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Sample records for nasa astrobiology institute

  1. Assessment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-01-01

    Astrobiology is a scientific discipline devoted to the study of life in the universe--its origins, evolution, distribution, and future. It brings together the physical and biological sciences to address some of the most fundamental questions of the natural world: How do living systems emerge? How do habitable worlds form and how do they evolve? Does life exist on worlds other than Earth? As an endeavor of tremendous breadth and depth, astrobiology requires interdisciplinary investigation in order to be fully appreciated and examined. As part of a concerted effort to undertake such a challenge, the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) was established in 1998 as an innovative way to develop the field of astrobiology and provide a scientific framework for flight missions. Now that the NAI has been in existence for almost a decade, the time is ripe to assess its achievements. At the request of NASA's Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), the Committee on the Review of the NASA Astrobiology Institute undertook the assignment to determine the progress made by the NAI in developing the field of astrobiology. It must be emphasized that the purpose of this study was not to undertake a review of the scientific accomplishments of NASA's Astrobiology program, in general, or of the NAI, in particular. Rather, the objective of the study is to evaluate the success of the NAI in achieving its stated goals of: 1. Conducting, supporting, and catalyzing collaborative interdisciplinary research; 2. Training the next generation of astrobiology researchers; 3. Providing scientific and technical leadership on astrobiology investigations for current and future space missions; 4. Exploring new approaches, using modern information technology, to conduct interdisciplinary and collaborative research among widely distributed investigators; and 5. Supporting outreach by providing scientific content for use in K-12 education programs, teaching undergraduate classes, and

  2. The NASA Astrobiology Institute: early history and organization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blumberg, Baruch S.

    2003-01-01

    The NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) was established as a means to advance the field of astrobiology by providing a multidisciplinary, multi-institution, science-directed program, executed by universities, research institutes, and NASA and other government laboratories. The scientific community and NASA defined the science content at several workshops as summarized in the NASA Astrobiology Roadmap. Teams were chosen nationwide, following the recommendations of external review groups, and the research program began in 1998. There are now 16 national Teams and five international affiliated and associated astrobiology institutions. The NAI has attracted an outstanding group of scientific groups and individuals. The Institute facilitates the involvement of the scientists in its scientific and management vision. Its goal is to support basic research and allow the scientists the freedom to select their projects and alter them as indicated by new research. Additional missions include the education of the public, the involvement of students who will be the astrobiologists of future generations, and the development of a culture of collaboration in NAI, a "virtual institute," spread across many sites nationally and internationally.

  3. The NASA Astrobiology Institute: A Decade of Education and Outreach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scalice, Daniella

    The mission statement of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) charts a course to establishing astrobiology as a new and influential field of scientific inquiry. It integrates world class, interdisciplinary research with training for the next generation of astrobiologists. It enables collaboration between distributed research teams by prioritizing the use of modern information technologies, and empowers astrobiologists to provide leadership for space missions. But this unique vision would not have been complete without the inclusion of an Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) program. Over the past ten years, NAI's E/PO program has taken shape - from bootstrapping in the early days, to partnering with the likes of Disney and PBS - in pursuit of inspiring young people onto the scientific path. The E/PO program's highly collaborative group of education specialists has worked with museums, national parks, filmmakers, radio broadcasters, families, teachers, and students to ensure that the bright young faces of today find themselves in the labs of tomorrow's astrobiologists.

  4. The NASA astrobiology program.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morrison, D

    2001-01-01

    The new discipline of astrobiology addresses fundamental questions about life in the universe: "Where did we come from?" "Are we alone in the universe?" "What is our future beyond the Earth?" Developing capabilities in biotechnology, informatics, and space exploration provide new tools to address these old questions. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has encouraged this new discipline by organizing workshops and technical meetings, establishing a NASA Astrobiology Institute, providing research funds to individual investigators, ensuring that astrobiology goals are incorporated in NASA flight missions, and initiating a program of public outreach and education. Much of the initial effort by NASA and the research community was focused on determining the technical content of astrobiology. This paper discusses the initial answer to the question "What is astrobiology?" as described in the NASA Astrobiology Roadmap.

  5. Assessing Researcher Interdisciplinarity: A Case Study of the University of Hawaii NASA Astrobiology Institute

    CERN Document Server

    Gowanlock, Michael G

    2012-01-01

    In this study, we combine bibliometric techniques with a machine learning algorithm, the sequential Information Bottleneck, to assess the interdisciplinarity of research produced by the University of Hawaii NASA Astrobiology Institute (UHNAI). In particular, we cluster abstract data to evaluate Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge subject categories as descriptive labels for astrobiology documents, assess individual researcher interdisciplinarity, and determine where collaboration opportunities might occur. We find that the majority of the UHNAI team is engaged in interdisciplinary research, and suggest that our method could be applied to additional NASA Astrobiology Institute teams in particular, or other interdisciplinary research teams more broadly, to identify and facilitate collaboration opportunities.

  6. The NASA Astrobiology Roadmap

    Science.gov (United States)

    Des Marais, David J.; Allamandola, Louis J.; Benner, Steven A.; Boss, Alan P.; Deamer, David; Falkowski, Paul G.; Farmer, Jack D.; Hedges, S. Blair; Jakosky, Bruce M.; Knoll, Andrew H.; Liskowsky, David R.; Meadows, Victoria S.; Meyer, Michael A.; Pilcher, Carl B.; Nealson, Kenneth H.; Spormann, Alfred M.; Trent, Jonathan D.; Turner, William W.; Woolf, Neville J.; Yorke, Harold W.

    2003-01-01

    The NASA Astrobiology Roadmap provides guidance for research and technology development across the NASA enterprises that encompass the space, Earth, and biological sciences. The ongoing development of astrobiology roadmaps embodies the contributions of diverse scientists and technologists from government, universities, and private institutions. The Roadmap addresses three basic questions: How does life begin and evolve, does life exist elsewhere in the universe, and what is the future of life on Earth and beyond? Seven Science Goals outline the following key domains of investigation: understanding the nature and distribution of habitable environments in the universe, exploring for habitable environments and life in our own solar system, understanding the emergence of life, determining how early life on Earth interacted and evolved with its changing environment, understanding the evolutionary mechanisms and environmental limits of life, determining the principles that will shape life in the future, and recognizing signatures of life on other worlds and on early Earth. For each of these goals, Science Objectives outline more specific high-priority efforts for the next 3-5 years. These 18 objectives are being integrated with NASA strategic planning.

  7. The NASA Astrobiology Roadmap.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Des Marais, David J; Nuth, Joseph A; Allamandola, Louis J; Boss, Alan P; Farmer, Jack D; Hoehler, Tori M; Jakosky, Bruce M; Meadows, Victoria S; Pohorille, Andrew; Runnegar, Bruce; Spormann, Alfred M

    2008-08-01

    The NASA Astrobiology Roadmap provides guidance for research and technology development across the NASA enterprises that encompass the space, Earth, and biological sciences. The ongoing development of astrobiology roadmaps embodies the contributions of diverse scientists and technologists from government, universities, and private institutions. The Roadmap addresses three basic questions: how does life begin and evolve, does life exist elsewhere in the universe, and what is the future of life on Earth and beyond? Seven Science Goals outline the following key domains of investigation: understanding the nature and distribution of habitable environments in the universe, exploring for habitable environments and life in our own Solar System, understanding the emergence of life, determining how early life on Earth interacted and evolved with its changing environment, understanding the evolutionary mechanisms and environmental limits of life, determining the principles that will shape life in the future, and recognizing signatures of life on other worlds and on early Earth. For each of these goals, Science Objectives outline more specific high priority efforts for the next three to five years. These eighteen objectives are being integrated with NASA strategic planning.

  8. Report on a NASA astrobiology institute-funded workshop without walls: stellar stoichiometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Desch, Steven J; Young, Patrick A; Anbar, Ariel D; Hinkel, Natalie; Pagano, Michael; Truitt, Amanda; Turnbull, Margaret

    2014-04-01

    We report on the NASA Astrobiology Institute-funded Workshop Without Walls entitled "Stellar Stoichiometry," hosted by the "Follow the Elements" team at Arizona State University in April 2013. We describe several innovative practices we adopted that made effective use of the Workshop Without Walls videoconferencing format, including use of information technologies, assignment of scientific tasks before the workshop, and placement of graduate students in positions of authority. A companion article will describe the scientific results arising from the workshop. Our intention here is to suggest best practices for future Workshops Without Walls.

  9. The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dick, Steven J.; Strick, James E.

    2004-01-01

    In the opening weeks of 1998 a news article in the British journal Nature reported that NASA was about to enter biology in a big way. A "virtual" Astrobiology Institute was gearing up for business, and NASA administrator Dan Goldin told his external advisory council that he would like to see spending on the new institute eventually reach $100 million per year. "You just wait for the screaming from the physical scientists (when that happens)," Goldin was quoted as saying. Nevertheless, by the time of the second Astrobiology Science Conference in 2002, attended by seven hundred scientists from many disciplines, NASA spending on astrobiology had reached nearly half that amount and was growing at a steady pace. Under NASA leadership numerous institutions around the world applied the latest scientific techniques in the service of astrobiology's ambitious goal: the study of what NASA's 1996 Strategic Plan termed the "living universe." This goal embraced nothing less than an understanding of the origin, history, and distribution of life in the universe, including Earth. Astrobiology, conceived as a broad interdisciplinary research program, held the prospect of being the science for the twenty-first century which would unlock the secrets to some of the great questions of humanity. It is no surprise that these age-old questions should continue into the twenty-first century. But that the effort should be spearheaded by NASA was not at all obvious to those - inside and outside the agency - who thought NASA's mission was human spaceflight, rather than science, especially biological science. NASA had, in fact, been involved for four decades in "exobiology," a field that embraced many of the same questions but which had stagnated after the 1976 Viking missions to Mars. In this volume we tell the colorful story of the rise of the discipline of exobiology, how and why it morphed into astrobiology at the end of the twentieth century, and why NASA was the engine for both the

  10. Summer Research Experiences for Teachers to Explore Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cola, J.; Williams, L. D.; Harris, B.; Snell, T.; Gaucher, E.; Usselman, M.

    2010-04-01

    The Georgia Tech Center for Ribosome Adaptation and Evolution, a center funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, developed an educational Astrobiology program titled, "Life on the Edge: Astrobiology." .

  11. Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    DesMarais, David

    2002-01-01

    Astrobiology is the study of the origins, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. It provides a biological perspective to many areas of NASA research, linking such endeavors as the search for habitable planets beyond our solar system, exploration missions to Mars and Europa, and efforts to understand the origin and early evolution of life. Astrobiology addresses three fundamental questions: How does life begin and develop? Does life exist elsewhere in the universe What is the future of life on Earth and beyond? This talk will address our concepts about the definition of life, how life might have begun, and how our blaspheme and planet have co-evolved for billions of years. The talk will explore how the perspectives gained from interdisciplinary research in the biological, geological and space sciences will prepare us to search for habitable environments and blasphemes elsewhere in the Universe.

  12. Second Annual NASA Ames Space Science and Astrobiology Jamboree

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dotson, Jessie

    2014-01-01

    The Space Science and Astrobiology Division's researchers are pursuing investigations in a variety of fields, including exoplanets, planetary science, astrobiology, and astrophysics. In addition division personnel support a wide variety of NASA missions. With a wide variety of interesting research going on, distributed among the three branches in at least 5 buildings, it can be difficult to stay abreast of what one's fellow researchers are doing. Our goal in organizing this symposium is to facilitate communication and collaboration among the scientist within the division and to give center management and other ARC researchers and Engineers an opportunity to see what scientific missions work is being done in the division.

  13. 3rd Annual NASA Ames Space Science and Astrobiology Jamboree

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dotson, Jessie

    2015-01-01

    The Space Science and Astrobiology Division at NASA Ames Research Center consists of over 50 civil servants and more than 110 contractors, co-­-ops, post-­-docs and associates. Researchers in the division are pursuing investigations in a variety of fields including exoplanets, planetary science, astrobiology and astrophysics. In addition, division personnel support a wide variety of NASA missions including (but not limited to) Kepler, SOFIA, LADEE, JWST, and New Horizons. With such a wide variety of interesting research going on, distributed among three branches in at least 5 different buildings, it can be difficult to stay abreast of what one's fellow researchers are doing. Our goal in organizing this symposium is to facilitate communication and collaboration among the scientists within the division, and to give center management and other ARC researchers and engineers an opportunity to see what scientific research and science mission work is being done in the division. We are also continuing the tradition within the Space Science and Astrobiology Division to honor one senior and one early career scientist with the Pollack Lecture and the Early Career Lecture, respectively. With the Pollack Lecture, our intent is to select a senior researcher who has made significant contributions to any area of research within the space sciences, and we are pleased to honor Dr. William Borucki this year. With the Early Career Lecture, our intent is to select a young researcher within the division who, by their published scientific papers, shows great promise for the future in any area of space science research, and we are pleased to honor Dr. Melinda Kahre this year

  14. A concept for NASA's Mars 2016 astrobiology field laboratory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beegle, Luther W; Wilson, Michael G; Abilleira, Fernando; Jordan, James F; Wilson, Gregory R

    2007-08-01

    The Mars Program Plan includes an integrated and coordinated set of future candidate missions and investigations that meet fundamental science objectives of NASA and the Mars Exploration Program (MEP). At the time this paper was written, these possible future missions are planned in a manner consistent with a projected budget profile for the Mars Program in the next decade (2007-2016). As with all future missions, the funding profile depends on a number of factors that include the exact cost of each mission as well as potential changes to the overall NASA budget. In the current version of the Mars Program Plan, the Astrobiology Field Laboratory (AFL) exists as a candidate project to determine whether there were (or are) habitable zones and life, and how the development of these zones may be related to the overall evolution of the planet. The AFL concept is a surface exploration mission equipped with a major in situ laboratory capable of making significant advancements toward the Mars Program's life-related scientific goals and the overarching Vision for Space Exploration. We have developed several concepts for the AFL that fit within known budget and engineering constraints projected for the 2016 and 2018 Mars mission launch opportunities. The AFL mission architecture proposed here assumes maximum heritage from the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). Candidate payload elements for this concept were identified from a set of recommendations put forth by the Astrobiology Field Laboratory Science Steering Group (AFL SSG) in 2004, for the express purpose of identifying overall rover mass and power requirements for such a mission. The conceptual payload includes a Precision Sample Handling and Processing System that would replace and augment the functionality and capabilities provided by the Sample Acquisition Sample Processing and Handling system that is currently part of the 2009 MSL platform.

  15. Astrobiology Research Experience for Undergraduates: An Interdisciplinary REU Program at the SETI Institute

    Science.gov (United States)

    Phillips, C. B.; Devore, E. K.

    2009-12-01

    The SETI Institute hosts a summer Astrobiology Research Experience for Undergraduates program for highly motivated students interested in astrobiology research. Students work with scientists at the SETI Institute and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center on projects spanning the field of astrobiology from microbiology to planetary geology to astronomy and astrophysics. Each student is mentored by a scientist for his/her summer research project. As astrobiology is interdisciplinary, the first week includes a seminar series to provide a broad foundation in the field as the students begin their research projects. The 10-week program includes a week-long field trip to the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array, located at the Hat Creek Radio Astronomy Observatory in Northern California, as well as a field experience at hydrothermal systems at nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park. Students also participate in local field trips to places like the California Academy of Sciences and other nearby locations of scientific interest, and attend seminars, lectures, and discussions on astrobiology. Students are also invited to attend events at nearby NASA Ames Research Center, which offers the opportunity to interact with other undergraduate and graduate students participating in NASA summer programs. At the end of the program, students write up and present their research projects, and mentors recommend some projects for submission to a national scientific conference, which the selected students will be funded to attend. The Astrobiology REU program emphasizes three main areas, which are listed in the table along with typical project themes. Each year, specific student research projects are described on the website, and students are asked to select the three that most interest them as a part of their applications. Applications are due in early February. Typically, 10 students apply for each available position. Students have been selected from colleges and universities

  16. Astrobiology and Society: Building an Interdisciplinary Research Community

    OpenAIRE

    Race, Margaret; Denning, Kathryn; Bertka, Constance M.; Dick, Steven J.; Harrison, Albert A.; Impey, Christopher; Mancinelli, Rocco

    2012-01-01

    This paper reports recent efforts to gather experts from the humanities and social sciences along with astrobiologists to consider the cultural, societal, and psychological implications of astrobiology research and exploration. We began by convening a workshop to draft a research roadmap on astrobiology's societal implications and later formed a Focus Group on Astrobiology and Society under the auspices of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). Just as the Astrobiology Science Roadmap and var...

  17. Astrobiological Stoichiometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Patrick A.; Desch, Steven J.; Anbar, Ariel D.; Barnes, Rory; Hinkel, Natalie R.; Kopparapu, Ravikumar; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Monga, Nikhil; Pagano, Michael D.; Riner, Miriam A.; Scannapieco, Evan; Shim, Sang-Heon; Truitt, Amanda

    2014-07-01

    Chemical composition affects virtually all aspects of astrobiology, from stellar astrophysics to molecular biology. We present a synopsis of the research results presented at the "Stellar Stoichiometry" Workshop Without Walls hosted at Arizona State University April 11-12, 2013, under the auspices of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. The results focus on the measurement of chemical abundances and the effects of composition on processes from stellar to planetary scales. Of particular interest were the scientific connections between processes in these normally disparate fields. Measuring the abundances of elements in stars and giant and terrestrial planets poses substantial difficulties in technique and interpretation. One of the motivations for this conference was the fact that determinations of the abundance of a given element in a single star by different groups can differ by more than their quoted errors. The problems affecting the reliability of abundance estimations and their inherent limitations are discussed. When these problems are taken into consideration, self-consistent surveys of stellar abundances show that there is still substantial variation (factors of ~2) in the ratios of common elements (e.g., C, O, Na, Al, Mg, Si, Ca) important in rock-forming minerals, atmospheres, and biology. We consider how abundance variations arise through injection of supernova nucleosynthesis products into star-forming material and through photoevaporation of protoplanetary disks. The effects of composition on stellar evolution are substantial, and coupled with planetary atmosphere models can result in predicted habitable zone extents that vary by many tens of percent. Variations in the bulk composition of planets can affect rates of radiogenic heating and substantially change the mineralogy of planetary interiors, affecting properties such as convection and energy transport.

  18. Astrobiological stoichiometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Patrick A; Desch, Steven J; Anbar, Ariel D; Barnes, Rory; Hinkel, Natalie R; Kopparapu, Ravikumar; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Monga, Nikhil; Pagano, Michael D; Riner, Miriam A; Scannapieco, Evan; Shim, Sang-Heon; Truitt, Amanda

    2014-07-01

    Chemical composition affects virtually all aspects of astrobiology, from stellar astrophysics to molecular biology. We present a synopsis of the research results presented at the "Stellar Stoichiometry" Workshop Without Walls hosted at Arizona State University April 11-12, 2013, under the auspices of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. The results focus on the measurement of chemical abundances and the effects of composition on processes from stellar to planetary scales. Of particular interest were the scientific connections between processes in these normally disparate fields. Measuring the abundances of elements in stars and giant and terrestrial planets poses substantial difficulties in technique and interpretation. One of the motivations for this conference was the fact that determinations of the abundance of a given element in a single star by different groups can differ by more than their quoted errors. The problems affecting the reliability of abundance estimations and their inherent limitations are discussed. When these problems are taken into consideration, self-consistent surveys of stellar abundances show that there is still substantial variation (factors of ∼ 2) in the ratios of common elements (e.g., C, O, Na, Al, Mg, Si, Ca) important in rock-forming minerals, atmospheres, and biology. We consider how abundance variations arise through injection of supernova nucleosynthesis products into star-forming material and through photoevaporation of protoplanetary disks. The effects of composition on stellar evolution are substantial, and coupled with planetary atmosphere models can result in predicted habitable zone extents that vary by many tens of percent. Variations in the bulk composition of planets can affect rates of radiogenic heating and substantially change the mineralogy of planetary interiors, affecting properties such as convection and energy transport.

  19. Make Astrobiology Yours

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domagal-Goldman, Shawn

    2012-01-01

    In this talk, I will give the AbGradCon attendees an overview of astrobiology activities ongoing at NASA as well as a brief description of the various funding programs and careers that they can pursue. After this, I will present to them the case that the future of the field is theirs to determine, and give input on how to effectively make astrobiology and NASA responsive to the needs of the community. This presentation will leverage my experiences leading various efforts in the early career astrobiology community, where I have served as a conference organizer, primer lead editor, community blogger, and unofficial liaison to NASA headquarters.

  20. The Astrobiology Field Guide in World Wind

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scalice, D. M.

    2004-12-01

    In collaboration with the Australian Centre for Astrobiology (ACA), and NASA Learning Technologies (NLT), and utilizing the powerful visualization capabilities of their "World Wind" software, the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) is crafting a prototype "Astrobiology Field Guide" to bring the field experiences and stories of astrobiology science to the public and classrooms around the world. The prototype focuses on one region in particular - The Pilbara in Western Australia. This first Field Guide "hotspot" is an internationally recognized area hosting the best known example of the earliest evidence of life on Earth - a stromatolitic chert precipitation in the 3.45 Ga Warrawoona Group. The goal of the Astrobiology Field Guide is to engage students of all ages with the ongoing field expeditions of today's astrobiologists as they explore the ends of the Earth searching for clues to life's origin, evolution, and distribution in the Universe. The NAI hopes to expand this Field Guide to include many more astrobiologically relevant areas across the globe such as Cuatro Cienegas in Mexico, the Rio Tinto in Spain, Yellowstone National Park in the US, and the Lost City hydrothermal vent field on the mid-Atlantic ridge - and possibly sites on Mars. To that end, we will be conducting feasibility studies and evaluations with informal and formal education contacts. The Astrobiology Field Guide is also serving as a cornerstone to educational materials being developed focused on the Pilbara region for use in classrooms in Australia, the UK, and potentially the US. These materials are being developed by the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, and the ICT Innovations Centre at Macquarie University in Sydney, in collaboration with the NAI and the Centre for Astronomy and Science Education at the University of Glamorgan in the UK.

  1. An Astrobiology Summer Program for High School Teachers and Students

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cola, J.; Williams, L. D.; Gaucher, E.; Snell, T.

    2010-12-01

    The Georgia Tech Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution, a center funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, developed an educational summer program titled, “Life on the Edge: Astrobiology.” The purpose of the program was to expose high school educators to the field of astrobiology and provide them with skills and classroom activities necessary to foster student interest in scientific discovery on Earth and throughout the universe. Astrobiology activities for a week-long summer enrichment program for high school students was developed by three high school educators, two undergraduate students and faculty in the Schools of Biology, and Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech. Twenty-four high school students were introduced to hands-on activities and techniques such as gel electrophoresis, thin layer chromatography, and manual polymerase chain reaction. The impact of the astrobiology summer program on teachers and high school students will be discussed.

