Education and Outreach

Summer Course for Grad Students at Friday Harbor Marine Biology Lab (University of Washington)

By Keith Cowing
December 16, 2007

Oceans and Life on Planets: Remote Exploration of Seafloor Microbial Activities

In the spirit of the interdisciplinary nature of astrobiology, the course is open to graduate students in oceanography and/or microbiology, as well as to other graduate students in science and engineering who wish to pursue an intensive learning experience. Deadline for applications: 31 January 2008.

Brief description:

An exciting aspect of Astrobiology for oceanographers and marine biologists is that other oceans exist in our solar system, at present (as on Europa, a moon of Jupiter) and in the past (as on Mars). The course is thus designed to take knowledge of marine biology on this planet – especially marine microbiology in environments defined by strong chemical and/or thermal gradients – and extend it beyond Earth. The first goal is to explore, via classroom lectures, readings, discussion and debate, the relationships between (a) microbial life as we know it, particularly across marine gradients, (b) the early and contemporary ocean on Earth, (c) past and present oceans on other planets and moons, and (d) the possibilities for life in the environmental gradients inherent to those extraterrestrial oceans. The second goal is to give students direct experience in controlling and gathering data from state-of-the-art robots operating in real-time on the floors of Puget Sound and the Baltic Sea; this type of remote exploration is not unlike that of planetary missions controlled from Earth. – full course description – application form – general information on the Labs

[source: NAI Newsletter]

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