NASA Astrobiology Program

2010 NAI Director's Discretionary Fund Selections

By Keith Cowing
January 11, 2011

The NASA Astrobiology Institute is pleased to announce selections for research awards resulting from its 2010 Director’s Discretionary Fund competition. The selections cover a wide range of research topics, including perchlorate salts in Mars analogue environments on Earth, the effects of the space environment on extremophilic bacteria, the search for extrasolar planets around M-stars, the potential for prebiotic organic synthesis in frost flowers, and the microbial diversity of domestic water heaters. Approximately $940K are allocated toward these 15 awards. The median award is $44K.

Selections were based on external reviews, with selection priority given to proposals that

* integrate the research of and realize synergies among the current NAI teams;
* expand the scope of NAI research (and the NAI community) in innovative ways, accepting some risk in return for high pay-off potential;
* respond in a timely way to new scientific results or programmatic opportunities;
* develop connections between astrobiology research and other NASA science programs, particularly NASA’s Earth Science Program;
* directly support flight programs, particularly through instrument development; and/or
* use funding particularly effectively, for example through leveraging or building on past investments

In addition, priority was given to supporting early career investigators.

For more information and a list of selected research projects: [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) 🖖🏻