  2. Astrobiology and the Biological Universe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dick, S. J.

    2002-12-01

    Four hundred years ago two astronomical world views hung in the balance: the geocentric and the heliocentric. Today astronomy faces a similar choice between two grand world views: a purely physical universe, in which cosmic evolution commonly ends in planets, stars and galaxies, and a biological universe, in which cosmic evolution routinely results in life, mind and intelligence. Astrobiology is the science providing the data to make this critical choice. This 20th century overview shows how we have arrived at the view that cosmic evolution may have resulted in life and intelligence in the universe. It examines how our astronomical world view has changed over the last century, recalls the opinions of astronomical pioneers like Russell, Shapley, and Struve on life in the universe, and shows how planetary science, planetary systems science, origins of life studies and SETI have combined to form a new discipline. Astrobiology now commands \\$50 million in direct funding from NASA, funds 15 Astrobiology Institute members around the country and four affiliates around the world, and seeks to answer one of astronomy's oldest questions. Whether we live in a mostly physical universe, as exemplified in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, or in a biological universe, as portrayed in Arthur C. Clarke's works, this reality will have profound consequences, no less than the Copernican theory. Astrobiology also looks to the future of life; taking a long-term ``Stapledonian" view, it is possible we may live in a postbiological universe.

  3. Astrobiology and society: building an interdisciplinary research community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Race, Margaret; Denning, Kathryn; Bertka, Constance M; Dick, Steven J; Harrison, Albert A; Impey, Christopher; Mancinelli, Rocco

    2012-10-01

    This paper reports recent efforts to gather experts from the humanities and social sciences along with astrobiologists to consider the cultural, societal, and psychological implications of astrobiology research and exploration. We began by convening a workshop to draft a research roadmap on astrobiology's societal implications and later formed a Focus Group on Astrobiology and Society under the auspices of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). Just as the Astrobiology Science Roadmap and various astrobiology science focus groups have helped researchers orient and understand their work across disciplinary contexts, our intent was to apply the same approach to examine areas beyond the physical and life sciences and expand interdisciplinary interaction and scholarly understanding. These efforts continue as an experiment in progress, with an open invitation to interested researchers-astrobiologists as well as scholars in the humanities and social sciences-to become involved in research, analysis, and proactive discussions concerning the potential impacts of astrobiology on society as well as the possible impacts of society on progress in astrobiology.

  4. Advanced Curation Activities at NASA: Implications for Astrobiological Studies of Future Sample Collections

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCubbin, F. M.; Evans, C. A.; Fries, M. D.; Harrington, A. D.; Regberg, A. B.; Snead, C. J.; Zeigler, R. A.

    2017-01-01

    The Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office (henceforth referred to herein as NASA Curation Office) at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) is responsible for curating all of NASA's extraterrestrial samples. Under the governing document, NASA Policy Directive (NPD) 7100.10F JSC is charged with curation of all extraterrestrial material under NASA control, including future NASA missions. The Directive goes on to define Curation as including documentation, preservation, preparation, and distribution of samples for re-search, education, and public outreach. Here we briefly describe NASA's astromaterials collections and our ongoing efforts related to enhancing the utility of our current collections as well as our efforts to prepare for future sample return missions. We collectively refer to these efforts as advanced curation.

  5. Educational Outreach for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kadooka, M.; Meech, K.

    2009-12-01

    Astrobiology, the search for life in the universe, has fascinating research areas that can excite students and teachers about science. Its integrative nature, relating to astronomy, geology, oceanography, physics, and chemistry, can be used to encourage students to pursue physical sciences careers. Since 2004, the University of Hawaii NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) team scientists have shared their research with secondary teachers at our ALI’I national teacher program to promote the inclusion of astrobiology topics into science courses. Since 2007, our NAI team has co-sponsored the HI STAR program for Hawaii’s middle and high school students to work on authentic astronomy research projects and to be mentored by astronomers. The students get images of asteroids, comets, stars, and extrasolar planets from the Faulkes Telescope North located at Haleakala Observatories on the island of Maui and owned by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope network. They also do real time observing with DeKalb Observatory telescope personally owned by Donn Starkey who willing allows any student access to his telescope. Student project results include awards at the Hawaii State Science Fair and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. We believe that research experience stimulates these students to select STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors upon entering college so a longitudinal study is being done. Plans are underway with California and Hawaii ALI’I teachers cooperating on a joint astronomy classroom project. International collaborations with Brazil, Portugal, and Italy astronomers have begun. We envision joint project between hemispheres and crossing time zones. The establishment of networking teachers, astronomers, students and educator liaisons will be discussed.

  6. The Astrobiology in Secondary Classrooms (ASC) curriculum: focusing upon diverse students and teachers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arino de la Rubia, Leigh S

    2012-09-01

    The Minority Institution Astrobiology Collaborative (MIAC) began working with the NASA Goddard Center for Astrobiology in 2003 to develop curriculum materials for high school chemistry and Earth science classes based on astrobiology concepts. The Astrobiology in Secondary Classrooms (ASC) modules emphasize interdisciplinary connections in astronomy, biology, chemistry, geoscience, physics, mathematics, and ethics through hands-on activities that address national educational standards. Field-testing of the Astrobiology in Secondary Classrooms materials occurred over three years in eight U.S. locations, each with populations that are underrepresented in the career fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Analysis of the educational research upon the high school students participating in the ASC project showed statistically significant increases in students' perceived knowledge and science reasoning. The curriculum is in its final stages, preparing for review to become a NASA educational product.

  7. Data Sharing in Astrobiology: the Astrobiology Habitable Environments Database (AHED)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bristow, T.; Lafuente Valverde, B.; Keller, R.; Stone, N.; Downs, R. T.; Blake, D. F.; Fonda, M.; Pires, A.

    2016-12-01

    Astrobiology is a multidisciplinary area of scientific research focused on studying the origins of life on Earth and the conditions under which life might have emerged elsewhere in the universe. The understanding of complex questions in astrobiology requires integration and analysis of data spanning a range of disciplines including biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy and planetary science. However, the lack of a centralized repository makes it difficult for astrobiology teams to share data and benefit from resultant synergies. Moreover, in recent years, federal agencies are requiring that results of any federally funded scientific research must be available and useful for the public and the science community. Astrobiology, as any other scientific discipline, needs to respond to these mandates. The Astrobiology Habitable Environments Database (AHED) is a central, high quality, long-term searchable repository designed to help the community by promoting the integration and sharing of all the data generated by these diverse disciplines. AHED provides public and open-access to astrobiology-related research data through a user-managed web portal implemented using the open-source software The Open Data Repository's (ODR) Data Publisher [1]. ODR-DP provides a user-friendly interface that research teams or individual scientists can use to design, populate and manage their own databases or laboratory notebooks according to the characteristics of their data. AHED is then a collection of databases housed in the ODR framework that store information about samples, along with associated measurements, analyses, and contextual information about field sites where samples were collected, the instruments or equipment used for analysis, and people and institutions involved in their collection. Advanced graphics are implemented together with advanced online tools for data analysis (e.g. R, MATLAB, Project Jupyter-http://jupyter.org). A permissions system will be put in place so that

  8. The Lassen Astrobiology Intern Program - Concept, Implementation and Evaluation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Des Marais, D. J.; Dueck, S. L.; Davis, H. B.; Parenteau, M. N.; Kubo, M. D.

    2014-12-01

    The program goal was to provide a hands-on astrobiology learning experience to high school students by introducing astrobiology and providing opportunities to conduct field and lab research with NASA scientists. The program sought to increase interest in interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, math and related careers. Lassen Volcanic National Park (LVNP), Red Bluff High School and the Ames Team of the NASA Astrobiology Institute led the program. LVNP was selected because it shares aspects of volcanism with Mars and it hosts thermal springs with microbial mat communities. Students documented volcanic deposits, springs and microbial mats. They analyzed waters and sampled rocks, water and microorganisms. They cultured microorganisms and studied chemical reactions between rocks and simulated spring waters. Each student prepared a report to present data and discuss relationships between volcanic rocks and gases, spring waters and microbial mats. At a "graduation" event the students presented their findings to the Red Bluff community. They visited Ames Research Center to tour the facilities and learn about science and technology careers. To evaluate program impact, surveys were given to students after lectures, labs, fieldwork and discussions with Ames scientists. Students' work was scored using rubrics (labs, progress reports, final report, presentation). Students took pre/post tests on core astrobiology concepts. Parents, teachers, rangers, Ames staff and students completed end-of-year surveys on program impact. Several outcomes were documented. Students had a unique and highly valued learning experience with NASA scientists. They understood what scientists do through authentic scientific work, and what scientists are like as individuals. Students became knowledgeable about astrobiology and how it can be pursued in the lab and in the field. The students' interest increased markedly in astrobiology, interdisciplinary studies and science generally.

  9. Data Sharing in Astrobiology: the Astrobiology Habitable Environments Database (AHED)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lafuente, B.; Bristow, T.; Stone, N.; Pires, A.; Keller, R. M.; Downs, R. T.; Blake, D.; Fonda, M.

    2017-01-01

    Astrobiology is a multidisciplinary area of scientific research focused on studying the origins of life on Earth and the conditions under which life might have emerged elsewhere in the universe. NASA uses the results of Astrobiology research to help define targets for future missions that are searching for life elsewhere in the universe. The understanding of complex questions in Astrobiology requires integration and analysis of data spanning a range of disciplines including biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy and planetary science. However, the lack of a centralized repository makes it difficult for Astrobiology teams to share data and benefit from resultant synergies. Moreover, in recent years, federal agencies are requiring that results of any federally funded scientific research must be available and useful for the public and the science community. The Astrobiology Habitable Environments Database (AHED), developed with a consolidated group of astrobiologists from different active research teams at NASA Ames Research Center, is designed to help to address these issues. AHED is a central, high-quality, long-term data repository for mineralogical, textural, morphological, inorganic and organic chemical, isotopic and other information pertinent to the advancement of the field of Astrobiology.

  10. Data management in astrobiology: challenges and opportunities for an interdisciplinary community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aydinoglu, Arsev Umur; Suomela, Todd; Malone, Jim

    2014-06-01

    Data management and sharing are growing concerns for scientists and funding organizations throughout the world. Funding organizations are implementing requirements for data management plans, while scientists are establishing new infrastructures for data sharing. One of the difficulties is sharing data among a diverse set of research disciplines. Astrobiology is a unique community of researchers, containing over 110 different disciplines. The current study reports the results of a survey of data management practices among scientists involved in the astrobiology community and the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) in particular. The survey was administered over a 2-month period in the first half of 2013. Fifteen percent of the NAI community responded (n=114), and additional (n=80) responses were collected from members of an astrobiology Listserv. The results of the survey show that the astrobiology community shares many of the same concerns for data sharing as other groups. The benefits of data sharing are acknowledged by many respondents, but barriers to data sharing remain, including lack of acknowledgement, citation, time, and institutional rewards. Overcoming technical, institutional, and social barriers to data sharing will be a challenge into the future.

  11. Synthetic Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2016-01-01

    Synthetic biology - the design and construction of new biological parts and systems and the redesign of existing ones for useful purposes - has the potential to transform fields from pharmaceuticals to fuels. Our lab has focused on the potential of synthetic biology to revolutionize all three major parts of astrobiology: Where do we come from? Where are we going? and Are we alone? For the first and third, synthetic biology is allowing us to answer whether the evolutionary narrative that has played out on planet earth is likely to have been unique or universal. For example, in our lab we are re-evolving the biosynthetic pathways of amino acids in order to understand potential capabilities of an early organism with a limited repertoire of amino acids and developing techniques for the recovery of metals from spent electronics on other planetary bodies. And what about the limits for life? Can we create organisms that expand the envelope for life? In the future synthetic biology will play an increasing role in human activities both on earth, in fields as diverse as human health and the industrial production of novel bio-composites. Beyond earth, we will rely increasingly on biologically-provided life support, as we have throughout our evolutionary history. In order to do this, the field will build on two of the great contributions of astrobiology: studies of the origin of life and life in extreme environments.

  12. Synthetic Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2015-01-01

    Synthetic biology - the design and construction of new biological parts and systems and the redesign of existing ones for useful purposes - has the potential to transform fields from pharmaceuticals to fuels. Our lab has focused on the potential of synthetic biology to revolutionize all three major parts of astrobiology: Where do we come from? Where are we going? and Are we alone? For the first and third, synthetic biology is allowing us to answer whether the evolutionary narrative that has played out on planet earth is likely to have been unique or universal. For example, in our lab we are re-evolving the biosynthetic pathways of amino acids in order to understand potential capabilities of an early organism with a limited repertoire of amino acids and developing techniques for the recovery of metals from spent electronics on other planetary bodies. In the future synthetic biology will play an increasing role in human activities both on earth, in fields as diverse as human health and the industrial production of novel bio-composites. Beyond earth, we will rely increasingly on biologically-provided life support, as we have throughout our evolutionary history. In order to do this, the field will build on two of the great contributions of astrobiology: studies of the origin of life and life in extreme environments.

  13. Exo/Astrobiology in Europe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brack, André; Horneck, Gerda; Wynn-Williams, David

    2001-08-01

    The question of the chemical origins of life is engraved in the European scientific patrimony as it can be traced back to the pioneer ideas of Charles Darwin, Louis Pasteur, and more recently to Alexander Oparin. During the last decades, the European community of origin of life scientists has organized seven out of the twelve International Conferences on the Origins of Life held since 1957. This community contributed also to enlarge the field of research to the study of life in extreme environments and to the search for extraterrestrial life, i.e. exobiology in its classical definition or astrobiology if one uses a more NASA-inspired terminology. The present paper aims to describe the European science background in exo/astrobiology as well as the project of a European Network of Exo/Astrobiology.

  14. NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pendleton, Yvonne J.

    2015-11-01

    NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) represents a close collaboration between science, technology and exploration, and was created to enable a deeper understanding of the Moon and other airless bodies. SSERVI is supported jointly by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. The institute currently focuses on the scientific aspects of exploration as they pertain to the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and the moons of Mars, but the institute goals may expand, depending on NASA's needs, in the future. The 9 initial teams, selected in late 2013 and funded from 2014-2019, have expertise across the broad spectrum of lunar, NEA, and Martian moon sciences. Their research includes various aspects of the surface, interior, exosphere, near-space environments, and dynamics of these bodies.NASA anticipates a small number of additional teams to be selected within the next two years, with a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) likely to be released in 2016. Calls for proposals are issued every 2-3 years to allow overlap between generations of institute teams, but the intent for each team is to provide a stable base of funding for a five year period. SSERVI's mission includes acting as a bridge between several groups, joining together researchers from: 1) scientific and exploration communities, 2) multiple disciplines across a wide range of planetary sciences, and 3) domestic and international communities and partnerships.The SSERVI central office is located at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. The administrative staff at the central office forms the organizational hub for the domestic and international teams and enables the virtual collaborative environment. Interactions with geographically dispersed teams across the U.S., and global partners, occur easily and frequently in a collaborative virtual environment. This poster will provide an overview of the 9 current US teams and

  15. Robots for Astrobiology!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boston, Penelope J.

    2016-01-01

    The search for life and its study is known as astrobiology. Conducting that search on other planets in our Solar System is a major goal of NASA and other space agencies, and a driving passion of the community of scientists and engineers around the world. We practice for that search in many ways, from exploring and studying extreme environments on Earth, to developing robots to go to other planets and help us look for any possible life that may be there or may have been there in the past. The unique challenges of space exploration make collaborations between robots and humans essential. The products of those collaborations will be novel and driven by the features of wholly new environments. For space and planetary environments that are intolerable for humans or where humans present an unacceptable risk to possible biologically sensitive sites, autonomous robots or telepresence offer excellent choices. The search for life signs on Mars fits within this category, especially in advance of human landed missions there, but also as assistants and tools once humans reach the Red Planet. For planetary destinations where we do not envision humans ever going in person, like bitterly cold icy moons, or ocean worlds with thick ice roofs that essentially make them planetary-sized ice caves, we will rely on robots alone to visit those environments for us and enable us to explore and understand any life that we may find there. Current generation robots are not quite ready for some of the tasks that we need them to do, so there are many opportunities for roboticists of the future to advance novel types of mobility, autonomy, and bio-inspired robotic designs to help us accomplish our astrobiological goals. We see an exciting partnership between robotics and astrobiology continually strengthening as we jointly pursue the quest to find extraterrestrial life.

  16. The narrative power of astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billings, Linda

    The narrative power of astrobiology: Telling the story of the quest to understand life's origins and the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life INTRODUCTION The story of the origins and evolution of life is a narrative with nearuniversal appeal. The story of life on Earth is meaningful to all people, and the search for life elsewhere is appealing across cultural boundaries. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) funds an Astrobiology Program in NASA's Science Mission Directorate that is dedicated to the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. Because public interest in astrobiology is great and advances in the field are rapid, the NASA Astrobiology Program aims to integrate communication, education, and outreach into all aspects of program planning and execution. This strategic approach to communication is intended to promote the widest possible dissemination of timely and useful information about scientific discoveries, technology development, new knowledge, and greater understanding produced by the Astrobiology Program. This paper will address how scientists in the field of astrobiology can participate in the telling of an ongoing story of interest to multicultural audiences and why it is important to tell this story. SUMMARY Astrobiology research addresses three fundamental questions: How does life begin and evolve? Is there life beyond Earth and how can we detect it? What is the future of life on Earth and in the universe? The field of astrobiology is an endeavor that brings together researchers in a broad range of disciplines including Earth and planetary science, astrophysics, heliophysics, microbiology and evolutionary biology, and cosmochemistry. Goals of the NASA Astrobiology Program range from determining the nature and distribution of habitable environments in the Solar System and beyond to understanding the emergence of life from cosmic and planetary precursors, the interaction of

  17. Synthetic Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2017-01-01

    "Are we alone?" is one of the primary questions of astrobiology, and whose answer defines our significance in the universe. Unfortunately, this quest is hindered by the fact that we have only one confirmed example of life, that of earth. While this is enormously helpful in helping to define the minimum envelope for life, it strains credulity to imagine that life, if it arose multiple times, has not taken other routes. To help fill this gap, our lab has begun using synthetic biology - the design and construction of new biological parts and systems and the redesign of existing ones for useful purposes - as an enabling technology. One theme, the "Hell Cell" project, focuses on creating artificial extremophiles in order to push the limits for Earth life, and to understand how difficult it is for life to evolve into extreme niches. In another project, we are re-evolving biotic functions using only the most thermodynamically stable amino acids in order to understand potential capabilities of an early organism with a limited repertoire of amino acids.

  18. Summer Research Experiences for Science and Art Teachers to Explore Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cola, J.; Gaucher, E.; Snell, T.; Greenwood, J.; Angra, A.; Zimmerman, C.; Williams, L. D.

    2012-12-01

    The Georgia Tech Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution, a center funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, developed an educational program titled, "Life on the Edge: Astrobiology." The purpose of the program was to provide high school educators with the exposure, materials, and skills necessary to prepare our future workforce and to foster student interest in scientific discovery on Earth and throughout the universe. In an effort to promote and encourage entry into teaching careers, Georgia Tech paired teachers in the Georgia Intern-Fellowship for Teachers (GIFT) program with undergraduate students interested in becoming a teacher through the NSF Pre-Teaching REU program. The GIFT and Pre-Teaching fellows investigated extremophiles, which became the focus of a week-long, "Life on the Edge: Astrobiology " summer program developed by three high school educators, two undergraduate students and faculty in the Schools of Biology, and Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech. Twenty high school students were introduced to hands-on activities, such as astrobiology inspired art and techniques such as genomic DNA purification, gel electrophoresis, and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The impact of the Astrobiology program on the GIFT researchers, Pre-Teaching REU students, high school students, and faculty are discussed.

  19. Astrobiology: The Search for Life in the Universe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pacchioli, David

    2003-01-01

    Each of the 11 lead members of NASA's Astrobiology Institute has a specific mission. According to Hiroshi Ohmoto, director of Penn State s Astrobiology Research Center, Here we are mainly concerned with the origin of life and the evolution and extinction of important organisms. These include bacteria that live on methane, cyanobacteria (the inventors of photosynthesis), eukaryotes (a big category, covering anything with a nucleus, from single-celled organisms to humans), land-dwelling organisms, and early animals. Penn State astrobiologists are studying the environment before there was life on Earth, the origin of oxygen in the atmosphere, the chemical and thermal structures of oceans, and the role of metals in the evolution of life. Overall, they want to understand the connection between changes in environment and changes in life forms in the early Earth. PSARC offers research assistantships for graduate and undergraduate students, fellowships for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and an undergraduate minor in astrobiology. The minor covers 18 credits in earth sciences, geochemistry, geophysics, astronomy, biology, biochemistry, meteorology, and microbiology. The goal, says Ohmoto, is to teach students to critically evaluate claims related to this field that they encounter well after their college education has ended. Under a scanning electron microscope, Martian meteorite ALH84001 yields tube-like structures that look a lot like remnants of Earthly bacteria except smaller by a factor of ten.

  20. Astrobiology: The Search for Life in the Universe

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pacchioli, David

    2003-01-01

    Each of the 11 lead members of NASA's Astrobiology Institute has a specific mission. According to Hiroshi Ohmoto, director of Penn State s Astrobiology Research Center, Here we are mainly concerned with the origin of life and the evolution and extinction of important organisms. These include bacteria that live on methane, cyanobacteria (the inventors of photosynthesis), eukaryotes (a big category, covering anything with a nucleus, from single-celled organisms to humans), land-dwelling organisms, and early animals. Penn State astrobiologists are studying the environment before there was life on Earth, the origin of oxygen in the atmosphere, the chemical and thermal structures of oceans, and the role of metals in the evolution of life. Overall, they want to understand the connection between changes in environment and changes in life forms in the early Earth. PSARC offers research assistantships for graduate and undergraduate students, fellowships for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and an undergraduate minor in astrobiology. The minor covers 18 credits in earth sciences, geochemistry, geophysics, astronomy, biology, biochemistry, meteorology, and microbiology. The goal, says Ohmoto, is to teach students to critically evaluate claims related to this field that they encounter well after their college education has ended. Under a scanning electron microscope, Martian meteorite ALH84001 yields tube-like structures that look a lot like remnants of Earthly bacteria except smaller by a factor of ten.

  1. Exploring Astrobiology: Future and In-Service Teacher Research Experiences

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cola, J.; Williams, L. D.; Snell, T.; Gaucher, E.; Harris, B.; Usselman, M. C.; Millman, R. S.

    2009-12-01

    The Georgia Tech Center for Ribosome Adaptation and Evolution, a center funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, developed an educational Astrobiology program titled, “Life on the Edge: Astrobiology.” The purpose of the program was to provide educators with the materials, exposure, and skills necessary to prepare our future workforce and to foster student interest in scientific discovery on Earth and throughout the universe. A one-week, non-residential summer enrichment program for high school students was conducted and tested by two high school educators, an undergraduate student, and faculty in the Schools of Biology, and Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech. In an effort to promote and encourage entry into teaching careers, Georgia Tech paired in-service teachers in the Georgia Intern-Fellowship for Teachers (GIFT) program with an undergraduate student interested in becoming a teacher through the Tech to Teaching program. The GIFT and Tech to Teaching fellows investigated extremophiles which have adapted to life under extreme environmental conditions. As a result, extremophiles became the focus of a week-long, “Life on the Edge: Astrobiology” curriculum aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards in Biology. Twenty-five high school students explored the adaptation and survival rates for various types of extremophiles exposed to UV radiation and desiccation; students were also introduced to hands-on activities and techniques such as genomic DNA purification, gel electrophoresis, and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The impact on everyone invested and involved in the Astrobiology program including the GIFT and Tech to Teaching fellows, high school students, and faculty are discussed.

