Polar Research: December 2008

This amendment replaces the draft text in Appendix C.24 entitled "Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities" with the final text. NASA Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) research addresses the need for integrated interdisciplinary field experiments as an integral part of preparation for planned human and robotic missions to the Moon and Mars. The focus of this program is on providing high-fidelity scientific investigations, scientific input, and science operations constraints in the context of planetary field campaigns. Funding provided in this program element is intended to enable researchers to conduct scientific investigations and integrate their instruments, projects, and/or protocols into field activities designed to help NASA plan for future exploration of the Moon, Mars, and other planetary bodies with both robots and humans.

NAI - Nordic Summer School: "Water, Ice and the Origin of Life in the Universe"

Iceland, 29 June to 13 July 2009

The NASA Astrobiology Institute and the Nordic Astrobiology Network will conduct a summer school on the role of water in the evolution of life in the cosmos - in Iceland on the above dates. The school is intended for students and post-docs in astrobiology-related subjects (biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geosciences etc.) The school will be organized in three sections:

* An introductory lecture course
* Excursions to several places in Iceland of astrobiological interest (hot springs, glaciers, geysers, Mars-like environments)
* A lab course on the geochemistry and extremophile community of hot springs (no previous experience in microbiological lab work and field research needed)

Scientists have brought the ENDURANCE underwater vehicle to Lake Bonney, a perpetually ice-covered salt lake located in Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys.

ENDURANCE, an autonomous vehicle designed to swim untethered under ice, will spend a month creating three-dimensional maps of the underwater environment. It also will collect data on the environmental conditions and take samples of microbial life. If all goes well, in the future NASA could send a similar probe to explore the ocean on Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

Read the daily blog entries written by scientists in the field as they work in Earth's coldest environment, testing the limits of ENDURANCE.