LIFE RCN Workshop: Nitrogen Cycling Across Planetary Scales

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
September 21, 2023
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LIFE RCN Workshop: Nitrogen Cycling Across Planetary Scales
LIFE RCN Workshop: Nitrogen Cycling Across Planetary Scales

We are excited to announce the first workshop under the LIFE RCN: Nitrogen cycling across planetary scales.

Life as we know it requires nitrogen, but how does our understanding of the nitrogen cycle inform our search for life in the universe? Where is nitrogen limiting and why? What is the nitrogen cycle like on the oceans of icy moons? On modern and ancient Mars? On possible “Earth like” exoplanets?

To address these questions and shape upcoming space missions, connections are required among planetary scientists, geologists, biologists, and astronomers. The goal of this workshop is to define key questions that should focus research in anticipation of the next generation of astrobiology exploration.


The registration deadline is October 11th, 2023.

The workshop will take place on October 18th and 20th, 2023, from 7AM to 10AM Pacific Time (1500-1800 UK, 1600-1900 central Europe). Please see the full description below. Briefly, we will cover three key themes:

  • The behavior of nitrogen during Solar System formation
  • Nitrogen cycling on the surface of terrestrial planets
  • Nitrogen availability on icy moons and beyond

Each session will include short presentations from 3-4 experts, a panel discussion with all speakers and participants, and breakout discussions.

Participants in the workshop will have the opportunity to contribute to a white paper or submission to Astrobiology, outlining the key directions and outstanding questions about the nitrogen cycle and the search for life. All participants will be invited to contribute to this publication, with guidelines to come.

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) 🖖🏻