  2. The Astrobiological Landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ćirković, Milan M.

    2012-06-01

    Introduction; Acknowledgements; 1. Astrobiology: the colour out of space?; 2. Cosmology, life, and duration of the past; 3. Cosmology, life, and selection effects; 4. Cosmology, life, and the archipelago; 5. Astrobiology as a natural extension of Darwinism; 6. Rare Earths and the continuity thesis; 7. SETI and its discontents; 8. Natural and artificial: cosmic domain of Arnheim; 9. Astrobiology as the neo-Copernican synthesis?; Index.

  3. Biomolecules in Astrobiology

    OpenAIRE

    Meringer, Markus

    2013-01-01

    Astrobiology is the study of the origin, distribution and future of life in the universe, biomolecules are molecules produced by living organisms. This talk reviews known facts and open questions about biomolecules in the context of Astrobiology and introduces a research project on "Creating a Reference Set of Amino Acids Structures for Use in Multiple Astrobiology Investigations" that tries to find answers using computational methods.

  4. Astrochemistry and astrobiology

    CERN Document Server

    Smith, Ian W M; Leach, Sydney

    2014-01-01

    This debut volume in the new Springer series Physical Chemistry in Action, composed of expert contributions, is aimed at both novice and experienced researchers, and outlines the principles of the physical chemistry deployed in astrochemistry and astrobiology.

  5. Cultural Aspects of Astrobiology: A Preliminary Reconnaissance at

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dick, Steven

    NASA's Astrobiology Roadmap, developed in 1998 by an interdisciplinary team of more than 150 individuals, recognizes ten science goals, 17 more specific science objectives, and four broad principles for the Astrobiology Program. Among the four operating principles, which emphasize multidisciplinarity, planetary stewardship and public outreach, is one that also recognizes broad societal interest for the implications of astrobiology, especially its extraterrestrial life component. Although several meetings ahve been convened in the past decade to discuss the implications of extraterrestrial intelligence, including NASA's own CASETI workshops in 1991-1992, none have surveyed the broader implications of astrobiology as now defined at NASA. In this paper we survey these societal questions raised by astrobiology, and then focus on those related to extraterrestrial life, and in particular how they might differ from SETI concerns already discussed. As we enter the new millennium, the necessity for interdisciplinary studies is increasingly recognized in academia, industry and government. Astrobiology provides an unprecedented opportunity to encourage the unity of knowledge, as recently proposed in E. O. Wilson's book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. It is incumbent on scientists to support research on the implications of their work, in particular large government-funded scientific projects. The deep insights such study may yield has been amply demonstrated by the Human Genome Project, among others.

  6. An Astrobiology Microbes Exhibit and Education Module

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindstrom, Marilyn M.; Allen, Jaclyn S.; Stocco, Karen; Tobola, Kay; Olendzenski, Lorraine

    2001-01-01

    Telling the story of NASA-sponsored scientific research to the public in exhibits is best done by partnerships of scientists and museum professionals. Likewise, preparing classroom activities and training teachers to use them should be done by teams of teachers and scientists. Here we describe how we used such partnerships to develop a new astrobiology augmentation to the Microbes! traveling exhibit and a companion education module. "Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract."

  7. Encyclopedia of astrobiology

    CERN Document Server

    Irvine, William; Amils, Ricardo; Cleaves, Henderson; Pinti, Daniele; Quintanilla, José; Rouan, Daniel; Spohn, Tilman; Tirard, Stéphane; Viso, Michel

    2015-01-01

    The interdisciplinary field of Astrobiology constitutes a joint arena where provocative discoveries are coalescing concerning, e.g. the prevalence of exoplanets, the diversity and hardiness of life, and its increasingly likely chances for its emergence. Biologists, astrophysicists, biochemists, geoscientists and space scientists share this exciting mission of revealing the origin and commonality of life in the Universe. The members of the different disciplines are used to their own terminology and technical language. In the interdisciplinary environment many terms either have redundant meanings or are completely unfamiliar to members of other disciplines. The Encyclopedia of Astrobiology serves as the key to a common understanding. Each new or experienced researcher and graduate student in adjacent fields of astrobiology will appreciate this reference work in the quest to understand the big picture. The carefully selected group of active researchers contributing to this work and the expert field editors inten...

  8. Encyclopedia of astrobiology

    CERN Document Server

    Quintanilla, José Cernicharo; Cleaves, Henderson James (Jim); Irvine, William M; Pinti, Daniele L; Viso, Michel; Gargaud, Muriel

    2011-01-01

    The interdisciplinary field of Astrobiology constitutes a joint arena where provocative discoveries are coalescing concerning, e.g. the prevalence of exoplanets, the diversity and hardiness of life, and its increasingly likely chances for its emergence. Biologists, astrophysicists, biochemists, geoscientists and space scientists share this exciting mission of revealing the origin and commonality of life in the Universe. The members of the different disciplines are used to their own terminology and technical language. In the interdisciplinary environment many terms either have redundant meanings or are completely unfamiliar to members of other disciplines. The Encyclopedia of Astrobiology serves as the key to a common understanding. Each new or experienced researcher and graduate student in adjacent fields of astrobiology will appreciate this reference work in the quest to understand the big picture. The carefully selected group of active researchers contributing to this work and the expert field editors inten...

  9. Complete course in astrobiology

    CERN Document Server

    Horneck, Gerda

    2008-01-01

    This up-to-date resource is based on lectures developed by experts in the relevant fields and carefully edited by the leading astrobiologists within the European community. Aimed at graduate students in physics, astronomy and biology and their lecturers, the text begins with a general introduction to astrobiology, followed by sections on basic prebiotic chemistry, extremophiles, and habitability in our solar system and beyond. A discussion of astrodynamics leads to a look at experimental facilities and instrumentation for space experiments and, ultimately, astrobiology missions, backed in each

  10. Astrobiology in the Classroom

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brennan, Tim

    2004-01-01

    Astrobiology is a relatively new field of study in science, one that has found a home in the curriculum of many major universities. It is a multidisciplinary field that draws participants from a range of scientific specialties: geology, physics, chemistry, engineering, computer science, and of course biology and astronomy. At the middle level, it…

  11. AstRoMap European Astrobiology Roadmap.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horneck, Gerda; Walter, Nicolas; Westall, Frances; Grenfell, John Lee; Martin, William F; Gomez, Felipe; Leuko, Stefan; Lee, Natuschka; Onofri, Silvano; Tsiganis, Kleomenis; Saladino, Raffaele; Pilat-Lohinger, Elke; Palomba, Ernesto; Harrison, Jesse; Rull, Fernando; Muller, Christian; Strazzulla, Giovanni; Brucato, John R; Rettberg, Petra; Capria, Maria Teresa

    2016-03-01

    The European AstRoMap project (supported by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme) surveyed the state of the art of astrobiology in Europe and beyond and produced the first European roadmap for astrobiology research. In the context of this roadmap, astrobiology is understood as the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the context of cosmic evolution; this includes habitability in the Solar System and beyond. The AstRoMap Roadmap identifies five research topics, specifies several key scientific objectives for each topic, and suggests ways to achieve all the objectives. The five AstRoMap Research Topics are • Research Topic 1: Origin and Evolution of Planetary Systems • Research Topic 2: Origins of Organic Compounds in Space • Research Topic 3: Rock-Water-Carbon Interactions, Organic Synthesis on Earth, and Steps to Life • Research Topic 4: Life and Habitability • Research Topic 5: Biosignatures as Facilitating Life Detection It is strongly recommended that steps be taken towards the definition and implementation of a European Astrobiology Platform (or Institute) to streamline and optimize the scientific return by using a coordinated infrastructure and funding system.

  12. The astrobiology primer: an outline of general knowledge--version 1, 2006.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billings, L; Cameron, V; Claire, M; Dick, G J; Domagal-Goldman, S D; Javaux, E J; Johnson, O J; Laws, C; Race, M S; Rask, J; Rummel, J D; Schelble, R T; Vance, S

    2006-10-01

    The Astrobiology Primer has been created as a reference tool for those who are interested in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology. The field incorporates many diverse research endeavors, but it is our hope that this slim volume will present the reader with all he or she needs to know to become involved and to understand, at least at a fundamental level, the state of the art. Each section includes a brief overview of a topic and a short list of readable and important literature for those interested in deeper knowledge. Because of the great diversity of material, each section was written by a different author with a different expertise. Contributors, authors, and editors are listed at the beginning, along with a list of those chapters and sections for which they were responsible. We are deeply indebted to the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), in particular to Estelle Dodson, David Morrison, Ed Goolish, Krisstina Wilmoth, and Rose Grymes for their continued enthusiasm and support. The Primer came about in large part because of NAI support for graduate student research, collaboration, and inclusion as well as direct funding. We have entitled the Primer version 1 in hope that it will be only the first in a series, whose future volumes will be produced every 3-5 years. This way we can insure that the Primer keeps up with the current state of research. We hope that it will be a great resource for anyone trying to stay abreast of an ever-changing field.

  13. The NASA Electronic Parts and Packaging (NEPP) Program - Presentation to Korean Aerospace Research Institute

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaBel, Kenneth A.; Sampson, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    This presentation will provide basic information about NASA's Electronic Parts and Packaging Program (NEPP), for sharing with representatives of the South Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) as part of a larger presentation by Headquarters Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. The NEPP information includes mission and goals, history of the program, basic focus areas, strategies, deliverables and some examples of current tasks.

  14. Astrobiology - The New Synthesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sik, A.; Simon, T.

    Background In connection with the complex planetology-education in Hungary [1] we have compiled an Astrobiology coursebook - as a base of its teaching in universities and perhaps in secondary schools as well. We tried to collect and assemble in a logical and thematical order the scientific breakthroughs of the last years, that made possible the fast improvement of astrobiology. The followings are a kind of summary of these. Introduction - The ultimate science Astrobiology is a young science, that search for the possibility, forms and places of extraterrestrial life. But it is not SETI, because do not search for intelligent life, just for living organisms, so SETI is a part of astrobiology. and an extremely important statement: we can search for life-forms that similar to terrestrial life in physiology so we can recognize it as life. Astrobiology is one of the most dynamical-developing sciences of the 21st century. To determine its boundaries is difficult because the complex nature of it: astrobiology melt into itself lot of other sciences, like a kind of ultimate science. The fundamental questions are very simple [2]: When, where and how converted the organic matter into life?; How does life evolve in the Universe?; Has it appeared on other planets?; How does it spread in time and space?; and What is the future of terrestrial life? However, trying to find the answers is quite difficult. So an astrobiologist has to be aware of the basics of astronomy, space research, earth and planetary sciences, and life sciences (mainly ecology, genetics, molecular and evolution biology). But it is not enough - the newest results of these at least as important as the basic knowledge. Part I. - Astro 1. Exoplanets 1995 was a particular year in astronomy: we have found the first planet out of the Solar System. Since that time the discovery of exoplanets progress fast: nowdays more than 80 examples are known and just 6 years passed [3]. The detailed analysis of these distant objects

  15. Fostering Visions for the Future: A Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) was formed in 1998 to provide an independent source of advanced aeronautical and space concepts that could dramatically impact how NASA develops and conducts its missions. Until the program's termination in August 2007, NIAC provided an independent open forum, a high-level point of entry to NASA for an external community of innovators, and an external capability for analysis and definition of advanced aeronautics and space concepts to complement the advanced concept activities conducted within NASA. Throughout its 9-year existence, NIAC inspired an atmosphere for innovation that stretched the imagination and encouraged creativity. As requested by Congress, this volume reviews the effectiveness of NIAC and makes recommendations concerning the importance of such a program to NASA and to the nation as a whole, including the proper role of NASA and the federal government in fostering scientific innovation and creativity and in developing advanced concepts for future systems. Key findings and recommendations include that in order to achieve its mission, NASA must have, and is currently lacking, a mechanism to investigate visionary, far-reaching advanced concepts. Therefore, a NIAC-like entity should be reestablished to fill this gap.

  16. A class in astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Airieau, S. A.

    1999-09-01

    The goal of this class is to provide basic astrobiology knowledge to upper division science students. The scope is broad and in-depth coverage is not possible in this introductory course. Instead, science students from various branches of academia can acquire a broad basis and understanding of the other fields: astronomy, biology, geology, biochemistry, planetary and space sciences. The class is highly modular and allows instructors to concentrate on or eliminate topics according to their priorities and preferences.

  17. NASAs Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute- Expanded Goals and More Partners

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, G. K.; Daou, D.; Pendleton, Y.; Bailey, B. E.

    2015-01-01

    The NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) has been pursuing international partnerships since its inception as the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), in order to both leverage the science being done by its domestic member institutions as well as to help lunar science and exploration become a greater global endeavor. The international partners of the Institute have pursued a broad program of lunar science stimulated by scientific partnerships enabled by the SSERVI community. Furthermore, regional partnerships have been formed such as the new pan-European lunar science consortium, which promises both new scientific approaches and mission concepts. International partner membership requires long-term commitment from both the partner and SSERVI, together with tangible and specific plans for scientific interaction that will produce results of mutual benefit to both the institute's U.S. Teams and the international partner. International partners are invited to participate in all aspects of the Institute's activities and programs, on a basis of no exchange of funds. Through these activities, SSERVI researchers and international partners participate in sharing ideas, information, and data arising from their respective research efforts, and contribute to the training of young scientists. This talk will present an overview of the Institute and the international nodes. We will also discuss the various processes to become a SSERVI partner as well as the opportunities available for collaborations with the SSERVI national teams.

  18. Astrobiological Studies Plan at UCSD and the University of Buckingham

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, Carl H.; Wickramasinghe, N. Chandra

    2011-10-01

    A UC-HBCU grant is requested to assist undergraduate and masters level HBCU Interns to achieve their professional and academic goals by attending summer school classes at UCSD along with graduate students in the UCSD Astrobiology Studies program, and by also attending a NASA sponsored scientific meeting in San Diego on Astrobiology organized by NASA scientist Richard Hoover (the 14th in a sequence). Hoover has recently published a paper in the Journal of Cosmology claiming extraterrestrial life fossils in three meteorites. Students will attend a workshop to prepare research publications on Astrobiological Science for the Journal of Cosmology or equivalent refereed journal, mentored by UCSD faculty and graduate students as co-authors and referees, all committed to the several months of communication usually required to complete a publishable paper. The program is intended to provide pathways to graduate admissions in the broad range of science and engineering fields, and by exposure to fundamental science and engineering disciplines needed by Astrobiologists. A three year UC-HBCU Astrobiological Studies program is proposed: 2011, 2012 and 2013. Interns would be eligible to enter this program when they become advanced graduate students. A center of excellence in astrobiology is planned for UCSD similar to that Directed by Professor Wickramasinghe for many years with Fred Hoyle at Cardiff University, http://www.astrobiology.cf.ac.uk /chandra1.html. Professor Wickramasinghe's CV is attached as Appendix 1. Figures A2-1,2 of Appendix 2 compare Astrobiology timelines of modern fluid mechanical and astrobiological models of Gibson/Wickramasinghe/Schild of the Journal of Cosmology with standard NASA- CDMHC models. NASA support will be sought to support research and educational aspects of both initiatives. Overload teaching of up to two courses a year by UCSD faculty of key astrobiology courses at either UCSD or at HBCU campuses is authorized by recent guidelines of UCSD

  19. Astrobiology: Future Perspectives

    CERN Document Server

    Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Owen, Toby; Becker, Luann; Blank, Jen; Brucato, John; Colangeli, Luigi; Derenne, Sylvie; Dutrey, Anne; Despois, Didier; Lazcano, Antonio; Robert, Francois

    2005-01-01

    Astrobiology, a new exciting interdisciplinary research field, seeks to unravel the origin and evolution of life wherever it might exist in the Universe. The current view of the origin of life on Earth is that it is strongly connected to the origin and evolution of our planet and, indeed, of the Universe as a whole. We are fortunate to be living in an era where centuries of speculation about the two ancient and fundamental problems: the origin of life and its prevalence in the Universe are being replaced by experimental science. The subject of Astrobiology can be approached from many different perspectives. This book is focused on abiogenic organic matter from the viewpoint of astronomy and planetary science and considers its potential relevance to the origins of life on Earth and elsewhere. Guided by the review papers in this book, the concluding chapter aims to identify key questions to motivate future research and stimulate astrobiological applications of current and future research facilities and space mi...

  20. NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute: Merging Science and Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pendleton, Y. J.; Schmidt, G. K.; Bailey, B. E.; Minafra, J. A.

    2016-01-01

    NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) represents a close collaboration between science, technology and exploration, and was created to enable a deeper understanding of the Moon and other airless bodies. SSERVI is supported jointly by NASA's Science Mission Directorate and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. The institute currently focuses on the scientific aspects of exploration as they pertain to the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and the moons of Mars, but the institute goals may expand, depending on NASA's needs, in the future. The 9 initial teams, selected in late 2013 and funded from 2014-2019, have expertise across the broad spectrum of lunar, NEA, and Martian moon sciences. Their research includes various aspects of the surface, interior, exosphere, near-space environments, and dynamics of these bodies. NASA anticipates a small number of additional teams to be selected within the next two years, with a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) likely to be released in 2016. Calls for proposals are issued every 2-3 years to allow overlap between generations of institute teams, but the intent for each team is to provide a stable base of funding for a five year period. SSERVI's mission includes acting as a bridge between several groups, joining together researchers from: 1) scientific and exploration communities, 2) multiple disciplines across a wide range of planetary sciences, and 3) domestic and international communities and partnerships. The SSERVI central office is located at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. The administrative staff at the central office forms the organizational hub for the domestic and international teams and enables the virtual collaborative environment. Interactions with geographically dispersed teams across the U.S., and global partners, occur easily and frequently in a collaborative virtual environment. This poster will provide an overview of the 9 current US teams and

  1. NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute: Merging Science and Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pendleton, Yvonne J.

    2016-10-01

    Established in 2013, through joint funding from the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) is focused on science at the intersection of these two enterprises. Addressing questions of value to the human exploration program that also represent important research relevant to planetary science, SSERVI creates a bridge between HEOMD and SMD. The virtual institute model reduces travel costs, but its primary virtue is the ability to join together colleagues who bring the right expertise, techniques and tools, regardless of their physical location, to address multi-faceted problems, at a deeper level than could be achieved through the typical period of smaller research grants. In addition, collaboration across team lines and international borders fosters the creation of new knowledge, especially at the intersections of disciplines that might not otherwise overlap.SSERVI teams investigate the Moon, Near-Earth Asteroids, and the moons of Mars, addressing questions fundamental to these target bodies and their near space environments. The institute is currently composed of nine U.S. teams of 30-50 members each, distributed geographically across the United States, ten international partners, and a Central Office located at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, CA. U.S. teams are competitively selected through peer-reviewed proposals submitted to NASA every 2-3 years, in response to a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN). The current teams were selected under CAN-1, with funding for five years (2014-2019). A smaller, overlapping set of teams are expected to be added in 2017 in response to CAN-2, thereby providing continuity and a firm foundation for any directional changes NASA requires as the CAN-1 teams end their term. This poster describes the research areas and composition of the institute to introduce SSERVI to the broader planetary

  2. "NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute" - Expanded Goals and More Partners

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daou, D.; Schmidt, G.; Pendleton, Y.; Bailey, B.; Morrison, D.

    2015-10-01

    The NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) has been pursuing international partnerships since its inceptionas the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), in order to both leverage the science being done by its domestic member institutions as well as to help lunar science and exploration become a greater global endeavor. The international partners of the I nstitute have pursued a broad program of lunar science stimulated by scientific partnerships enabled by the SSERVI community. Furthermore, regional partnerships have been formed such as the new pan- European lunar science consortium, which promises both new scientific approaches and mission concepts.International partner membership requires longterm commitment from both the partner and SSERVI, together with tangible and specific plans for scientific interaction that will produce results of mutual benefit to both the institute's U.S. Teams and the international partner.International partners are invited to participate in all aspects of the Institute's activities and programs, on a basis of no exchange of funds. Through these activities, SSERVI researchers and international partners participate in sharing ideas, information, and data arising from their respective research efforts, and contribute to the training of young scientists.This talk will present an overview of the Institute and the international nodes. We will also discuss the various processes to become a SSERVI partner as well as the opportunities available for collaborations with the SSERVI national teams.

  3. Astrobiology: A pathway to adult science literacy?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oliver, C. A.; Fergusson, J.

    2007-10-01

    Adult science illiteracy is widespread. This is concerning for astrobiology, or indeed any other area of science in the communication of science to public audiences. Where and how does this scientific illiteracy arise in the journey to adulthood? Two astrobiology education projects have hinted that science illiteracy may begin in high school. This relationship between high school science education and the public understanding of science is poorly understood. Do adults forget their science education, or did they never grasp it in the first place? A 2003 science education project raised these questions when 24 16-year-olds from 10 Sydney high schools were brought into contact with real science. The unexpected results suggested that even good high school science students have a poor understanding of how science is really undertaken in the field and in the laboratory. This concept is being further tested in a new high school science education project, aimed at the same age group, using authentic astrobiology cutting-edge data, NASA Learning Technologies tools, a purpose-built research Information and Communication Technology-aided learning facility and a collaboration that spans three continents. In addition, a first year university class will be tested for evidence of science illiteracy immediately after high school among non-science oriented but well-educated students.

  4. Research in Computational Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chaban, Galina; Colombano, Silvano; Scargle, Jeff; New, Michael H.; Pohorille, Andrew; Wilson, Michael A.

    2003-01-01

    We report on several projects in the field of computational astrobiology, which is devoted to advancing our understanding of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Universe using theoretical and computational tools. Research projects included modifying existing computer simulation codes to use efficient, multiple time step algorithms, statistical methods for analysis of astrophysical data via optimal partitioning methods, electronic structure calculations on water-nuclei acid complexes, incorporation of structural information into genomic sequence analysis methods and calculations of shock-induced formation of polycylic aromatic hydrocarbon compounds.

  5. Astrobiology: An Astronomer's Perspective

    OpenAIRE

    Bergin, Edwin A.

    2013-01-01

    In this review we explore aspects of the field of astrobiology from an astronomical viewpoint. We therefore focus on the origin of life in the context of planetary formation, with additional emphasis on tracing the most abundant volatile elements, C, H, O, and N that are used by life on Earth. We first explore the history of life on our planet and outline the current state of our knowledge regarding the delivery of the C, H, O, N elements to the Earth. We then discuss how astronomers track th...

