which were first discussed by a panel of experts and then by all participants. The questions had been previously chosen through worldwide polling of researchers in the field. It was a very intense meeting - in four days we covered eight questions.

By Michael Wilson

The NAI held a strategic science initiative workshop in Tempe, AZ on May 13-15, to identify areas where increased collaboration between the funded NAI teams could lead to greater scientific insights and productivity. One of the initiative areas focused on origins of life research; the origins initiative was chaired by George Cody (Carnegie team) and John Peters (Montana State team) and Stephen Freeland (University of Hawaii team).By Michael Wilson

The NAI held a strategic science initiative workshop in Tempe, AZ on May 13-15, to identify areas where increased collaboration between the funded NAI teams could lead to greater scientific insights and productivity. One of the initiative areas focused on origins of life research; the origins initiative was chaired by George Cody (Carnegie team) and John Peters (Montana State team) and Stephen Freeland (University of Hawaii team).