NASA Astrobiology Program

Recently Published Research from the NAI

By Keith Cowing
January 20, 2008

The following new papers have been published recently by NAI members. These and other recent NAI funded research are presented on the NAI website and collected in the NAI Research Highlights Archive – In this archive, you can link to the papers and any press materials that may have been generated about them.

If you have an upcoming or recent publication, please tell us about it as soon as possible. We will work with your institution to produce press releases, publicize the paper on the NAI website, and pre-populate your team’s annual report with your publication. Please send any information to Daniella Scalice [email protected]

Follow the Energy

A decade of planetary exploration, focusing on a “follow the water” approach, has yielded a tantalizing array of astrobiologically compelling targets. But the growing list of water-bearing planets and moons has also underscored the need to develop additional metrics for habitability. Research from within the NASA Astrobiology Institute is developing a “follow the energy” approach to complement “follow the water.” The new issue of Astrobiology compiles several papers on this approach, guest-edited by Tori Hoehler from NAI’s Ames Team.

Red Dust in Planet-Forming Disk May Harbor Precursors to Life

Researchers from NAI’s Carnegie Institution of Washington Team have found the first indications of highly complex organic molecules in the disk of red dust surrounding a distant star. The eight-million-year-old star, known as HR 4796A, is inferred to be in the late stages of planet formation, suggesting that the basic building blocks of life may be common in planetary systems. The paper appears in the Astrophysical Journal Letters; a copy of the paper can be found here.

[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) 🖖🏻