  6. The NASA Ames Research Center Institutional Scientific Collection: History, Best Practices and Scientific Opportunities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rask, Jon C.; Chakravarty, Kaushik; French, Alison; Choi, Sungshin; Stewart, Helen

    2017-01-01

    The NASA Ames Life Sciences Institutional Scientific Collection (ISC), which is composed of the Ames Life Sciences Data Archive (ALSDA) and the Biospecimen Storage Facility (BSF), is managed by the Space Biosciences Division and has been operational since 1993. The ALSDA is responsible for archiving information and animal biospecimens collected from life science spaceflight experiments and matching ground control experiments. Both fixed and frozen spaceflight and ground tissues are stored in the BSF within the ISC. The ALSDA also manages a Biospecimen Sharing Program, performs curation and long-term storage operations, and makes biospecimens available to the scientific community for research purposes via the Life Science Data Archive public website (https:lsda.jsc.nasa.gov). As part of our best practices, a viability testing plan has been developed for the ISC, which will assess the quality of archived samples. We expect that results from the viability testing will catalyze sample use, enable broader science community interest, and improve operational efficiency of the ISC. The current viability test plan focuses on generating disposition recommendations and is based on using ribonucleic acid (RNA) integrity number (RIN) scores as a criteria for measurement of biospecimen viablity for downstream functional analysis. The plan includes (1) sorting and identification of candidate samples, (2) conducting a statiscally-based power analysis to generate representaive cohorts from the population of stored biospecimens, (3) completion of RIN analysis on select samples, and (4) development of disposition recommendations based on the RIN scores. Results of this work will also support NASA open science initiatives and guides development of the NASA Scientific Collections Directive (a policy on best practices for curation of biological collections). Our RIN-based methodology for characterizing the quality of tissues stored in the ISC since the 1980s also creates unique

  7. Astrobiology Research in India - A Brief Overview

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peda Nageswara Rao, Pinnamaneni

    2012-07-01

    strobiology is study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life on Earth and in the Universe. The discovery of amino acids in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites and complex organic molecules in interstellar clouds, comets and interplanetary dust forced biological interest into space research. The existence of different life forms in extreme environments of Earth, their ability to adapt and survive for long periods in stasis and then recover has given hope that life might exist on other planets. A lot more insight into the origin of life is gained by studying the analogous life on Earth to predict how extraterrestrial life might live. In this paper, a brief account is given on the exogenous and endogenous origin of life on Earth, biochemical basis of life, the need and approach for research in astrobiology, scientific strength of Indian institutions to launch space missions in search of life. A review of the results of the two balloon experiments carried out by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in collaboration with many research institutes in the country as well as the studies carried out elsewhere is also given. An attempt made to address the limitations of the previous experiments, improvements needed, implications of engineering design changes to meet the gaps and institutional resources needed to carry out further studies in astrobiology in the Indian context. A few priority investigations that can be carried out in collaboration with premier national laboratories in India have been identified. A brief account of the international missions that are aimed at finding out habitable Earth-like planets is given. The educational opportunities and interdisciplinary unifying nature of astrobiology research are discussed. The paper concludes with an approach that can be adopted for coordinating the research in this new space science in a programmatic mode.

  8. The astrobiology of Titan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raulin, F.; Coll, P.; Cabane, M.; Hebrard, E.; Israel, G.; Nguyen, M.-J.; Szopa, C.; Gpcos Team

    Largest satellite of Saturn and the only satellite in the solar system having a dense atmosphere, Titan is one of the key planetary bodies for astrobiological studies, due to several aspects: Its analogies with planet Earth, in spite of much lower temperatures, The Cassini-Huygens data have largely confirmed the many analogies between Titan and our own planet. Both have similar vertical temperature profiles, (although much colder, of course, on Titan). Both have condensable and non condensable greenhouse gases in their atmosphere. Both are geologically very active. Furthermore, the data also suggest strongly the presence of a methane cycle on Titan analogous to the water cycle on Earth. The presence of an active organic chemistry, involving several of the key compounds of prebiotic chemistry. The recent data obtained from the Huygens instruments show that the organic matter in Titan low atmosphere (stratosphere and troposphere) is mainly concentrated in the aerosol particles. Because of the vertical temperature profile in this part of the atmosphere, most of the volatile organics are probably mainly condensed on the aerosol particles. The nucleus of these particles seems to be made of complex macromolecular organic matter, well mimicked in the laboratory by the "Titan's tholins". Now, laboratory tholins are known to release many organic compounds of biological interest, such as amino acids and purine and pyrimidine bases, when they are in contact with liquid water. Such hydrolysis may have occurred on the surface of Titan, in the bodies of liquid water which episodically may form on Titan's surface from meteoritic and cometary impacts. The formation of biologically interesting compounds may also occur in the deep water ocean, from the hydrolysis of complex organic material included in the chrondritic matter accreted during the formation of Titan. The possible emergence and persistence of Life on Titan 1 All ingredients which seems necessary for Life are present on

  9. Astrobiology of Comets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoover, Richard B.; Wickramasinghe, Nalin C.; Wallis, Max K.; Sheldon, Robert B.

    2004-01-01

    We review the current state of knowledge concerning microbial extremophiles and comets and the potential significance of comets to Astrobiology. We model the thermal history of a cometary body, regarded as an assemblage of boulders, dust, ices and organics, as it approaches a perihelion distance of - IAU. The transfer of incident energy from sunlight into the interior leads to the melting of near surface ices, some under stable porous crust, providing possible habitats for a wide range of microorganisms. We provide data concerning new evidence for indigenous microfossils in CI meteorites, which may be the remains of extinct cometary cores. We discuss the dominant microbial communities of polar sea-ice, Antarctic ice sheet, and cryoconite environments as possible analogs for microbial ecosystems that may grow in sub-crustal pools or in ice/water films in comets.

  10. Multispectral Microimager for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sellar, R. Glenn; Farmer, Jack D.; Kieta, Andrew; Huang, Julie

    2006-01-01

    A primary goal of the astrobiology program is the search for fossil records. The astrobiology exploration strategy calls for the location and return of samples indicative of environments conducive to life, and that best capture and preserve biomarkers. Successfully returning samples from environments conducive to life requires two primary capabilities: (1) in situ mapping of the mineralogy in order to determine whether the desired minerals are present; and (2) nondestructive screening of samples for additional in-situ testing and/or selection for return to laboratories for more in-depth examination. Two of the most powerful identification techniques are micro-imaging and visible/infrared spectroscopy. The design and test results are presented from a compact rugged instrument that combines micro-imaging and spectroscopic capability to provide in-situ analysis, mapping, and sample screening capabilities. Accurate reflectance spectra should be a measure of reflectance as a function of wavelength only. Other compact multispectral microimagers use separate LEDs (light-emitting diodes) for each wavelength and therefore vary the angles of illumination when changing wavelengths. When observing a specularly-reflecting sample, this produces grossly inaccurate spectra due to the variation in the angle of illumination. An advanced design and test results are presented for a multispectral microimager which demonstrates two key advances relative to previous LED-based microimagers: (i) acquisition of actual reflectance spectra in which the flux is a function of wavelength only, rather than a function of both wavelength and illumination geometry; and (ii) increase in the number of spectral bands to eight bands covering a spectral range of 468 to 975 nm.

  11. Astrobiology, Sustainability and Ethical Perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnould, Jacques

    2009-12-01

    Astrobiology, a new field of research associating the prospects and constraints of prebiotic chemistry, mineralogy, geochemistry, astrophysics, theoretical physics, microbial ecology, etc., is assessed in terms of sustainability through the scientific and social functions it fulfils, and the limits it encounters or strives to overcome. In the same way as sustainable development, astrobiology must also take into account the temporal dimension specific to its field of investigation and examine its underlying conception of Nature.

  12. Astrobiology, Sustainability and Ethical Perspectives

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jacques Arnould

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available Astrobiology, a new field of research associating the prospects and constraints of prebiotic chemistry, mineralogy, geochemistry, astrophysics, theoretical physics, microbial ecology, etc., is assessed in terms of sustainability through the scientific and social functions it fulfils, and the limits it encounters or strives to overcome. In the same way as sustainable development, astrobiology must also take into account the temporal dimension specific to its field of investigation and examine its underlying conception of Nature.

  13. Astrobiology, Sustainability and Ethical Perspectives

    OpenAIRE

    Jacques Arnould

    2009-01-01

    Astrobiology, a new field of research associating the prospects and constraints of prebiotic chemistry, mineralogy, geochemistry, astrophysics, theoretical physics, microbial ecology, etc. , is assessed in terms of sustainability through the scientific and social functions it fulfils, and the limits it encounters or strives to overcome. In the same way as sustainable development, astrobiology must also take into account the temporal dimension specific to its field of investigation and examine...

  14. Astrobiology: A Roadmap for Charting Life in the Universe

    Science.gov (United States)

    DesMarais, David J.; DeVincezi, D. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. It provides a biological perspective to many areas of NASA research. It links such endeavors as the search for habitable planets, exploration missions to Mars and the outer Solar System, efforts to understand the origins and early evolution of life, and charting the potential of life to adapt to future challenges, both on Earth and in space. Astrobiology addresses the following three basic questions, which have been asked in some form for generations. How does life begin and evolve? Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? What is future of life on Earth and beyond? The NASA Astrobiology Roadmap provides guidance for research and technology development across several NASA Enterprises: Space Science, Earth Science, and the Human Exploration and Development of Space. The Roadmap is formulated in terms of eight Science Goals that outline key domains of investigation that might require perhaps decades of effort to consolidate. For each of these goals, Science Objectives outline more specific high priority near-term efforts for the next three to five years. These twenty objectives will be integrated with NASA strategic planning.

  15. Astrobiology: An Astronomer's Perspective

    CERN Document Server

    Bergin, Edwin A

    2013-01-01

    In this review we explore aspects of the field of astrobiology from an astronomical viewpoint. We therefore focus on the origin of life in the context of planetary formation, with additional emphasis on tracing the most abundant volatile elements, C, H, O, and N that are used by life on Earth. We first explore the history of life on our planet and outline the current state of our knowledge regarding the delivery of the C, H, O, N elements to the Earth. We then discuss how astronomers track the gaseous and solid molecular carriers of these volatiles throughout the process of star and planet formation. It is now clear that the early stages of star formation fosters the creation of water and simple organic molecules with enrichments of heavy isotopes. These molecules are found as ice coatings on the solid materials that represent microscopic beginnings of terrestrial worlds. Based on the meteoritic and cometary record, the process of planet formation, and the local environment, lead to additional increases in or...

  16. Frontiers of Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Impey, Chris; Lunine, Jonathan; Funes, José

    2012-11-01

    Part I. Introduction: Introduction and welcome Cardinal Ljolo; 1. Astrobiology - a new synthesis J. Baross and C. Impey; Part II. Origins of Planets and Life: 2. Towards a theory of life S. Benner and P. Davies; 3. Terran metabolism: the first billion years S. Copley and R. Summons; 4. Planet formation S. Raymond and W. Benz; Part III. History of Life on Earth: 5. The early Earth F. Westall and F. Selsis; 6. Evolution of a habitable planet J. Kasting and J. Kirschvink; 7. Our evolving planet: from dark ages to evolutionary renaissance A. Knoll and E. Gaidos; Part IV. Habitability of the Solar System: 8. Early Mars - cradle or cauldron? A. Azua-Bustos, R. Pierrehumbert and R. Vicuña; 9. Large habitable moons: Titan and Europa A. Coustenis and M. Blanc; 10. Small habitable worlds J. Castillo-Rogez and J. Lunine; Part V. Exoplanets and Life in the Galaxy: 11. Searches for habitable exoplanets S. Seager; 12. Review of known exoplanets C. Lovis and D. Minniti; 13. Characterizing exoplanet atmospheres G. Tinetti; 14. If you want to talk to ET, you must first find ET J. Tarter and C. Impey; Index.

  17. From Astrochemistry to Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allamandola, L. J.

    2005-01-01

    Tremendous strides have been made in our understanding of interstellar material over the past twenty five years thanks to significant developments in observational astronomy and laboratory astrophysics. Twenty years ago the composition of interstellar dust was largely guessed at, the concept of ices in dense molecular clouds ignored, and the notion of large, abundant, gas phase, carbon-rich molecules widespread throughout the interstellar medium (ISM) considered impossible. Today the composition of interstellar dust is reasonably well understood. In molecular clouds, the birthplace of stars and planets, these cold dust particles are coated with mixed molecular ices whose composition is very well constrained. Lastly, the signature of carbon-rich polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), shockingly large molecules by early interstellar chemistry standards, is widespread throughout the Universe. The first part of this talk will describe how infrared spectroscopic studies of interstellar space, combined with laboratory simulations of interstellar ice chemistry, have revealed the widespread presence of interstellar PAHs and the composition of interstellar ices, the building blocks of comets. The remainder of the presentation will focus on the photochemical evolution of these materials and astrobiology. Within a molecular cloud, and especially the presolar nebula, materials frozen into the ices are photoprocessed by ultraviolet light and produce more complex molecules. As these materials are the building blocks of comets and related to carbonaceous micrometeorites, they are likely to have been important sources of complex materials delivered to the early Earth and their composition may be related to the origin of life.

  18. Life Out There: An Astrobiological Multimedia Experience for the Digital Planetarium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, K. C.; Grinspoon, D.

    2013-04-01

    Planetariums have a long history of experimentation with audio and visuals to create new multimedia experiences. We report on a series of innovative experiences in the Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in 2009-2011 combining live performances of music and navigation through scientific visualizations. The Life Out There productions featured a story showcasing astrobiology concepts at scales ranging from galactic to molecular, and told using VJ-ing of immersive visualizations and musical performances from the House Band to the Universe. Funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute's JPL-Titan Team, these hour-long shows were broken into four separate themed musical movements, with an improvisatory mix of music, dome visuals, and spoken science narrative which resulted in no two performances being exactly alike. Post-performance dissemination is continuing via a recorded version of the performance available as a DVD and online streaming video. Written evaluations from visitors who were present at the live shows reveal high satisfaction, while one of the Life Out There concerts was used to inaugurate a new evening program to draw in a younger audience demographic to DMNS.

  19. The AstroBiology Explorer (ABE) Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandford, S. A.

    2003-01-01

    Introduction: Infrared spectroscopy in the 2.5- 16 micron range is a principle means by which organic compounds can be detected and identified in space via their vibrational transitions. Ground-based, airborne, and spaceborne IR spectral studies have already demonstrated that a significant fraction of the carbon in the interstellar medium (ISM) resides in the form of complex organic molecular species. Furthermore, the presence of D-enriched organics in meteorites suggests that a portion of these materials survives incorporation into protosolar nebulae. Unfortunately, neither the distribution of these materials in space nor their genetic and evolutionary relationships with each other or their environments are currently well understood. The Astrobiology Explorer (ABE) is a MIDEX mission concept designed to use infrared spectroscopy to address outstanding problems in Astrochemistry which are particularly relevant to Astrobiology and are amenable to astronomical observation. ABE is currently under study at NASA's Ames Research Center in collaboration with Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. ABE was selected for Phase A study during the last MIDEX AO round, but has yet to be selected for flight.

  20. NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute: Science and Technology for Lunar Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Greg; Bailey, Brad; Gibbs, Kristina

    2015-01-01

    The NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) is a virtual institute focused on research at the intersection of science and exploration, training the next generation of lunar scientists, and development and support of the international community. As part of its mission, SSERVI acts as a hub for opportunities that engage the larger scientific and exploration communities in order to form new interdisciplinary, research-focused collaborations. The nine domestic SSERVI teams that comprise the U.S. complement of the Institute engage with the international science and exploration communities through workshops, conferences, online seminars and classes, student exchange programs and internships. SSERVI represents a close collaboration between science, technology and exploration enabling a deeper, integrated understanding of the Moon and other airless bodies as human exploration moves beyond low Earth orbit. SSERVI centers on the scientific aspects of exploration as they pertain to the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and the moons of Mars, with additional aspects of related technology development, including a major focus on human exploration-enabling efforts such as resolving Strategic Knowledge Gaps (SKGs). The Institute focuses on interdisciplinary, exploration-related science focused on airless bodies targeted as potential human destinations. Areas of study represent the broad spectrum of lunar, NEA, and Martian moon sciences encompassing investigations of the surface, interior, exosphere, and near-space environments as well as science uniquely enabled from these bodies. This research profile integrates investigations of plasma physics, geology/geochemistry, technology integration, solar system origins/evolution, regolith geotechnical properties, analogues, volatiles, ISRU and exploration potential of the target bodies. New opportunities for both domestic and international partnerships are continually generated through these research and

  1. Astrobiology and Venus exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grinspoon, David H.; Bullock, Mark A.

    For hundreds of years prior to the space age, Venus was considered among the most likely homes for extraterrestrial life. Since planetary exploration began, Venus has not been considered a promising target for Astrobiological exploration. However, Venus should be central to such an exploration program for several reasons. At present Venus is the only other Earth-sized terrestrial planet that we know of, and certainly the only one we will have the opportunity to explore in the foreseeable future. Understanding the divergence of Earth and Venus is central to understanding the limits of habitability in the inner regions of habitable zones around solar-type stars. Thus Venus presents us with a unique opportunity for putting the bulk properties, evolution and ongoing geochemical processes of Earth in a wider context. Many geological and meteorological processes otherwise active only on Earth at present are currently active on Venus. Active volcanism most likely affects the climate and chemical equilibrium state of the atmosphere and surface, and maintains the global cloud cover. Further, if we think beyond the specifics of a particular chemical system required to build complexity and heredity, we can ask what general properties a planet must possess in order to be considered a possible candidate for life. The answers might include an atmosphere with signs of flagrant chemical disequilibrium and active, internally driven cycling of volatile elements between the surface, atmosphere and interior. At present, the two planets we know of which possess these characteristics are Earth and Venus. Venus almost surely once had warm, habitable oceans. The evaporation of these oceans, and subsequent escape of hydrogen, most likely resulted in an oxygenated atmosphere. The duration of this phase is poorly understood, but during this time the terrestrial planets were not isolated. Rather, due to frequent impact transport, they represented a continuous environment for early microbial

  2. The Astrobiology Habitable Environments Database (AHED)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lafuente, B.; Stone, N.; Downs, R. T.; Blake, D. F.; Bristow, T.; Fonda, M.; Pires, A.

    2015-12-01

    The Astrobiology Habitable Environments Database (AHED) is a central, high quality, long-term searchable repository for archiving and collaborative sharing of astrobiologically relevant data, including, morphological, textural and contextural images, chemical, biochemical, isotopic, sequencing, and mineralogical information. The aim of AHED is to foster long-term innovative research by supporting integration and analysis of diverse datasets in order to: 1) help understand and interpret planetary geology; 2) identify and characterize habitable environments and pre-biotic/biotic processes; 3) interpret returned data from present and past missions; 4) provide a citable database of NASA-funded published and unpublished data (after an agreed-upon embargo period). AHED uses the online open-source software "The Open Data Repository's Data Publisher" (ODR - http://www.opendatarepository.org) [1], which provides a user-friendly interface that research teams or individual scientists can use to design, populate and manage their own database according to the characteristics of their data and the need to share data with collaborators or the broader scientific community. This platform can be also used as a laboratory notebook. The database will have the capability to import and export in a variety of standard formats. Advanced graphics will be implemented including 3D graphing, multi-axis graphs, error bars, and similar scientific data functions together with advanced online tools for data analysis (e. g. the statistical package, R). A permissions system will be put in place so that as data are being actively collected and interpreted, they will remain proprietary. A citation system will allow research data to be used and appropriately referenced by other researchers after the data are made public. This project is supported by the Science-Enabling Research Activity (SERA) and NASA NNX11AP82A, Mars Science Laboratory Investigations. [1] Nate et al. (2015) AGU, submitted.

  3. Classifying Life: The Astrobiological Challenge

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tobin, E.

    2013-09-01

    This paper will discuss efforts to define life. I will address how astrobiological research might allows us to conceptualise extreme conditions for life and thus allow us to give a much more nuanced definition of life. I also look at why this has ethical implications for society and humankin.

  4. Astrobiology: Life in Extreme Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaur, Preeti

    2011-01-01

    Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. It seeks to answer two important scientific questions: how did we get here and are we alone in the universe? Scientists begin by studying life on Earth and its limits. The discovery of extremophiles on Earth capable of surviving extremes encourages the…

  5. Astrobiology: Life in Extreme Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaur, Preeti

    2011-01-01

    Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. It seeks to answer two important scientific questions: how did we get here and are we alone in the universe? Scientists begin by studying life on Earth and its limits. The discovery of extremophiles on Earth capable of surviving extremes encourages the…

  6. Astrobiology and the Human Exploration of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Levine, Joel S.; Garvin, James B.; Drake, B. G.; Beaty, David

    2010-01-01

    In March 2007, the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) chartered the Human Exploration of Mars Science Analysis Group (HEM-SAG), co-chaired by J. B. Garvin and J. S. Levine and consisting of about 30 Mars scientists from the U.S. and Europe. HEM-SAG was one of a half dozen teams charted by NASA to consider the human exploration of Mars. Other teams included: Mars Entry, Descent and Landing, Human Health and Performance, Flight and Surface Systems, and Heliospheric/Astrophysics. The results of these Mars teams and the development of an architecture for the human exploration of Mars were summarized in two recent publications: Human Exploration of Mars Design Reference Architecture 5.0, NASA Special Publication-2009-566 (B. G. Drake, Editor), 100 pages, July 2009 and Human Exploration of Mars Design Reference Architecture 5.0, NASA Special Publication-2009-566 Addendum (B. G. Drake, Editor), 406 pages, July 2009. This presentation summarizes the HEM-SAG conclusions on astrobiology and the search for life on Mars by humans.

  7. The NASA Solar System Exploration Virtual Institute: International Efforts in Advancing Lunar Science with Prospects for the Future

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Gregory K.

    2014-01-01

    The NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), originally chartered in 2008 as the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), is chartered to advance both the scientific goals needed to enable human space exploration, as well as the science enabled by such exploration. NLSI and SSERVI have in succession been "institutes without walls," fostering collaboration between domestic teams (7 teams for NLSI, 9 for SSERVI) as well as between these teams and the institutes' international partners, resulting in a greater global endeavor. SSERVI teams and international partners participate in sharing ideas, information, and data arising from their respective research efforts, and contribute to the training of young scientists and bringing the scientific results and excitement of exploration to the public. The domestic teams also respond to NASA's strategic needs, providing community-based responses to NASA needs in partnership with NASA's Analysis Groups. Through the many partnerships enabled by NLSI and SSERVI, scientific results have well exceeded initial projections based on the original PI proposals, proving the validity of the virtual institute model. NLSI and SSERVI have endeavored to represent not just the selected and funded domestic teams, but rather the entire relevant scientific community; this has been done through many means such as the annual Lunar Science Forum (now re-named Exploration Science Forum), community-based grass roots Focus Groups on a wide range of topics, and groups chartered to further the careers of young scientists. Additionally, NLSI and SSERVI have co-founded international efforts such as the pan-European lunar science consortium, with an overall goal of raising the tide of lunar science (and now more broadly exploration science) across the world.

  8. Astrobiological Molecularly Imprinted Polymer Sensors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Izenberg, N. R.; Murray, G. M.; van Houten, K. A.; Hofstra, A. A.

    2005-12-01

    Development of Molecularly Imprinted Polymer (MIP) sensors for astrobiology is intended to provide a new class of microlaboratory sensors compatible with other life or biomarker detection. Molecular imprinting is a process for making selective binding sites in synthetic polymers. The process may be approached by designing the recognition site or by simply choosing monomers that may have favorable interactions with the imprinting molecule. We are working to apply this methodology to astrobiology for development of a reliable, low cost, low mass, low power consumption sensor technology for quantitative in-situ analysis of biochemistry, biomarkers, and other indicators of astrobiological importance. Specific goals of the project are: 1) To develop a general methodology and specific methods for MIP-based sensor construction. The overall methodology will guide procedures for design and testing of any desired sensor. Specific methods will be applied to key families and specific species of astrobiological interest, i.e., alkanes (and Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - PAHs), amino acids, steroids, and hopanes; 2) To construct and characterize the general family and specific species sensors. We will test for accuracy, precision, interferences, and limitations of the sensor against blanks, standards, and known terrestrial biological environment samples. Additional testing will determine sturdiness and longevity of sensors after exposure to transit conditions (launch and space environment), and at potential target environments (pressure, temperature, pH, etc.); and 3) To construct and demonstrate the combination of multiple sensors into a viable prototype instrument, and roadmap the expansion of potential instrument capabilities and exploration of the ultimate environmental limitations of the technology, and the necessary changes and additions to create a mission-ready instrument. Initial work has resulted successful detection of aqueous alanine (D and L) with simple MIP

  9. Raman spectroscopy in astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jorge Villar, Susana E; Edwards, Howell G M

    2006-01-01

    Raman spectroscopy is proposed as a valuable analytical technique for planetary exploration because it is sensitive to organic and inorganic compounds and able to unambiguously identify key spectral markers in a mixture of biological and geological components; furthermore, sample manipulation is not required and any size of sample can be studied without chemical or mechanical pretreatment. NASA and ESA are considering the adoption of miniaturised Raman spectrometers for inclusion in suites of analytical instrumentation to be placed on robotic landers on Mars in the near future to search for extinct or extant life signals. In this paper we review the advantages and limitations of Raman spectroscopy for the analysis of complex specimens with relevance to the detection of bio- and geomarkers in extremophilic organisms which are considered to be terrestrial analogues of possible extraterrestial life that could have developed on planetary surfaces.

  10. 14 CFR 1232.104 - Implementation procedures by non-NASA institutions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    ... proposal for research involving the use of animal subjects will be considered for NASA support, the NASA... Human Research Policy and Procedures Committee (HRPPC) at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). Animal... with the NIH OPRR will first be peer-reviewed for scientific merit. If the proposed research is...

  11. Earth to Sky: An Innovative Partnership between NASA and the National Park Service

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paglierani, R.; Adams, D.

    NASA s Earth to Sky Institutes have created an exciting new partnership between NASA s Space and Earth Science disciplines and the National Park Service NPS As individual institutions both NASA and NPS strive to protect and share with the public the beauty and significance of the natural world Together they support each others visions and work to enrich the experiences of millions of park visitors throughout America The Earth to Sky Institutes are focused on professional development opportunities for Park Service personnel as well as the development of products for use at Park sites Working in collaboration NASA scientists Education and Public Outreach specialists and NPS trainers have infused NASA content resources and programs in the Institutes Five scientific themes---the Night Sky Comparative Planetology Astrobiology the Sun-Earth Connection Space Weather and Earth Systems Science--- provide exciting NASA content that rangers have developed into a variety of interpretive products and programs The Institutes continue to be highly successful and serve as an example of an effective methodology for teaching NASA s Earth and Space science to informal educators We will highlight strategies we developed for bridging the diverse organizational cultures of NASA and NPS as well as some of the challenges we encountered in our growing partnership During our presentation we will focus on best practices from the Institutes and share examples of the innovative informal education products created by some of our Nation s best

  12. Thinking strategically about communications for the space sciences: the case of astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billings, L.

    2007-12-01

    Ongoing concerns about public understanding of science and scientific literacy, coupled with the growing prominence of science in everyday life, demand that science experts know how to explain the work they do and the value it offers. Public funding of scientific research also argues for communications with the public about it. For research funded by NASA, a statutory requirement is in place to "provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof." (1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act.) Public interest in space science is substantial, and advances in the field are rapid. Communicating about science is thus an especially important task for researchers working in the space sciences, as well as an obligation for those receiving public funding. This presentation will describe a communication strategy developed for NASA's Astrobiology Program, intended to aid communication among scientists within an expanding and broadly multidisciplinary field as well as communication about science with a range of external audiences. Conceived strategically, communication is an integral element of the overall work of a program or organization. Communication is conceived strategically in the Astrobiology Program. Astrobiology communication strategy offers a way of thinking about communication - an approach to communication, as it were - and provides guidance on methods, messages, tools, and audiences to be considered in implementation. It can help members of the astrobiology community to communicate about their work with experts - in their own fields and in others - and non-experts - employers, funders, policy makers, teachers, students, parents, citizens. It is designed to promote quality, consistency, and continuity in communication endeavors across the astrobiology program and to integrate these endeavors in program planning and activities. Implementation of a communication strategy for the Astrobiology

  13. Survey on astrobiology research and teaching activities within the United kingdom.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dartnell, Lewis R; Burchell, Mark J

    2009-10-01

    While astrobiology is apparently growing steadily around the world, in terms of the number of researchers drawn into this interdisciplinary area and teaching courses provided for new students, there have been very few studies conducted to chart this expansion quantitatively. To address this deficiency, the Astrobiology Society of Britain (ASB) conducted a questionnaire survey of universities and research institutions nationwide to ascertain the current extent of astrobiology research and teaching in the UK. The aim was to provide compiled statistics and an information resource for those who seek research groups or courses of study, and to facilitate new interdisciplinary collaborations. The report here summarizes details gathered on 33 UK research groups, which involved 286 researchers (from undergraduate project students to faculty members). The survey indicates that around 880 students are taking university-level courses, with significant elements of astrobiology included, every year in the UK. Data are also presented on the composition of astrobiology students by their original academic field, which show a significant dominance of physics and astronomy students. This survey represents the first published systematic national assessment of astrobiological academic activity and indicates that this emerging field has already achieved a strong degree of penetration into the UK academic community.

  14. Lower Secondary Students' Views in Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hansson, Lena; Redfors, Andreas

    2013-01-01

    Astrobiology is, on a profound level, about whether life exists outside of the planet Earth. The question of existence of life elsewhere in the universe has been of interest to many societies throughout history. Recently, the research area of astrobiology has grown at a fast rate, mainly due to the development of observational methods, and the…

  15. Astrobiology Sample Analysis Program (ASAP) for Advanced Life Detection Instrumentation Development and Calibration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glavin, Daniel; Brinkerhoff, Will; Dworkin, Jason; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Franz, Heather; Mahaffy, Paul; Stern, Jen; Blake, Daid; Sandford, Scott; Fries, marc; hide

    2008-01-01

    Scientific ground-truth measurements for near-term Mars missions, such as the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, are essential for validating current in situ flight instrumentation and for the development of advanced instrumentation technologies for life-detection missions over the next decade. The NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) has recently funded a consortium of researchers called the Astrobiology Sample Analysis Program (ASAP) to analyze an identical set of homogenized martian analog materials in a "round-robin" style using both state-of-the-art laboratory techniques as well as in-situ flight instrumentation including the SAM gas chromatograph mass spectrometer and CHEMIN X-ray diffraction/fluorescence instruments on MSL and the Urey and MOMA organic analyzer instruments under development for the 2013 ExoMars missions. The analog samples studied included an Atacama Desert soil from Chile, the Murchison meteorite, a gypsum sample from the 2007 AMASE Mars analog site, jarosite from Panoche Valley, CA, a hydrothermal sample from Rio Tinto, Spain, and a "blind" sample collected during the 2007 MSL slow-motion field test in New Mexico. Each sample was distributed to the team for analysis to: (1) determine the nature and inventory of organic compounds, (2) measure the bulk carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition, (3) investigate elemental abundances, mineralogy and matrix, and (4) search for biological activity. The experimental results obtained from the ASAP Mars analog research consortium will be used to build a framework for understanding the biogeochemistry of martian analogs, help calibrate current spaceflight instrumentation, and enhance the scientific return from upcoming missions.

  16. Astrobiology Sample Analysis Program (ASAP) for Advanced Life Detection Instrumentation Development and Calibration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glavin, Daniel; Brinkerhoff, Will; Dworkin, Jason; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Franz, Heather; Mahaffy, Paul; Stern, Jen; Blake, Daid; Sandford, Scott; Fries, marc; Steele, Andrew; Amashukeli, Xenia; Fisher, Anita; Grunthaner, Frank; Aubrey, Andrew; Bada, Jeff; Chiesl, Tom; Stockton, Amanda; Mathies, Rich

    2008-01-01

    Scientific ground-truth measurements for near-term Mars missions, such as the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, are essential for validating current in situ flight instrumentation and for the development of advanced instrumentation technologies for life-detection missions over the next decade. The NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) has recently funded a consortium of researchers called the Astrobiology Sample Analysis Program (ASAP) to analyze an identical set of homogenized martian analog materials in a "round-robin" style using both state-of-the-art laboratory techniques as well as in-situ flight instrumentation including the SAM gas chromatograph mass spectrometer and CHEMIN X-ray diffraction/fluorescence instruments on MSL and the Urey and MOMA organic analyzer instruments under development for the 2013 ExoMars missions. The analog samples studied included an Atacama Desert soil from Chile, the Murchison meteorite, a gypsum sample from the 2007 AMASE Mars analog site, jarosite from Panoche Valley, CA, a hydrothermal sample from Rio Tinto, Spain, and a "blind" sample collected during the 2007 MSL slow-motion field test in New Mexico. Each sample was distributed to the team for analysis to: (1) determine the nature and inventory of organic compounds, (2) measure the bulk carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition, (3) investigate elemental abundances, mineralogy and matrix, and (4) search for biological activity. The experimental results obtained from the ASAP Mars analog research consortium will be used to build a framework for understanding the biogeochemistry of martian analogs, help calibrate current spaceflight instrumentation, and enhance the scientific return from upcoming missions.

  17. Nonlinear aspects of astrobiological research

    CERN Document Server

    Brandenburg, Axel

    2008-01-01

    Several aspects of mathematical astrobiology are discussed. It is argued that around the time of the origin of life the handedness of biomolecules must have established itself through an instability. Possible pathways of producing a certain handedness include mechanisms involving either autocatalysis or, alternatively, epimerization as governing effects. Concepts for establishing hereditary information are discussed in terms of the theory of hypercycles. Instabilities toward parasites and possible remedies by invoking spatial extent are reviewed. Finally, some effects of early life are discussed that contributed to modifying and regulating atmosphere and climate of the Earth, and that could have contributed to the highly oxidized state of its crust.

  18. Astrobiology and the Risk Landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cirkovic, M. M.

    2013-09-01

    We live in the epoch of explosive development of astrobiology, a novel interdisciplinary field dealing with the origin, evolution, and the future of life. While at first glance its relevance for risk analysis is small, there is an increasing number of crossover problems and thematic areas which stem from considerations of observation selection effects and the cosmic future of humanity, as well as better understanding of our astrophysical environment and the open nature of the Earth system. In considering the totality of risks facing any intelligent species in the most general cosmic context (a natural generalization of the concept of global catastrophic risks or GCRs), there is a complex dynamical hierarchy of natural and anthropogenic risks, often tightly interrelated. I shall argue that this landscape-like structure can be defined in the space of astrobiological/SETI parameters and that it is a concept capable of unifying different strands of thought and research, a working concept and not only a metaphor. Fermi's Paradox or the "Great Silence" problem represents the crucial boundary condition on generic evolutionary trajectories of individual intelligent species; I briefly consider the conditions of its applicability as far as quantification of GCRs is concerned. Overall, such a perspective would strengthen foundations upon which various numerical models of the future of humanity can be built; the lack of such quantitative models has often been cited as the chief weakness of the entire GCR enterprise.

  19. Astrobiology in Brazil: early history and perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodrigues, Fabio; Galante, Douglas; Paulino-Lima, Ivan G.; Duarte, Rubens T. D.; Friaça, Amancio C. S.; Lage, Claudia; Janot-Pacheco, Eduardo; Teixeira, Ramachrisna; Horvath, Jorge E.

    2012-10-01

    This review reports the Brazilian history in astrobiology, as well as the first delineation of a vision of the future development of the field in the country, exploring its abundant biodiversity, highly capable human resources and state-of-the-art facilities, reflecting the last few years of stable governmental investments in science, technology and education, all conditions providing good perspectives on continued and steadily growing funding for astrobiology-related research. Brazil is growing steadily and fast in terms of its worldwide economic power, an effect being reflected in different areas of the Brazilian society, including industry, technology, education, social care and scientific production. In the field of astrobiology, the country has had some important landmarks, more intensely after the First Brazilian Workshop on Astrobiology in 2006. The history of astrobiology in Brazil, however, is not so recent and had its first occurrence in 1958. Since then, researchers carried out many individual initiatives across the country in astrobiology-related fields, resulting in an ever growing and expressive scientific production. The number of publications, including articles and theses, has particularly increased in the last decade, but still counting with the effort of researchers working individually. That scenario started to change in 2009, when a formal group of Brazilian researchers working with astrobiology was organized, aiming at congregating the scientific community interested in the subject and to promote the necessary interactions to achieve a multidisciplinary work, receiving facilities and funding from the University de Sao Paulo and other funding agencies.

  20. Astrobiology Road Mapping (AstRoMap) - A project within FP7 of the European Commission: First results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomez-Gomez, Felipe; Capria, Maria Teresa; Palomba, Ernesto; Walter, Nicolas; Rettberg, Petra; Muller, Christian; Horneck, Gerda

    AstRoMap (Astrobiology and Planetary Exploration Road Mapping) is a funded project formulated in the 5th Call of the European Commission FP7 framework. The main objectives of the AstRoMap are: 1. Identify the main astrobiology issues to be addressed by Europe in the next decades in relation with space exploration 2. Identify potential mission concepts that would allow addressing these issues 3. Identify the technology developments required to enable these missions 4. Provide a prioritized roadmap integrating science and technology activities as well as ground-based approach 5. Map scientific knowledge related to astrobiology in Europe To reach those objectives, AstRoMap is executed within the following steps: 1. Community consultation. In order to map the European astrobiology landscape and to provide a collaborative networking platform for this community, the AstRoMap project hosts a database of scientists (European and beyond) interested in astrobiology and planetary exploration (see: http://www.astromap.eu/database.html). It reflects the demography and the research and teaching activities of the astrobiology community, as well as their professional profiles and involvement in astrobiology projects. Considering future aspects of astrobiology in Europe, the need for more astrobiology-dedicated funding programmes at the EU level, especially for cross-disciplinary groups, was stressed. This might eventually lead to the creation of a European laboratory of Astrobiology, or even of a European Astrobiology Institute. 2. Workshops organisation. On the basis of the feedbacks from the community consultation, the potential participants and interesting topics are being identified to take part in the following workshops: 1-. Origin of organic compounds, steps to life; 2. Physico-chemical boundary conditions for habitability 3. Biosignatures as facilitating life detection 4. Origin of the Solar system 3. Astrobiology road-mapping. Based on the results and major conclusions

  1. Is Humanity Doomed? Insights from Astrobiology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Seth D. Baum

    2010-02-01

    Full Text Available Astrobiology, the study of life in the universe, offers profound insights into human sustainability. However, astrobiology is commonly neglected in sustainability research. This paper develops three topics connecting astrobiology to sustainability: constraints on what zones in the universe are habitable, the absence of observations of extraterrestrial civilizations, and the physical fate of the universe. These topics have major implications for our thinking and action on sustainability. While we may not be doomed, we must take certain actions to sustain ourselves in this universe. The topics also suggest that our current sustainability efforts may be of literally galactic importance.

  2. The O/OREOS Mission - Astrobiology in Low Earth Orbit. [Astrobiology in Low Earth Orbit

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ehrenfreund, P.; Ricco, A. J.; Squires, D.; Kitts, C.; Agasid, E.; Bramall, N.; Bryson, K.; Chittenden, J.; Conley, C.; Cook, A.; Mancinelli, R.; Mattioda, A.; Nicholson, W.; Quinn, R.; Santos, O.; Tahu, G.; Voytek, M.; Beasley, C.; Bica, L.; Diaz-Aguado, M.; Friedericks, C.; Henschke, M.; Mai, N.; McIntyre, M.; Yost, B.

    2014-01-01

    The O/OREOS (Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses) nanosatellite is the first science demonstration spacecraft and flight mission of the NASA Astrobiology Small- Payloads Program (ASP). O/OREOS was launched successfully on November 19, 2010, to a high-inclination (72 deg), 650-km Earth orbit aboard a US Air Force Minotaur IV rocket from Kodiak, Alaska. O/OREOS consists of 3 conjoined cubesat (each 1000 cu cm) modules: (i) a control bus; (ii) the Space Environment Survivability of Living Organisms (SESLO) experiment; and (iii) the Space Environment Viability of Organics (SEVO) experiment. Among the innovative aspects of the O/OREOS mission are a real-time analysis of the photostability of organics and biomarkers and the collection of data on the survival and metabolic activity for microorganisms at 3 times during the 6-month mission. We report on the spacecraft characteristics, payload capabilities, and present operational phase and flight data from the O/OREOS mission. The science and technology rationale of O/OREOS supports NASA0s scientific exploration program by investigating the local space environment as well as space biology relevant to Moon and Mars missions. It also serves as a precursor for experiments on small satellites, the International Space Station (ISS), future free-flyers and lunar surface exposure facilities.

  3. Terrestrial atmosphere, water and astrobiology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Coradini M.

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Primitive life, defined as a chemical system capable to transfer its molecular information via self-replication and also capable to evolve, originated about 4 billion years ago from the processing of organic molecules by liquid water. Terrestrial atmosphere played a key role in the process by allowing the permanent presence of liquid water and by participating in the production of carbon-based molecules. Water molecules exhibit specific properties mainly due to a dense network of hydrogen bonds. The carbon-based molecules were either home made in the atmosphere and/or in submarine hydrothermal systems or delivered by meteorites and micrometeorites. The search for possible places beyond the earth where the trilogy atmosphere/water/life could exist is the main objective of astrobiology. Within the Solar System, exploration missions are dedicated to Mars, Europa, Titan and the icy bodies. The discovery of several hundreds of extrasolar planets opens the quest to the whole Milky Way.

  4. Astrobiology: The Case for Venus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landis, Geoffrey A.

    2003-01-01

    The scientific discipline of astrobiology addresses one of the most fundamental unanswered questions of science: are we alone? Is there life elsewhere in the universe, or is life unique to Earth? The field of astrobiology includes the study of the chemical precursors for life in the solar system; it also includes the search for both presently existing life and fossil signs of previously existing life elsewhere in our own solar system, as well as the search for life outside the solar system. Two of the promising environments within the solar system being currently considered are the surface of the planet Mars, and the hypothesized oceans underneath the ice covering the moon Europa. Both of these environments differ in several key ways from the environments where life is found on Earth; the Mars environment in most places too cold and at too low pressure for liquid water to be stable, and the sub-ice environment of Europa lacking an abundance of free energy in the form of sunlight. The only place in the solar system where we know that life exists today is the Earth. To look for life elsewhere in the solar system, one promising search strategy would be to find and study the environment in the solar system with conditions that are most similar to the environmental conditions where life thrives on the Earth. Specifically, we would like to study a location in the solar system with atmospheric pressure near one bar; temperature in the range where water is liquid, 0 to 100 C; abundant solar energy; and with the primary materials required for life, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen, present. Other than the surface of the Earth, the only other place where these conditions exist is the atmosphere of Venus, at an altitude of about fifty kilometers above the surface.

  5. Astrobiological Complexity with Probabilistic Cellular Automata

    CERN Document Server

    Vukotić, B

    2012-01-01

    Search for extraterrestrial life and intelligence constitutes one of the major endeavors in science, but has yet been quantitatively modeled only rarely and in a cursory and superficial fashion. We argue that probabilistic cellular automata (PCA) represent the best quantitative framework for modeling astrobiological history of the Milky Way and its Galactic Habitable Zone. The relevant astrobiological parameters are to be modeled as the elements of the input probability matrix for the PCA kernel. With the underlying simplicity of the cellular automata constructs, this approach enables a quick analysis of large and ambiguous input parameters' space. We perform a simple clustering analysis of typical astrobiological histories and discuss the relevant boundary conditions of practical importance for planning and guiding actual empirical astrobiological and SETI projects. In addition to showing how the present framework is adaptable to more complex situations and updated observational databases from current and ne...

  6. Astrobiology, Mars Exploration and Lassen Volcanic National Park

    Science.gov (United States)

    Des Marais, David J.

    2015-01-01

    The search for evidence of life beyond Earth illustrates how the charters of NASA and the National Park Service share common ground. The mission of NPS is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations. NASA's Astrobiology program seeks to understand the origins, evolution and distribution of life in the universe, and it abides by the principles of planetary stewardship, public outreach, and education. We cannot subject planetary exploration destinations to Earthly biological contamination both for ethical reasons and to preserve their scientific value for astrobiology. We respond to the public's interest in the mysteries of life and the cosmos by honoring their desire to participate in the process of discovery. We involve youth in order to motivate career choices in science and technology and to perpetuate space exploration. The search for evidence of past life on Mars illustrates how the missions of NASA and NPS can become synergistic. Volcanic activity occurs on all rocky planets in our Solar System and beyond, and it frequently interacts with water to create hydrothermal systems. On Earth these systems are oases for microbial life. The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has found evidence of extinct hydrothermal system in Gusev crater, Mars. Lassen Volcanic National Park provides a pristine laboratory for investigating how microorganisms can both thrive and leave evidence of their former presence in hydrothermal systems. NASA scientists, NPS interpretation personnel and teachers can collaborate on field-oriented programs that enhance Mars mission planning, engage students and the public in science and technology, and emphasize the ethics of responsible exploration.

  7. Science at the ends of the Earth: astrobiology field expeditions as outreach tools

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billings, Linda

    INTRODUCTION This paper will report on and evaluate communication, education, and outreach initiatives conducted in conjunction with NASA Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) field campaigns, addressing the costs and benefits of linking students, teachers, and other interested citizens with researchers in the field. This paper will highlight success stories, lessons learned, and promising practices regarding educational programs in scientific research environments. The Astrobiology Program in the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Science Mission Directorate studies the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. Public interest in astrobiology is great, and advances in the field are rapid. Hence, the Astrobiology Program supports the widest possible dissemination of timely and useful information about scientific discoveries, technology development, new knowledge, and greater understanding produced by its investigators, employing an approach described as strategic communication planning. That is, the Astrobiology Program aims to integrate communication, education, and outreach into all aspects of program planning and execution. The Program encourages all of its investigators to contribute to the ongoing endeavor of informing public audiences about Astrobiology. The ASTEP element of the Astrobiology Program sponsors terrestrial field campaigns to further scientific research and technology development relevant to future solar system exploration missions. ASTEP science investigations are designed to further biological research in terrestrial environments analogous to those found on other planets, past or present. ASTEP sponsors the development of technologies to enable remote searches for, and identification of, life in extreme environments. ASTEP supports systems-level field campaigns designed to demonstrate and validate the science and technology in extreme environments on Earth. This

  8. The Astrobiology Matrix and the "Drake Matrix" in Education

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mizser, A.; Kereszturi, A.

    2003-01-01

    We organized astrobiology lectures in the Eotvos Lorand University of Sciences and the Polaris Observatory in 2002. We present here the "Drake matrix" for the comparison of the astrobiological potential of different bodies [1], and astrobiology matrix for the visualization of the interdisciplinary connections between different fields of astrobiology. Conclusion: In Hungary it is difficult to integrate astrobiology in the education system but the great advantage is that it can connect different scientific fields and improve the view of students. We would like to get in contact with persons and organizations who already have experience in the education of astrobiology.

  9. Astrobiological Significance of Microbial Extremophiles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pikuta, Elena V.; Hoover, Richard B.

    2007-01-01

    The microflora of the cryosphere of planet Earth provides the best analogs for life forms that might be found in the permafrost or polar ice caps of Mars, near the surface of the cometary nuclei, or in the liquid water beneath and the ice crusts of icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The importance of study alkaliphilic microorganisms for astrobiology was enhanced by the findings of abundant carbonates and carbonate globules rimmed with possibly biogenic magnetites in association with the putative microfossils in the ALH84001 meteorite. Although the ALH84001 "nanofossils" were to small and simple to be unambiguously recognized as biogenic, they stimulated Astrobiology research and studies of microbial extremophiles and biomarkers in ancient rocks and meteorites. Recent studies of CI and CM carbonaceous meteorites have resulted in the detection of the well-preserved mineralized remains of coccoidal and filamentous microorganisms in cyanobacterial mats. Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis has shown anomalous biogenic element ratios clearly indicating they are not recent biological contaminants. This paper reviews microbial extremophiles in context of their significance to Astrobiology. The study of halophilic microorganisms was started from work with saline soils and lakes, and one of the record of good growth for Haloferax mediterranei was shown at 30 percent NaC1. Although alkali-tolerant nitrifying bacteria had previously been reported, the first described alkaliphilic microorganism was the bacterium Streptococcus faecalis. Halophilic and alkaliphilic forms are relevant to conditions that might be found in closed impact basins and craters on Mars filled with evaporite deposits. The first obligately acidophilic bacterium described was Acidithiobacillus ferrooxydans (formally Thiobacillus ferrooxidans). Later thermophilic lithotrophic acidophiles were found, and the hyperacidophilic moderately thermophilic species of the genus Picrophilus were found to grow at negative p

  10. NASA'S Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute: An international approach toward bringing science and human exploration together for mutual benefit

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Gregory

    2016-07-01

    The NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) is a virtual institute focused on research at the intersection of science and explora-tion, training the next generation of lunar scientists, and community development. The institute is a hub for opportunities that engage the larger scientific and exploration communities in order to form new interdis-ciplinary, research-focused collaborations. Its relative-ly large domestic teams work together along with in-ternational partners in both traditional and virtual set-tings to bring disparate approaches together for mutual benefit. This talk will describe the research efforts of the nine domestic teams that constitute the U.S. com-plement of the Institute and how it is engaging the in-ternational science and exploration communities through workshops, conferences, online seminars and classes, student exchange programs and internships. The Institute is centered on the scientific aspects of exploration as they pertain to the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and the moons of Mars. It focuses on interdisciplinary, exploration-related science cen-tered around all airless bodies targeted as potential human destinations. Areas of study reported here will represent the broad spectrum of lunar, NEA, and Mar-tian moon sciences encompassing investigations of the surface, interior, exosphere, and near-space environ-ments as well as science uniquely enabled from these bodies. The technical focus ranges from investigations of plasma physics, geology/geochemistry, technology integration, solar system origins/evolution, regolith geotechnical properties, analogues, volatiles, ISRU and exploration potential of the target bodies. SSERVI enhances the widening knowledgebase of planetary research by acting as a bridge between several differ-ent groups and bringing together researchers from the scientific and exploration communities, multiple disci-plines across the full range of planetary sciences, and domestic and

  11. Year 3 LUNAR Annual Report to the NASA Lunar Science Institute

    CERN Document Server

    Burns, Jack

    2012-01-01

    The Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research (LUNAR) is a team of researchers and students at leading universities, NASA centers, and federal research laboratories undertaking investigations aimed at using the Moon as a platform for space science. LUNAR research includes Lunar Interior Physics & Gravitation using Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR), Low Frequency Cosmology and Astrophysics (LFCA), Planetary Science and the Lunar Ionosphere, Radio Heliophysics, and Exploration Science. The LUNAR team is exploring technologies that are likely to have a dual purpose, serving both exploration and science. There is a certain degree of commonality in much of LUNAR's research. Specifically, the technology development for a lunar radio telescope involves elements from LFCA, Heliophysics, Exploration Science, and Planetary Science; similarly the drilling technology developed for LLR applies broadly to both Exploration and Lunar Science.

  12. Astrobiology Results from ILEWG EuroMoonMars Analogue Field Research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foing, Bernard H.

    . v’t Houd (8), A. Bruneau (6,9), M. Cross (6,7), V. Maivald (10), C. Orgel (6), A. Elsaesser (4), S.O.L. Direito (2,4), W.F.M. Röling (2), G.R. Davies (2); EuroGeoMars2009 Team, DOMMEX-ILEWG EuroMoonMars 2010-2013 Teams (1) ESA/ ESTEC, Postbus 299, 2200 AG Noordwik, NL; (2) Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Faculty of Earth & Life Sciences, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, NL; (3) NASA Ames Research Centre; US; (4) Leiden Institute of Chemistry, NL; (5) Space Policy Institute, GWU, Washington D.C., USA; (6) ILEWG; (7) CPSX; (8) Cerberus Blackshore, ESIC Noordwijk, NL; (9) ENSC Bordeaux; (10) DLR, Bremen References: Foing, Stoker & Ehrenfreund (Editors, 2011) “Astrobiology field Research in Moon/Mars Analogue Environments”, Special Issue of International Journal of Astrobiology , IJA 2011, 10, vol.3. 137-305; [1] Foing B. et al. (2011) Field astrobiology research at Moon-Mars analogue site: Instruments and methods, IJA 2011, 10 (3), 141; [2] Clarke, J., Stoker, C. Concretions in exhumed & inverte channels near Hanksville Utah: implications for Mars, (IJA 2011, 10 (3), 162; [3] Thiel et al., (2011) PCR-based analysis of microbial communities during the EuroGeoMars campaign at Mars Desert Research Station, Utah. (IJA 2011, 10 (3), 177; [4] Direito et al. (2011). A wide variety of putative extremophiles and large beta-diversity at the Mars Desert Research Station (Utah). (IJA 2011, 10 (3), 191; [5] Orzechowska, G. et al (20110 analysis of Mars Analog soils using solid Phase Microextraction, Organics solvent extraction and GCMS, (IJA 2011, 10 (3), 209; [6] Kotler et al. (2011). Analysis of mineral matrices of planetary soils analogs from the Utah Desert. (IJA 2011, 10 (3), 221; [7] Martins et al. (2011). Extraction of amino acids from soils close to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), Utah. (IJA 2011, 10 (3), 231; [8] Ehrenfreund et al. (2011) Astrobiology and habitability studies in preparation for future Mars missions: trends from investigating minerals

  13. Lunar Beagle and Lunar Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, Everett K.; Pillinger, Colin T.; Waugh, Lester J.

    2010-12-01

    The study of the elements and molecules of astrobiological interest on the Moon can be made with the Gas Analysis Package (GAP) and associated instruments developed for the Beagle 2 Mars Express Payload. The permanently shadowed polar regions of the Moon may offer a unique location for the "cold-trapping" of the light elements (i.e. H, C, N, O, etc.) and their simple compounds. Studies of the returned lunar samples have shown that lunar materials have undergone irradiation with the solar wind and adsorb volatiles from possible cometary and micrometeoroid impacts. The Beagle 2's analytical instrument package including the sample processing facility and the GAP mass spectrometer can provide vital isotopic information that can distinguish whether the lunar volatiles are indigenous to the moon, solar wind derived, cometary in origin or from meteoroids impacting on the Moon. As future Lunar Landers are being considered, the suite of instruments developed for the Mars Beagle 2 lander can be consider as the baseline for any lunar volatile or resource instrument package.

  14. Heterocyclic Anions of Astrobiological Interest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cole, Callie A.; Demarais, Nicholas J.; Yang, Zhibo; Snow, Theodore P.; Bierbaum, Veronica M.

    2013-12-01

    As more complex organic molecules are detected in the interstellar medium, the importance of heterocyclic molecules to astrobiology and the origin of life has become evident. 2-Aminothiazole and 2-aminooxazole have recently been suggested as important nucleotide precursors, highlighting azoles as potential prebiotic molecules. This study explores the gas-phase chemistry of three deprotonated azoles: oxazole, thiazole, and isothiazole. For the first time, their gas-phase acidities are experimentally determined with bracketing and H/D exchange techniques, and their reactivity is characterized with several detected interstellar neutral molecules (N2O, O2, CO, OCS, CO2, and SO2) and other reactive species (CS2, CH3Cl, (CH3)3CCl, and (CH3)3CBr). Rate constants and branching fractions for these reactions are experimentally measured using a modified commercial ion trap mass spectrometer whose kinetic data are in good accord with those of a flowing afterglow apparatus reported here. Last, we have examined the fragmentation patterns of these deprotonated azoles to elucidate their destruction mechanisms in high-energy environments. All experimental data are supported and complemented by electronic structure calculations at the B3LYP/6-311++G(d,p) and MP2(full)/aug-cc-pVDZ levels of theory.

  15. Heterocyclic anions of astrobiological interest

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cole, Callie A.; Demarais, Nicholas J.; Bierbaum, Veronica M. [Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 215 UCB, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309 (United States); Yang, Zhibo [Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019 (United States); Snow, Theodore P., E-mail: Callie.Cole@colorado.edu, E-mail: Nicholas.Demarais@colorado.edu, E-mail: Veronica.Bierbaum@colorado.edu, E-mail: Zhibo.Yang@ou.edu, E-mail: Theodore.Snow@colorado.edu [Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, 391 UCB, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309 (United States)

    2013-12-20

    As more complex organic molecules are detected in the interstellar medium, the importance of heterocyclic molecules to astrobiology and the origin of life has become evident. 2-Aminothiazole and 2-aminooxazole have recently been suggested as important nucleotide precursors, highlighting azoles as potential prebiotic molecules. This study explores the gas-phase chemistry of three deprotonated azoles: oxazole, thiazole, and isothiazole. For the first time, their gas-phase acidities are experimentally determined with bracketing and H/D exchange techniques, and their reactivity is characterized with several detected interstellar neutral molecules (N{sub 2}O, O{sub 2}, CO, OCS, CO{sub 2}, and SO{sub 2}) and other reactive species (CS{sub 2}, CH{sub 3}Cl, (CH{sub 3}){sub 3}CCl, and (CH{sub 3}){sub 3}CBr). Rate constants and branching fractions for these reactions are experimentally measured using a modified commercial ion trap mass spectrometer whose kinetic data are in good accord with those of a flowing afterglow apparatus reported here. Last, we have examined the fragmentation patterns of these deprotonated azoles to elucidate their destruction mechanisms in high-energy environments. All experimental data are supported and complemented by electronic structure calculations at the B3LYP/6-311++G(d,p) and MP2(full)/aug-cc-pVDZ levels of theory.

  16. The AstroBiology Explorer (ABE) Mission Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandford, Scott A.

    2004-01-01

    Infrared spectroscopy in the 2.5-16 micron range is a principle means by which organic compounds can be detected and identified in space via their vibrational transitions. Ground-based, airborne, and spaceborne IR spectral studies have already demonstrated that a significant fraction of the carbon in the interstellar medium (ISM) resides in the form of complex organic molecular species. Unfortunately, neither the distribution of these materials nor their genetic and evolutionary relationships with each other or their environments are well understood. The Astrobiology Explorer (ABE) is a MIDEX mission concept currently under study by a team of partners: NASA's Ames Research Center, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. ABE will conduct IR spectroscopic observations to address outstanding important problems in astrobiology, astrochemistry, and astrophysics. The core observational program would make fundamental scientific progress in understanding (1) The evolution of ices and organic matter in dense molecular clouds and young forming stellar systems, (2) The chemical evolution of organic molecules in the ISM as they transition from AGB outflows to planetary nebulae to the general diffuse ISM to HII regions and dense clouds, (3) The distribution of organics in the diffuse ISM, (4) The nature of organics in the Solar System (in comets, asteroids, satellites), and (5) The nature and distribution of organics in local galaxies. The technical considerations of achieving these science objectives in a MIDEX-sized mission will be presented.

  17. AstroBiology Explorer Mission Concepts (ABE/ASPIRE)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandford, Scott; Ennico, Kimberly A.

    2006-01-01

    The AstroBiology Explorer (ABE) and the Astrobiology Space InfraRed Explorer (ASPIRE) Mission Concepts are two missions designed to address the questions (1) Where do we come from? and (2) Are we alone? as outlined in NASA s Origins Program using infrared spectroscopy to explore the identity, abundance, and distribution of molecules of astrobiological importance throughout the Universe. The ABE mission s observational program is focused on six tasks to: (1) Investigate the evolution of ice and organics in dense clouds and star formation regions, and the young stellar/planetary systems that form in them; (2) Measure the evolution of complex organic molecules in stellar outflows; (3) Study the organic composition of a wide variety of solar system objects including asteroids, comets, and the planets and their satellites; (4) Identify organic compounds in the diffuse interstellar medium and determine their distribution , abundance, and change with environment; (5) Detect and identify organic compounds in other galaxies and determine their dependence on galactic type; and (6) Measure deuterium enrichments in interstellar organics and use them as tracers of chemical processes. The ASPIRE mission s observational program expands upon ABE's core mission and adds tasks that (7) Address the role of silicates in interstellar organic chemistry; and (8) Use different resolution spectra to assess the relative roles and abundances of gas- and solid-state materials. ABE (ASPIRE) achieves these goals using a highly sensitive, cryogenically-cooled telescope in an Earth drift-away heliocentric orbit, armed with a suite of infrared spectrometers that cover the 2.5-20(40) micron spectral region at moderate spectral resolution (R>2000). ASPIRE's spectrometer complement also includes a high-resolution (R>25,000) module over the 4-8 micron spectral region. Both missions target lists are chosen to observe a statistically significant sample of a large number of objects of varied types in

  18. Neocatastrophism and the Milky Way Astrobiological Landscape

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vukotić, B.

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available The number and distribution of habitable planets in the Milky Way is one of the foremost problems of contemporary astrobiological research. We investigate the effects of applying general neocatastrophic paradigm to the evolution of the Galactic Habitable Zone. In this paper, we investigate the limits of simple, 1-dimensional astrobiological models, and consider the role of regulation mechanisms in shapening the "astrobiological landscape". We show that the transition from predominantly gradualist to predominantly (neocatastrophist history of our Galaxy leads to the build-up of large-scale correlations between habitable sites, offering possible keys to such important problems as Carter's "anthropic" argument and Fermi's paradox. In addition, we consider the possibilities for extending the present class of models into spatially realistic 3-dimensional case via probabilistic cellular automata.

  19. Neocatastrophism and the milky way astrobiological landscape

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vukotić B.

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available The number and distribution of habitable planets in the Milky Way is one of the foremost problems of contemporary astrobiological research. We investigate the effects of applying general neocatastrophic paradigm to the evolution of the Galactic Habitable Zone. In this paper, we investigate the limits of simple, 1-dimensional astrobiological models, and consider the role of regulation mechanisms in shapening the 'astrobiological landscape'. We show that the transition from predominantly gradualist to predominantly (neocatastrophist history of our Galaxy leads to the build-up of large-scale correlations between habitable sites, offering possible keys to such important problems as Carter's 'anthropic' argument and Fermi's paradox. In addition, we consider the possibilities for extending the present class of models into spatially realistic 3-dimensional case via probabilistic cellular automata.

  20. Cosmic evolution: the context for astrobiology and its cultural implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dick, Steven J.

    2012-10-01

    Astrobiology must be seen in the context of cosmic evolution, the 13.7 billion-year master narrative of the universe. The idea of an evolving universe dates back only to the 19th century, and became a guiding principle for astronomical research only in the second half of the 20th century. The modern synthesis in evolutionary biology hastened the acceptance of the idea in its cosmic setting, as did the confirmation of the Big Bang theory for the origin of the universe. NASA programmes such as Origins incorporated it as a guiding principle. Cosmic evolution encompasses physical, biological and cultural evolution, and may result in a physical, biological or postbiological universe, each with its own implications for long-term human destiny, and each imbuing the meaning of life with different values. It has the status of an increasingly accepted worldview that is beginning to have a profound effect not only in science but also in religion and philosophy.

  1. The AstroBiology Explorer (ABE) MIDEX Mission: Using Infrared Spectroscopy to Identify Organic Molecules in Space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandford, S. A.

    2002-01-01

    The AstroBiology Explorer (ABE) mission is one of four selected for Phase A Concept Study in NASA's current call for MIDEX class missions. ABE is a cooled space telescope equipped with spectrographs covering the 2.5-20 micron spectral range. The ABE mission is devoted to the detection and identification of organic and related molecular species in space. ABE is currently under study at NASA's Ames Research Center in collaboration with Ball Aerospace.

  2. Astrobiology, the transcendent science: the promise of astrobiology as an integrative approach for science and engineering education and research.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Staley, James T

    2003-06-01

    Astrobiology is rapidly gaining the worldwide attention of scientists, engineers and the public. Astrobiology's captivation is due to its inherently interesting focus on life, its origins and distribution in the Universe. Because of its remarkable breadth as a scientific field, astrobiology touches on virtually all disciplines in the physical, biological and social sciences as well as engineering. The multidisciplinary nature and the appeal of its subject matter make astrobiology ideal for integrating the teaching of science at all levels in educational curricula. The rationale for implementing novel educational programs in astrobiology is presented along with specific research and educational policy recommendations.

  3. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Astrobiology" included the following reports:The Role of Cometary and Meteoritic Delivery in the Origin and Evolution of Life: Biogeological Evidences Revisited; Hopane Biomarkers Traced from Bedrock to Recent Sediments and Ice at the Haughton Impact Structure, Devon Island: Implications for the Search for Biomarkers on Mars; and Survival of Organic Matter After High Temperature Events (Meteorite Impacts, Igneous Intrusions).

  4. Astrobiology: Discovering New Worlds of Life.

    Science.gov (United States)

    James, Charles C.; Van Dover, Cindy Lee

    2001-01-01

    Emphasizes discoveries at the frontiers of science. Includes an instructional poster illustrating the hydrothermal vent communities on the deep ocean floor. Describes research activities related to the new discipline of astrobiology, a multidisciplinary approach to studying the emergence of life in the universe. Research activities include the…

  5. Astrobiology: Life on Earth (and Elsewhere?)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Des Marais, David J.

    2016-01-01

    Astrobiology investigates the origins, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. Scientists study how stellar systems and their planets can create planetary environments that sustain biospheres. They search for biosignatures, which are objects, substances and or patterns that indicate the presence of life. Studies of Earth's early biosphere enhance these search strategies and also provide key insights about our own origins.

  6. Formative and summative evaluation efforts for the Teacher Enhancement Institute conducted at the NASA Langley Research Center, summer 1994

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carlson, Randal D.

    1994-01-01

    The Teacher Enhancement Institute (TEI) at NASA Langley Research Center was developed in response to Executive Order 12821 which mandates national laboratories to 'assist in the mathematics and science education of our Nation's students, teachers, parents, and the public by establishing programs at their agency to provide for training elementary and secondary school teachers to improve their knowledge of mathematics and science. Such programs, to the maximum extent possible, shall involve partnerships with universities, state and local elementary and secondary school authorities, corporations and community based organizations'. The faculty worked closely with one another and the invited speakers to insure that the sessions supported the objectives. Speakers were informed of the objectives and given guidance concerning form and function for the session. Faculty members monitored sessions to assist speakers and to provide a quality control function. Faculty provided feedback to speakers concerning general objective accomplishment. Participant comments were also provided when applicable. Post TEI surveys asked for specific comments about each TEI session. During the second of the two, two week institutes, daily critiques were provided to the participants for their reflection. This seemed to provide much improved feedback to speakers and faculty because the sessions were fresh in each participant's mind. Between sessions one and two, some changes were made to the program as a result of the formative evaluation process. Those changes, though, were minor in nature and comprised what may be called 'fine tuning' a well conceived and implemented program. After the objectives were written, an assessment instrument was developed to test the accomplishment of the objectives. This instrument was actually two surveys, one given before the TEI and one given after the TEI. In using such a series, it was expected that changes in the participants induced by attendance at TEI may be

  7. Astrobiology undergraduate education: students' knowledge and perceptions of the field.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, Jamie S; Drew, Jennifer C

    2009-04-01

    With the field of astrobiology continually evolving, it has become increasingly important to develop and maintain an educational infrastructure for the next generation of astrobiologists. In addition to developing more courses and programs for students, it is essential to monitor the learning experiences and progress of students taking these astrobiology courses. At the University of Florida, a new pilot course in astrobiology was developed that targeted undergraduate students with a wide range of scientific backgrounds. Pre- and post-course surveys along with knowledge assessments were used to evaluate the students' perceived and actual learning experiences. The class incorporated a hybrid teaching platform that included traditional in-person and distance learning technologies. Results indicate that undergraduate students have little prior knowledge of key astrobiology concepts; however, post-course testing demonstrated significant improvements in the students' comprehension of astrobiology. Improvements were not limited to astrobiology knowledge. Assessments revealed that students developed confidence in science writing as well as reading and understanding astrobiology primary literature. Overall, student knowledge of and attitudes toward astrobiological research dramatically increased during this course, which demonstrates the ongoing need for additional astrobiology education programs as well as periodic evaluations of those programs currently underway. Together, these approaches serve to improve the overall learning experiences and perceptions of future astrobiology researchers.

  8. Extremophiles: Link between earth and astrobiology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stojanović Dejan B.

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available Astrobiology studies the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. The most promising worlds in Solar system, beyond Earth, which may harbor life are Mars and Jovian moon Europa. Extremophiles are organisms that thrive on the edge of temperature, hypersalinity, pH extremes, pressure, dryness and so on. In this paper, some extremophile cyanobacteria have been discussed as possible life forms in a scale of astrobiology. Samples were taken from solenetz and solonchak types of soil from the Vojvodina region. The main idea in this paper lies in the fact that high percentage of salt found in solonchak and solonetz gives the possibility of comparison these types of soil with 'soil' on Mars, which is also rich in salt.

  9. An online astrobiology course for teachers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prather, Edward E; Slater, Timothy F

    2002-01-01

    A continuing challenge for scientists is to keep K-12 teachers informed about new scientific developments. Over the past few years, this challenge has increased as new research findings have come from the field of astrobiology. In addition to trying to keep abreast of these new discoveries, K-12 teachers must also face the demands of the content and pedagogical goals imposed by state and national science education standards. Furthermore, many teachers lack the scientific content knowledge or training in current teaching methods to create their own activities or to implement appropriately new teaching materials designed to meet the standards. There is a clear need for special courses designed to increase the scientific knowledge of K-12 science teachers. In response to this need, the authors developed a suite of innovative, classroom-ready lessons for grades 5-12 that emphasize an active engagement instructional strategy and focus on the recent discoveries in the field of astrobiology. They further created a graduate-level, Internet-based distance-learning course for teachers to help them become familiar with these astrobiology concepts and to gain firsthand experience with the National Science Education Standards-based instructional strategies.

  10. Lower Secondary Students' Views in Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hansson, Lena; Redfors, Andreas

    2013-01-01

    Astrobiology is, on a profound level, about whether life exists outside of the planet Earth. The question of existence of life elsewhere in the universe has been of interest to many societies throughout history. Recently, the research area of astrobiology has grown at a fast rate, mainly due to the development of observational methods, and the…

  11. Capturing Student Interest in Astrobiology through Dilemmas and Paradoxes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slater, Timothy F.

    2006-01-01

    Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary science course that combines essential questions from life, physical, and Earth sciences. An effective astrobiology course also capitalizes on students' natural curiosity about social science implications of studying the origin of life and the impact of finding life elsewhere in the universe. (Contains 2…

  12. Astrobiology, Evolution, and Society: Public Engagement Insights

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bertka, C. M.

    2009-12-01

    It is unavoidable that the science of astrobiology will intersect with, and inevitably challenge, many deeply held beliefs. Exploration possibilities, particularly those that may include the discovery of extraterrestrial life, will continue to challenge us to reconsider our views of nature and our connection to the rest of the universe. As a scientific discipline, astrobiology works from the assumption that the origin and evolution of life can be accounted for by natural processes, that life could emerge naturally from the physical materials that make up the terrestrial planets. The search for life on other terrestrial planets is focused on “life as we know it.” The only life we currently know of is the life found on Earth, and for the scientific community the shared common ancestry of all Earth life, and its astounding diversity, is explained by the theory of evolution. The work of astrobiology, at its very core, is fueled by the theory of evolution. However, a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2005) revealed that 42% of US adults believe that “life has existed in its present form since the beginning of time”. This answer persists nearly 150 years after the publication of Charles Darwin’s "On the Origin of the Species", the landmark work in which Darwin proposed that living things share common ancestors and have “descended with modification” from these ancestors through a process of natural selection . Perhaps even more distressing is the fact that these numbers have not changed in decades, despite the astounding advancements in science that have resulted over this same time period. How will these facts bear on the usefulness of astrobiology as a tool for encouraging a US public to share in the excitement of scientific discovery and be informed participants in a public dialogue concerning next steps? When people were asked “to identify the biggest influence on your thinking about how life developed,” the response chosen most

  13. STARLIFE - An International Campaign to Study the Role of Galactic Cosmic Radiation in Astrobiological Model Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moeller, Ralf; Raguse, Marina; Leuko, Stefan; Berger, Thomas; Hellweg, Christine Elisabeth; Fujimori, Akira; Okayasu, Ryuichi; Horneck, Gerda

    2017-02-01

    In-depth knowledge regarding the biological effects of the radiation field in space is required for assessing the radiation risks in space. To obtain this knowledge, a set of different astrobiological model systems has been studied within the STARLIFE radiation campaign during six irradiation campaigns (2013-2015). The STARLIFE group is an international consortium with the aim to investigate the responses of different astrobiological model systems to the different types of ionizing radiation (X-rays, γ rays, heavy ions) representing major parts of the galactic cosmic radiation spectrum. Low- and high-energy charged particle radiation experiments have been conducted at the Heavy Ion Medical Accelerator in Chiba (HIMAC) facility at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) in Chiba, Japan. X-rays or γ rays were used as reference radiation at the German Aerospace Center (DLR, Cologne, Germany) or Beta-Gamma-Service GmbH (BGS, Wiehl, Germany) to derive the biological efficiency of different radiation qualities. All samples were exposed under identical conditions to the same dose and qualities of ionizing radiation (i) allowing a direct comparison between the tested specimens and (ii) providing information on the impact of the space radiation environment on currently used astrobiological model organisms.

  14. Astrobiological landscape: a platform for the neo-Copernican synthesis?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ćirković, Milan M.; Vukotić, Branislav

    2013-01-01

    We live in the epoch of explosive development of astrobiology, a novel interdisciplinary field dealing with the origin, evolution and the future of life. The relationship between cosmology and astrobiology is much deeper than it is usually assumed - besides a similarity in the historical model of development of these two disciplines, there is an increasing number of crossover problems and thematic areas which stem from considerations of Copernicanism and observation selection effects. Such a crossover area is both visualized and heuristically strengthened by introduction of the astrobiological landscape, describing complexity of life in the most general context. We argue that this abstract landscape-like structure in the space of astrobiological parameters is a concept capable of unifying different strands of thought and research, a working concept and not only a metaphor. By analogy with phase spaces of complex physical systems, we can understand the astrobiological landscape as a set of viable evolutionary histories of life in a particular region of space. It is a notion complementary to the classical concept of biological morphological space, underscoring the fact that modern astrobiology offers a prospect of both foundational support and vast extension of the domain of applicability of the Darwinian biological evolution. Such a perspective would strengthen foundations upon which various numerical models can be built; the lack of such quantitative models has often been cited as the chief weakness of the entire astrobiological enterprise.

  15. The AstroBiology Explorer (ABE) MIDEX Mission Concept: Identifying Organic Molecules in Space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ennico, Kimberly; Sandford, Scott; Allamandola, Louis; Bregman, Jesse; Cohen, Martin; Cruikshank, Dale; Greene, Thomas; Hudgins, Douglas; Kwok, Sun; Lord, Steven; DeVincenzi, D. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The Astrobiology Explorer (ABE) is a MIDEX mission concept, currently under Concept Phase A study at NASA's Ames Research Center in collaboration with Ball Aerospace & Technologies, Corp., and managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. ABE will conduct infrared spectroscopic observations to address important problems in astrobiology, astrochemistry, and astrophysics. The core observational program would make fundamental scientific progress in understanding the distribution, identity, and evolution of ices and organic matter in dense molecular clouds, young forming stellar systems, stellar outflows, the general diffuse ISM, HII regions, Solar System bodies, and external galaxies. The ABE instrument concept includes a 0.6 m aperture Ritchey-Chretien telescope and three moderate resolution (R = 2000-3000) spectrometers together covering the 2.5-20 micron spectral region. Large format (1024 x 1024 pixel) IR detector arrays will allow each spectrometer to cover an entire octave of spectral range per exposure without any moving parts. The telescope will be cooled below 50 K by a cryogenic dewar shielded by a sunshade. The detectors will be cooled to approx. 7.5 K by a solid hydrogen cryostat. The optimum orbital configuration for achieving the scientific objectives of the ABE mission is a low background, 1 AU Earth driftaway orbit requiring a Delta II launch vehicle. This configuration provides a low thermal background and allows adequate communications bandwidth and good access to the entire sky over the approx. 1.5 year mission lifetime.

  16. IRON-TOLERANT CYANOBACTERIA: IMPLICATIONS FOR ASTROBIOLOGY

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Igor I.; Allen, Carlton C.; Mummey, Daniel L.; Sarkisova, Svetlana A.; McKay, David S.

    2006-01-01

    The review is dedicated to the new group of extremophiles - iron tolerant cyanobacteria. The authors have analyzed earlier published articles about the ecology of iron tolerant cyanobacteria and their diversity. It was concluded that contemporary iron depositing hot springs might be considered as relative analogs of Precambrian environment. The authors have concluded that the diversity of iron-tolerant cyanobacteria is understudied. The authors also analyzed published data about the physiological peculiarities of iron tolerant cyanobacteria. They made the conclusion that iron tolerant cyanobacteria may oxidize reduced iron through the photosystem of cyanobacteria. The involvement of both Reaction Centers 1 and 2 is also discussed. The conclusion that iron tolerant protocyanobacteria could be involved in banded iron formations generation is also proposed. The possible mechanism of the transition from an oxygenic photosynthesis to an oxygenic one is also discussed. In the final part of the review the authors consider the possible implications of iron tolerant cyanobacteria for astrobiology.

  17. Mobile Raman spectroscopy in astrobiology research.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vandenabeele, Peter; Jehlička, Jan

    2014-12-13

    Raman spectroscopy has proved to be a very useful technique in astrobiology research. Especially, working with mobile instrumentation during fieldwork can provide useful experiences in this field. In this work, we provide an overview of some important aspects of this research and, apart from defining different types of mobile Raman spectrometers, we highlight different reasons for this research. These include gathering experience and testing of mobile instruments, the selection of target molecules and to develop optimal data processing techniques for the identification of the spectra. We also identify the analytical techniques that it would be most appropriate to combine with Raman spectroscopy to maximize the obtained information and the synergy that exists with Raman spectroscopy research in other research areas, such as archaeometry and forensics.

  18. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    The presentations in this session are: 1. A Prototype Life Detection Chip 2. The Geology of Atlantis Basin, Mars, and Its Astrobiological Interest 3. Collecting Bacteria Together with Aerosols in the Martian Atmosphere by the FOELDIX Experimental Instrument Developed with a Nutrient Detector Pattern: Model Measurements of Effectivity 4. 2D and 3D X-ray Imaging of Microorganisms in Meteorites Using Complexity Analysis to Distinguish Field Images of Stromatoloids from Surrounding Rock Matrix in 3.45 Ga Strelley Pool Chert, Western Australia 4. Characterization of Two Isolates from Andean Lakes in Bolivia Short Time Scale Evolution of Microbiolites in Rapidly Receding Altiplanic Lakes: Learning How to Recognize Changing Signatures of Life 5. The Effect of Salts on Electrospray Ionization of Amino Acids in the Negative Mode 6. Determination of Aromatic Ring Number Using Multi-Channel Deep UV Native Fluorescence 7. Microbial D/H Fractionation in Extraterrestrial Materials: Application to Micrometeorites and Mars 8. Carbon Isotope Characteristics of Spring-fed Iron-precipitating Microbial Mats 9. Amino Acid Survival Under Ambient Martian Surface UV Lighting Extraction of Organic Molecules from Terrestrial Material: Quantitative Yields from Heat and Water Extractions 10. Laboratory Detection and Analysis of Organic Compounds in Rocks Using HPLC and XRD Methods 11. Thermal Decomposition of Siderite-Pyrite Assemblages: Implications for Sulfide Mineralogy in Martian Meteorite ALH84001 Carbonate Globules 12. Determination of the Three-Dimensional Morphology of ALH84001 and Biogenic MV-1 Magnetite: Comparison of Results from Electron Tomography and Classical Transmission Electron Microscopy 13. On the Possibility of a Crypto-Biotic Crust on Mars Based on Northern and Southern Ringed Polar Dune Spots 14. Comparative Planetology of the Terrestrial Inner Planets: Implications for Astrobiology 15. A Possible Europa Exobiology 16. A Possible Biogeochemical Model for Titan

  19. Habitability & Astrobiology Research in Mars Terrestrial Analogues

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foing, Bernard

    2014-05-01

    We performed a series of field research campaigns (ILEWG EuroMoonMars) in the extreme Utah desert relevant to Mars environments, and in order to help in the interpretation of Mars missions measurements from orbit (MEX, MRO) or from the surface (MER, MSL), or Moon geochemistry (SMART-1, LRO). We shall give an update on the sample analysis in the context of habitability and astrobiology. Methods & Results: In the frame of ILEWG EuroMoonMars campaigns (2009 to 2013) we deployed at Mars Desert Research station, near Hanksville Utah, a suite of instruments and techniques [A, 1, 2, 9-11] including sample collection, context imaging from remote to local and microscale, drilling, spectrometers and life sensors. We analyzed how geological and geochemical evolution affected local parameters (mineralogy, organics content, environment variations) and the habitability and signature of organics and biota. Among the important findings are the diversity in the composition of soil samples even when collected in close proximity, the low abundances of detectable PAHs and amino acids and the presence of biota of all three domains of life with significant heterogeneity. An extraordinary variety of putative extremophiles was observed [3,4,9]. A dominant factor seems to be soil porosity and lower clay-sized particle content [6-8]. A protocol was developed for sterile sampling, contamination issues, and the diagnostics of biodiversity via PCR and DGGE analysis in soils and rocks samples [10, 11]. We compare the 2009 campaign results [1-9] to new measurements from 2010-2013 campaigns [10-12] relevant to: comparison between remote sensing and in-situ measurements; the study of minerals; the detection of organics and signs of life. Keywords: field analogue research, astrobiology, habitability, life detection, Earth-Moon-Mars, organics References [A] Foing, Stoker & Ehrenfreund (Editors, 2011) "Astrobiology field Research in Moon/Mars Analogue Environments", Special Issue of International

  20. Lab-on-a-chip astrobiology analyzer Project

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The overall goal of this program (through Phase III) is to develop an astrobiology analyzer to measure chemical signatures of life in extraterrestrial settings. The...

  1. Life in the Universe - Astronomy and Planetary Science Research Experience for Undergraduates at the SETI Institute

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiar, J.; Phillips, C. B.; Rudolph, A.; Bonaccorsi, R.; Tarter, J.; Harp, G.; Caldwell, D. A.; DeVore, E. K.

    2016-12-01

    The SETI Institute hosts an Astrobiology Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Beginning in 2013, we partnered with the Physics and Astronomy Dept. at Cal Poly Pomona, a Hispanic-serving university, to recruit underserved students. Over 11 years, we have served 155 students. We focus on Astrobiology since the Institute's mission is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. Our REU students work with mentors at the Institute - a non-profit organization located in California's Silicon Valley-and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center. Projects span research on survival of microbes under extreme conditions, planetary geology, astronomy, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), extrasolar planets and more. The REU program begins with an introductory lectures by Institute scientists covering the diverse astrobiology subfields. A week-long field trip to the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array (Hat Creek Radio Astronomy Observatory in Northern California) and field experiences at hydrothermal systems at nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park immerses students in radio astronomy and SETI, and extremophile environments that are research sites for astrobiologists. Field trips expose students to diverse environments and allow them to investigate planetary analogs as our scientists do. Students also participate in local trips to the California Academy of Sciences and other nearby locations of scientific interest, and attend the weekly scientific colloquium hosted by the SETI Institute at Microsoft, other seminars and lectures at SETI Institute and NASA Ames. The students meet and present at a weekly journal club where they hone their presentation skills, as well as share their research progress. At the end of the summer, the REU interns present their research projects at a session of the Institute's colloquium. As a final project, students prepare a 2-page formal abstract and 15-minute

  2. Astrobiology and green chemistry: a new pedagogical connection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kolb, Vera M.

    2009-08-01

    Various pedagogical approaches are needed to introduce astrobiology into the chemistry curriculum. We are developing a new approach in which we connect green chemistry with astrobiology. Green chemistry is chemistry which is environmentally friendly. One obvious way for the organic chemistry to be environmentally friendly is to use water as solvent, instead of more toxic organic solvents. Another approach is to run so-called solventless reactions. For example, as the solid materials are mixed together, the melting point of the mixture is lower than the melting points of its individual components (the principle of the mixed-melting point). In some cases the entire mixture may melt upon mixing. The reactions would then occur in a viscous semi-solid state. An additional approach is to run the reactions by utilizing enzymes or man-made protein mimics as catalysts instead of toxic catalysts, such as those based on the transition metals. These and some other known examples of green chemistry have a great potential for astrobiology. The astrobiological reactions typically occur in water (e.g. prebiotic soup), in the solid mixtures (e.g. on the meteors), and may be catalyzed by various short peptides. The connection between the green chemistry principles and astrobiology represents a new pedagogical approach for infusion of astrobiology into the organic chemistry.

  3. Aspicilia fruticulosa: A new model for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sánchez Iñigo, Fco. Javier; de La Torre Noetzel, Rosa; Martinez-Frias, Jesus; Mateo Mart, Eva; Horneck, Gerda

    In order to avoid the technological constraints that prevent the performance of experiments in other planets, Astrobiology research implies the development of models that simulate the conditions present in outer space or in planetary bodies. Extremophile organisms, like lichens have been widely studied in Astrobiology due to their high resistance to extremely harsh envi-ronments(5). The vagrant lichen species, Aspicilia fruticulosa lives detached from the substrate, and has a coralloid thalli up to 2.5 cm, which provides a very compact internal structure(6). This species typically grows in deserts and arid areas. Its resistance has been tested several times and amazing results about their vitality have been obtained. Two main experiments have been per-formed: 1. LITHOPANSPERMIA experiment(1): Integrated on board of BIOPAN (multi-user exposure facility, designed for exobiology, radiation biology, radiation dosimetry and material science investigations in space (http://www.spaceflight.esa.int/users/index.cfm?act=default.pagelevel=11p foton-next-pay-Bpan) launched on the Foton M3 satellite in September 2007); the resistance of this lichen species to the combination of the following space conditions during 10 days was tested: Ultraviolet (UV) extraterrestrial radiation, Mars UV-climate, UV-B radiation and Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR), microgravity, space vacuum of 1x10-6 mbar and extreme temperatures ranging from -23o C to +16o C. After the flight, the samples were revital-ized for a 72h period in a climatic chamber before taking measurements of their photosynthetic activity with a Mini-PAM fluorometer (Heinz Walz GmbH) as described by R. de la Torre et al. 2007b (2). The results showed that the samples exposed to space environment except solar UV radiation, reached a 76.5-1002. A step further on these investigations was carried out in order to study how the viability of this lichen species were affected by a combination of different sim-ulated martian

  4. Local NASA Scientists Discover New Species of Organism in Mars-Like Environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-01-01

    Microbiologist Dr. Elena V. Pikuta, and Astrobiologist Richard Hoover culture extremophiles, microorganisms that can live in extreme environments, in the astrobiology laboratory at the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) in Huntsville, Alabama. The scientists recently discovered a new species of extremophiles, Spirochaeta Americana. The species was found in Northern California's Mono Lake, an alkaline, briny oxygen-limited lake in a closed volcanic crater that Hoover believes may offer new clues to help identify sites to research for potential life on Mars. Hoover is an astrobiologist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), and Pikuta is a microbiologist with the Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomy Research Laboratory at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The NSSTC is a partnership with MSFC, Alabama universities, industry, research institutes, and federal agencies.

  5. An Astrobiological View on Sustainable Life

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Takeshi Naganuma

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available Life on a global biosphere basis is substantiated in the form of organics and organisms, and defined as the intermediate forms (briefly expressed as CH2O hovering between the reduced (CH4, methane and (CO2, carbon dioxide ends, different from the classical definition of life as a complex organization maintaining ordered structure and information. Both definitions consider sustenance of life meant as protection of life against chaos through an input of external energy. The CH2O-life connection is maintained as long as the supply of H and O lasts, which is in turn are provided by the splitting of the water molecule H2O. Water is split by electricity, as well-known from school-level experiments, and by solar radiation and geothermal heat on a global scale. In other words, the Sun’s radiation and the Earth’s heat as well as radioactivity split water to supply H and O for continued existence of life on the Earth. These photochemical, radiochemical and geothermal processes have influences on the evolution and current composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, compared with those of Venus and Mars, and influences on the planetary climatology. This view of life may be applicable to the “search-for-life in space” and to sustainability assessment of astrobiological habitats.

  6. Astrobiology: An astronomer's perspective

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bergin, Edwin A. [University of Michigan, Department of Astronomy, 500 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (United States)

    2014-12-08

    In this review we explore aspects of the field of astrobiology from an astronomical viewpoint. We therefore focus on the origin of life in the context of planetary formation, with additional emphasis on tracing the most abundant volatile elements, C, H, O, and N that are used by life on Earth. We first explore the history of life on our planet and outline the current state of our knowledge regarding the delivery of the C, H, O, N elements to the Earth. We then discuss how astronomers track the gaseous and solid molecular carriers of these volatiles throughout the process of star and planet formation. It is now clear that the early stages of star formation fosters the creation of water and simple organic molecules with enrichments of heavy isotopes. These molecules are found as ice coatings on the solid materials that represent microscopic beginnings of terrestrial worlds. Based on the meteoritic and cometary record, the process of planet formation, and the local environment, lead to additional increases in organic complexity. The astronomical connections towards this stage are only now being directly made. Although the exact details are uncertain, it is likely that the birth process of star and planets likely leads to terrestrial worlds being born with abundant water and organics on the surface.

  7. Volcanic Rocks As Targets For Astrobiology Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banerjee, N.

    2010-12-01

    Almost two decades of study highlight the importance of terrestrial subaqueous volcanic rocks as microbial habitats, particularly in glass produced by the quenching of basaltic lava upon contact with water. On Earth, microbes rapidly begin colonizing glassy surfaces along fractures and cracks exposed to water. Microbial colonization of basaltic glass leads to enhanced alteration through production of characteristic granular and/or tubular bioalteration textures. Infilling of formerly hollow alteration textures by minerals enable their preservation through geologic time. Basaltic rocks are a major component of the Martian crust and are widespread on other solar system bodies. A variety of lines of evidence strongly suggest the long-term existence of abundant liquid water on ancient Mars. Recent orbiter, lander and rover missions have found evidence for the presence of transient liquid water on Mars, perhaps persisting to the present day. Many other solar system bodies, notably Europa, Enceladus and other icy satellites, may contain (or have once hosted) subaqueous basaltic glasses. The record of terrestrial glass bioalteration has been interpreted to extend back ~3.5 billion years and is widespread in modern oceanic crust and its ancient metamorphic equivalents. The terrestrial record of glass bioalteration strongly suggests that glassy or formerly glassy basaltic rocks on extraterrestrial bodies that have interacted with liquid water are high-value targets for astrobiological exploration.

  8. Astrobiological benefits of human space exploration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crawford, Ian A

    2010-01-01

    An ambitious program of human space exploration, such as that envisaged in the Global Exploration Strategy and considered in the Augustine Commission report, will help advance the core aims of astrobiology in multiple ways. In particular, a human exploration program will confer significant benefits in the following areas: (i) the exploitation of the lunar geological record to elucidate conditions on early Earth; (ii) the detailed study of near-Earth objects for clues relating to the formation of the Solar System; (iii) the search for evidence of past or present life on Mars; (iv) the provision of a heavy-lift launch capacity that will facilitate exploration of the outer Solar System; and (v) the construction and maintenance of sophisticated space-based astronomical tools for the study of extrasolar planetary systems. In all these areas a human presence in space, and especially on planetary surfaces, will yield a net scientific benefit over what can plausibly be achieved by autonomous robotic systems. A number of policy implications follow from these conclusions, which are also briefly considered.

  9. Astrobiology in culture: the search for extraterrestrial life as "science".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billings, Linda

    2012-10-01

    This analysis examines the social construction of authority, credibility, and legitimacy for exobiology/astrobiology and, in comparison, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), considering English-language conceptions of these endeavors in scientific culture and popular culture primarily in the United States. The questions that define astrobiology as a scientific endeavor are multidisciplinary in nature, and this endeavor is broadly appealing to public audiences as well as to the scientific community. Thus, it is useful to examine astrobiology in culture-in scientific culture, official culture, and popular culture. A researcher may explore science in culture, science as culture, by analyzing its rhetoric, the primary means that people use to construct their social realities-their cultural environment, as it were. This analysis follows this path, considering scientific and public interest in astrobiology and SETI and focusing on scientific and official constructions of the two endeavors. This analysis will also consider whether and how scientific and public conceptions of astrobiology and SETI, which are related but at the same time separate endeavors, converge or diverge and whether and how these convergences or divergences affect the scientific authority, credibility, and legitimacy of these endeavors.

  10. Collaboration as a Strategy to Transform the Impact of EPO Efforts in the New York Center for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Svirsky, A.; Rogers, K. L.; Meissner, M.; Busby, G.; Roberge, W.

    2014-12-01

    The New York Center for Astrobiology (NYCA) EPO effort is a collaboration combining expertise in evaluation and assessment of STEM educational modules with disciplinary expertise in astrobiology. In practice, the NYCA partners with external experts in professional development, informal education and evaluation to assist in developing and implementing certain programs of the NYCA EPO activities. Two specific program initiatives of the NYCA EPO effort offer excellent examples of programs with strong science content knowledge as well as using effective tools to address the NSF impact categories. These are the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (EMBHSSC, in conjunction with RPI's STEM Pipeline Initiative) and the Astrobiology Teachers Academy (ATA). The EMBHSSC for middle school students focuses on NASA astrobiology initiatives around the "Quest for Life" theme. The Camp has a comprehensive evaluation component and uses pre-and post- assessment of student knowledge and interest in STEM. Recent data suggest that every student has shown a measurable gain in these areas. The ATA is a weeklong summer intensive professional development program for P-12 STEM teachers that combines discipline scientists in the NYCA with an external evaluation organization, the Association for the Cooperative Advancement of Science and Education (ACASE). The goal is for teachers to develop a new learning module for a course they teach that uses astrobiology as a content focus to engage students. The Academy has scientists collaborating with teachers in this effort, providing content and assistance in designing instructional activities. Assessments are woven into the fabric of the work in a few ways: 1. There is a purposeful focus on assessment as part of the learning module, and the content of the ATA; 2. ACASE offers teachers a tool for tracking their students' attainment of the learning goals identified in their learning module; 3. There are daily evaluations of the teachers

  11. Lunar astrobiology: a review and suggested laboratory equipment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gronstal, Aaron; Cockell, Charles S; Perino, Maria Antonietta; Bittner, Tobias; Clacey, Erik; Clark, Olathe; Ingold, Olivier; Alves de Oliveira, Catarina; Wathiong, Steven

    2007-10-01

    In October of 2005, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Alcatel Alenia Spazio released a "call to academia for innovative concepts and technologies for lunar exploration." In recent years, interest in lunar exploration has increased in numerous space programs around the globe, and the purpose of our study, in response to the ESA call, was to draw on the expertise of researchers and university students to examine science questions and technologies that could support human astrobiology activity on the Moon. In this mini review, we discuss astrobiology science questions of importance for a human presence on the surface of the Moon and we provide a summary of key instrumentation requirements to support a lunar astrobiology laboratory.

  12. NASA Ames and Future of Space Exploration, Science, and Aeronautics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cohen, Jacob

    2015-01-01

    Pushing the frontiers of aeronautics and space exploration presents multiple challenges. NASA Ames Research Center is at the forefront of tackling these issues, conducting cutting edge research in the fields of air traffic management, entry systems, advanced information technology, intelligent human and robotic systems, astrobiology, aeronautics, space, earth and life sciences and small satellites. Knowledge gained from this research helps ensure the success of NASA's missions, leading us closer to a world that was only imagined as science fiction just decades ago.

  13. Tanpopo: Astrobiology Exposure and Micrometeoroid Capture Experiments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamagishi, Akihiko; Yano, Hajime; Yamashita, Masamichi; Hashimoto, Hirofumi; Kobayashi, Kensei; Kawai, Hideyuki; Mita, Hajime; Yokobori, Shin-ichi; Tabata, Makoto; Yabuta, Hikaru

    2012-07-01

    There is a long history of the microbe-collection experiments at high altitude (1). Microbes have been collected using balloons, aircraft and meteorological rockets. Spore forming fungi and Bacilli, and Micrococci have been isolated in these experiments (1). It is not clear how high do microbes go up. If the microbes might have been present even at higher altitudes, the fact would endorse the possibility of interplanetary migration of life. Tanpopo, dandelion, is the name of a grass whose seeds with floss are spread by the wind. We propose the analyses of interplanetary migration of microbes, organic compounds and meteoroids on Japan Experimental Module (JEM) of the International Space Station (ISS) (2). Ultra low-density aerogel will be used to capture micrometeoroid and debris. Particles captured by aerogel will be used for several analyses after the initial inspection of the gel and tracks. Careful analysis of the tracks in the aerogel will provide the size and velocity dependence of debris flux. The particles will be analyzed for mineralogical, organic and microbiological characteristics. Aerogels are ready for production in Japan. Aerogels and trays are space proven. All the analytical techniques are ready. In this presentation, we will present the recent results related to the microbiological analyses. The results suggested that the bleaching speeds and the spectra of fluorescence are different between different origins of the fluorescence: whether it is emitted from microbe or not. It is also shown that PCR analysis of the microbe can be used to determine the species. References 1)Yang, Y., Yokobori, S. and Yamagishi, A.: Assessing panspermia hypothesis by microorganisms collected from the high altitude atmosphere. Biol. Sci. Space, 23 (2009), pp. 151-163. 2) Yamagishi, A., H. Yano, K. Kobayashi, K. Kobayashi, S. Yokobori, M. Tabata, H. Kawai, M. Yamashita, H. Hashimoto, H. Naraoka, & H. Mita (2008) TANPOPO: astrobiology exposure and micrometeoroid capture

  14. Astrobiology, history, and society life beyond earth and the impact of discovery

    CERN Document Server

    2013-01-01

    This book addresses important current and historical topics in astrobiology and the search for life beyond Earth, including the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). The first section covers the plurality of worlds debate from antiquity through the nineteenth century, while section two covers the extraterrestrial life debate from the twentieth century to the present. The final section examines the societal impact of discovering life beyond Earth, including both cultural and religious dimensions. Throughout the book, authors draw links between their own chapters and those of other contributors, emphasizing the interconnections between the various strands of the history and societal impact of the search for extraterrestrial life. The chapters are all written by internationally recognized experts and are carefully edited by Douglas Vakoch, professor of clinical psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute. This interd...

  15. Astrobiology Field Research in Moon/Mars Analogue Environments: Preface

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foing, B. H.; Stoker, C.; Ehrenfreund, P.

    2011-01-01

    Extreme environments on Earth often provide similar terrain conditions to landing/operation sites on Moon and Mars. Several field campaigns (EuroGeoMars2009 and DOMMEX/ILEWG EuroMoonMars from November 2009 to March 2010) were conducted at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. Some of the key astrobiology results are presented in this special issue on Astrobiology field research in Moon/Mars analogue environments relevant to investigate the link between geology, minerals, organics and biota. Preliminary results from a multidisciplinary field campaign at Rio Tinto in Spain are presented.

  16. Raman spectroscopic analysis of arctic nodules: relevance to the astrobiological exploration of Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jorge-Villar, Susana E; Edwards, Howell G M; Benning, Liane G

    2011-11-01

    The discovery of small, spherical nodules termed 'blueberries' in Gusev Crater on Mars, by the NASA rover Opportunity has given rise to much debate on account of their interesting and novel morphology. A terrestrial analogue in the form of spherical nodules of similar size and morphology has been analysed using Raman spectroscopy; the mineralogical composition has been determined and evidence found for the biological colonisation of these nodules from the spectral signatures of cyanobacterial protective biochemical residues such as scytonemin, carotenoids, phycocyanins and xanthophylls. This is an important result for the recognition of future sites for the planned astrobiological exploration of planetary surfaces using remote robotic instrumentation in the search for extinct and extant life biosignatures and for the expansion of putative terrestrial Mars analogue geological niches and morphologies.

  17. Field/Lab Training Workshops in Planetary Geology and Astrobiology for Secondary School Teachers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Treiman, A.; Newsom, H.; Hoehler, T.; Tsairides, C.; Karlstrom, K.; Crossey, L.; Kiefer, W.; Kadel, S.; Garcia-Pichel, F.; Aubele, J.; Crumpler, L.

    2003-12-01

    , with heightened appreciation, excited, and energetic. The teachers are asked to share their knowledge in their districts (in one case, saving the district thousands of dollars). For the presenters, the workshop format allows personal interactions with the teachers, leading to enhanced appreciation of their perspectives and needs. This year, teacher input assisted with an NSF-sponsored National Park education initiative. And in one case, a meaningful research collaboration has come from these workshops. Logistics is the greatest challenge of this workshop format. Hosts and teaching/lab venues need to be arranged early in sites dictated by science content, not convenience. Travel and lodging must be arranged for teachers and presenters at several sites, usually all distant from the organizing institution. Logistics also dictates that each workshop cannot serve more than about 30 teachers. The depth of knowledge imparted and its long-term effects on the teachers and their districts offsets the small number of teachers reached per year. Authors here are the 2003 organizers and presenters. Many others have organized and presented at past workshops - especially Dr. A.J. Irving of U. Wash. We are grateful for past support from NASA Broker/Facilitator, and now from Sandia National Laboratory and NASA OSS/EPO.

  18. Life in Ice: Implications to Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoover, Richard B.

    2009-01-01

    During the 2008 Tawani International Expedition Schirmacher Oasis/Lake Untersee Antarctica Expedition, living and instantly motile bacteria were found in freshly thawed meltwater from ice of the Schirmacher Oasis Lakes, the Anuchin Glacier ice and samples of the that perennial ice sheet above Lake Untersee. This phenomenon of living bacteria encased in ice had previously been observed in the 32,000 year old ice of the Fox Tunnel. The bacteria found in this ice included the strain FTR1T which was isolated and published as valid new species (Carnobacterium pleistocenium) the first validly published living Pleistocene organism still alive today. Living bacteria were also extracted from ancient ice cores from Vostok, Antarctica. The discovery that many strains of bacteria are able to survive and remain alive while frozen in ice sheets for long periods of time may have direct relevance to Astrobiology. The abundance of viable bacteria in the ice sheets of Antarctica suggests that the presence of live bacteria in ice is common, rather than an isolated phenomenon. This paper will discuss the results of recent studies at NSSTC of bacteria cryopreserved in ice. This paper advances the hypothesis that cryopreserved cells, and perhaps even viable bacterial cells, may exist today--frozen in the water-ice of lunar craters, the Polar Caps or craters of Mars; or in the permafrost of Mars; ice and rocks of comets or water bearing asteroids; or in the frozen crusts of the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The existence of bacterial life in ice suggests that it may not be necessary to drill through a thick ice crust to reach liquid water seas deep beneath the icy crusts of Europa, Ganymede and Enceladus. The presence of viable bacteria in the ice of the Earth s Polar Caps suggests that the possibility that cryo-panspermia (i.e., the trans-planetary transfer of microbial life by impact ejection/spallation of bacteria-rich polar ice masses) deserves serious consideration and study as a

  19. Astrobiology and the Possibility of Life on Earth and Elsewhere…

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cottin, Hervé; Kotler, Julia Michelle; Bartik, Kristin; Cleaves, H. James; Cockell, Charles S.; de Vera, Jean Pierre P; Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Leuko, Stefan; Ten Kate, Inge Loes; Martins, Zita; Pascal, Robert; Quinn, Richard; Rettberg, Petra; Westall, Frances

    Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary scientific field not only focused on the search of extraterrestrial life, but also on deciphering the key environmental parameters that have enabled the emergence of life on Earth. Understanding these physical and chemical parameters is fundamental knowledge

  20. Astrobiology Science and Technology: A Path to Future Discovery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, M. A.; Lavaery, D. B.

    2001-01-01

    The Astrobiology Program is described. However, science-driven robotic exploration of extreme environments is needed for a new era of planetary exploration requiring biologically relevant instrumentation and extensive, autonomous operations on planetary surfaces. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  1. Astrobiology Courses--A Useful Framework for Teaching Interdisciplinary Science.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sauterer, Roger

    2000-01-01

    Explains astrobiology and indicates the possibility of life on other planets and the interest of humankind in this possibility. Defines topics open to public misconception and their primary reinforcements by television shows. Expresses the need for students to learn the connections between different science majors. (YDS)

  2. A Bioinformatics Facility for NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schweighofer, Karl; Pohorille, Andrew

    2006-01-01

    Building on an existing prototype, we have fielded a facility with bioinformatics technologies that will help NASA meet its unique requirements for biological research. This facility consists of a cluster of computers capable of performing computationally intensive tasks, software tools, databases and knowledge management systems. Novel computational technologies for analyzing and integrating new biological data and already existing knowledge have been developed. With continued development and support, the facility will fulfill strategic NASA s bioinformatics needs in astrobiology and space exploration. . As a demonstration of these capabilities, we will present a detailed analysis of how spaceflight factors impact gene expression in the liver and kidney for mice flown aboard shuttle flight STS-108. We have found that many genes involved in signal transduction, cell cycle, and development respond to changes in microgravity, but that most metabolic pathways appear unchanged.

  3. The biogeochemical iron cycle and astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schröder, Christian; Köhler, Inga; Muller, Francois L. L.; Chumakov, Aleksandr I.; Kupenko, Ilya; Rüffer, Rudolf; Kappler, Andreas

    2016-12-01

    Biogeochemistry investigates chemical cycles which influence or are influenced by biological activity. Astrobiology studies the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. The biogeochemical Fe cycle has controlled major nutrient cycles such as the C cycle throughout geological time. Iron sulfide minerals may have provided energy and surfaces for the first pioneer organisms on Earth. Banded iron formations document the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis. To assess the potential habitability of planets other than Earth one looks for water, an energy source and a C source. On Mars, for example, Fe minerals have provided evidence for the past presence of liquid water on its surface and would provide a viable energy source. Here we present Mössbauer spectroscopy investigations of Fe and C cycle interactions in both ancient and modern environments. Experiments to simulate the diagenesis of banded iron formations indicate that the formation of ferrous minerals depends on the amount of biomass buried with ferric precursors rather than on the atmospheric composition at the time of deposition. Mössbauer spectra further reveal the mutual stabilisation of Fe-organic matter complexes against mineral transformation and decay of organic matter into CO2. This corresponds to observations of a `rusty carbon sink' in modern sediments. The stabilisation of Fe-organic matter complexes may also aid transport of particulate Fe in the water column while having an adverse effect on the bioavailability of Fe. In the modern oxic ocean, Fe is insoluble and particulate Fe represents an important source. Collecting that particulate Fe yields small sample sizes that would pose a challenge for conventional Mössbauer experiments. We demonstrate that the unique properties of the beam used in synchrotron-based Mössbauer applications can be utilized for studying such samples effectively. Reactive Fe species often occur in amorphous or nanoparticulate form in the environment and

  4. The biogeochemical iron cycle and astrobiology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schröder, Christian, E-mail: christian.schroeder@stir.ac.uk [University of Stirling, Biological and Environmental Sciences, School of Natural Sciences (United Kingdom); Köhler, Inga [Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Geomicrobiology, Centre for Applied Geoscience (Germany); Muller, Francois L. L. [Qatar University, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (Qatar); Chumakov, Aleksandr I.; Kupenko, Ilya; Rüffer, Rudolf [ESRF-The European Synchrotron (France); Kappler, Andreas [Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Geomicrobiology, Centre for Applied Geoscience (Germany)

    2016-12-15

    Biogeochemistry investigates chemical cycles which influence or are influenced by biological activity. Astrobiology studies the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. The biogeochemical Fe cycle has controlled major nutrient cycles such as the C cycle throughout geological time. Iron sulfide minerals may have provided energy and surfaces for the first pioneer organisms on Earth. Banded iron formations document the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis. To assess the potential habitability of planets other than Earth one looks for water, an energy source and a C source. On Mars, for example, Fe minerals have provided evidence for the past presence of liquid water on its surface and would provide a viable energy source. Here we present Mössbauer spectroscopy investigations of Fe and C cycle interactions in both ancient and modern environments. Experiments to simulate the diagenesis of banded iron formations indicate that the formation of ferrous minerals depends on the amount of biomass buried with ferric precursors rather than on the atmospheric composition at the time of deposition. Mössbauer spectra further reveal the mutual stabilisation of Fe-organic matter complexes against mineral transformation and decay of organic matter into CO{sub 2}. This corresponds to observations of a ‘rusty carbon sink’ in modern sediments. The stabilisation of Fe-organic matter complexes may also aid transport of particulate Fe in the water column while having an adverse effect on the bioavailability of Fe. In the modern oxic ocean, Fe is insoluble and particulate Fe represents an important source. Collecting that particulate Fe yields small sample sizes that would pose a challenge for conventional Mössbauer experiments. We demonstrate that the unique properties of the beam used in synchrotron-based Mössbauer applications can be utilized for studying such samples effectively. Reactive Fe species often occur in amorphous or nanoparticulate form in the

  5. Systems astrobiology for a reliable biomarker on exo-worlds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chela Flores, Julian

    2013-04-01

    Although astrobiology is a science midway between biology and astrophysics, it has surprisingly remained largely disconnected from recent trends in certain branches of both of these disciplines. Aiming at discovering how systems properties emerge has proved valuable in chemistry and in biology and should also yield insights into astrobiology. This is feasible since new large data banks in the case of astrobiology are of a geophysical/astronomical kind, rather than the also large molecular biology data that are used for questions related firstly, to genetics in a systems context and secondly, to biochemistry. The application of systems biology is illustrated for our own planetary system, where 3 Earth-like planets are within the habitable zone of a G2V star and where the process of photosynthesis has led to a single oxygenic atmosphere that was triggered during the Great Oxidation Event some 2,5 billion years before the present. The significance of the biogenic origin of a considerable fraction of our atmosphere has been discussed earlier (Kiang et al., 2007). Bonding of O2 ensures that it is stable enough to accumulate in a world's atmosphere if triggered by a living process. The reduction of F and Cl deliver energy release per e+-transfer, but unlike O2 the weaker bonding properties inhibit large atmospheric accumulation (Catling et al., 2005). The evolution of O2-producing photosynthesis is very likely on exo-worlds (Wolstencroft and Raven, 2002). With our simplifying assumption of evolutionary convergence, we show how to probe for a reliable biomarker in the exo-atmospheres of planets, or their satellites, orbiting stars of different luminosities and ages (Chela-Flores, 2013). We treat the living process as a system of exo-environments capable of radically modifying their geology and atmospheres, both for exo-planets, and especially for exo-moons, the presence of which can be extracted from the Kepler data (Kipping et al., 2012). What we are learning about the

  6. Capturing Student Interest in Astrobiology through Dilemmas and Paradoxes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slater, T. F.

    2005-12-01

    Traditionally, many non-science majoring undergraduates readily reveal fairly negative opinions about their introductory science survey courses that serve as general education distribution requirements. Often seen as unimportant and unrelated to helping them acquire knowledge and skills for the workplace, such general education courses carry nicknames such as "Physics for Poets" (PHYSICS101), "Bugs for Thugs" (BIOLOGY101), "Rocks for Jocks" (GEOLOGY101), and "Moons for Goons" or "Scopes for Dopes" (ASTRONOMY101). In response, many faculty are experimenting with more modern science course offerings as general education courses in an effort to improve students' attitudes, values, and interests. One might think that ASTROBIOLOGY has natural curb appeal for students. However, despite the seemingly innate appeal of a course on extraterrestrial life, when it comes right down to it, an astrobiology course is still a natural science course at its core. As such, it can suffer from the same student apathy that afflicts traditional science courses if students can not find some personal relevance or interest in the topics. One approach to more fully engaging students is to couch core course concepts in terms of what Grant Wiggin and Jay McTighe (2004, 2000) call "essential questions." Essential questions are intended create enduring understanding in students and help students find deeply meaningful personal relevance to concepts. In response, we have created a series of probing essential questions that tie central concepts in astrobiology to dilemmas, paradoxes, and moral questions with the goal of intellectually engaging our students in the human-side of the astrobiology enterprise.

  7. A brief social history of astrobiology in Ibero-america

    CERN Document Server

    Lemarchand, Guillermo A

    2010-01-01

    The work is divided into three sections: the first one describes the historical evolution of the main arguments presented about the plurality of inhabited worlds, from the presocratics to the birth of modern science. The second section analyzes the race to define the search for life beyond Earth as a scientific activity under a specific name. Finally, the third part presents a brief description of the social history of science that allowed the early development of astrobiology in Iberoamerica.

  8. Astrobiology and the Possibility of Life on Earth and Elsewhere…

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cottin, Hervé; Kotler, Julia Michelle; Bartik, Kristin; Cleaves, H. James; Cockell, Charles S.; de Vera, Jean-Pierre P.; Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Leuko, Stefan; Ten Kate, Inge Loes; Martins, Zita; Pascal, Robert; Quinn, Richard; Rettberg, Petra; Westall, Frances

    2017-07-01

    Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary scientific field not only focused on the search of extraterrestrial life, but also on deciphering the key environmental parameters that have enabled the emergence of life on Earth. Understanding these physical and chemical parameters is fundamental knowledge necessary not only for discovering life or signs of life on other planets, but also for understanding our own terrestrial environment. Therefore, astrobiology pushes us to combine different perspectives such as the conditions on the primitive Earth, the physicochemical limits of life, exploration of habitable environments in the Solar System, and the search for signatures of life in exoplanets. Chemists, biologists, geologists, planetologists and astrophysicists are contributing extensively to this interdisciplinary research field. From 2011 to 2014, the European Space Agency (ESA) had the initiative to gather a Topical Team of interdisciplinary scientists focused on astrobiology to review the profound transformations in the field that have occurred since the beginning of the new century. The present paper is an interdisciplinary review of current research in astrobiology, covering the major advances and main outlooks in the field. The following subjects will be reviewed and most recent discoveries will be highlighted: the new understanding of planetary system formation including the specificity of the Earth among the diversity of planets, the origin of water on Earth and its unique combined properties among solvents for the emergence of life, the idea that the Earth could have been habitable during the Hadean Era, the inventory of endogenous and exogenous sources of organic matter and new concepts about how chemistry could evolve towards biological molecules and biological systems. In addition, many new findings show the remarkable potential life has for adaptation and survival in extreme environments. All those results from different fields of science are guiding our

  9. Astrobiology and the Possibility of Life on Earth and Elsewhere…

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cottin, Hervé; Kotler, Julia Michelle; Bartik, Kristin; Cleaves, H. James; Cockell, Charles S.; de Vera, Jean-Pierre P.; Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Leuko, Stefan; Ten Kate, Inge Loes; Martins, Zita; Pascal, Robert; Quinn, Richard; Rettberg, Petra; Westall, Frances

    2015-09-01

    Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary scientific field not only focused on the search of extraterrestrial life, but also on deciphering the key environmental parameters that have enabled the emergence of life on Earth. Understanding these physical and chemical parameters is fundamental knowledge necessary not only for discovering life or signs of life on other planets, but also for understanding our own terrestrial environment. Therefore, astrobiology pushes us to combine different perspectives such as the conditions on the primitive Earth, the physicochemical limits of life, exploration of habitable environments in the Solar System, and the search for signatures of life in exoplanets. Chemists, biologists, geologists, planetologists and astrophysicists are contributing extensively to this interdisciplinary research field. From 2011 to 2014, the European Space Agency (ESA) had the initiative to gather a Topical Team of interdisciplinary scientists focused on astrobiology to review the profound transformations in the field that have occurred since the beginning of the new century. The present paper is an interdisciplinary review of current research in astrobiology, covering the major advances and main outlooks in the field. The following subjects will be reviewed and most recent discoveries will be highlighted: the new understanding of planetary system formation including the specificity of the Earth among the diversity of planets, the origin of water on Earth and its unique combined properties among solvents for the emergence of life, the idea that the Earth could have been habitable during the Hadean Era, the inventory of endogenous and exogenous sources of organic matter and new concepts about how chemistry could evolve towards biological molecules and biological systems. In addition, many new findings show the remarkable potential life has for adaptation and survival in extreme environments. All those results from different fields of science are guiding our

  10. Critical issues in the history, philosophy, and sociology of astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dick, Steven J

    2012-10-01

    Fifty years after serious scientific research began in the field of exobiology, and forty years after serious historical research began on the subject of extraterrestrial life, this paper identifies and examines some of the most important issues in the history, philosophy, and sociology of what is today known as astrobiology. As in the philosophy of science in general, and in the philosophies of particular sciences, critical issues in the philosophy and sociology of astrobiology are both stimulated and illuminated by history. Among those issues are (1) epistemological issues such as the status of astrobiology as a science, the problematic nature of evidence and inference, and the limits of science; (2) metaphysical/scientific issues, including the question of defining the fundamental concepts of life, mind, intelligence, and culture in a universal context; the role of contingency and necessity in the origin of these fundamental phenomena; and whether or not the universe is in some sense fine-tuned for life and perhaps biocentric; (3) societal issues such as the theological, ethical, and worldview impacts of the discovery of microbial or intelligent life; and the question of whether the search for extraterrestrial life should be pursued at all, and with what precautions; and (4) issues related to the sociology of scientific knowledge, including the diverse attitudes and assumptions of different scientific communities and different cultures to the problem of life beyond Earth, the public "will to believe," and the formation of the discipline of astrobiology. All these overlapping issues are framed by the concept of cosmic evolution-the 13.7 billion year Master Narrative of the Universe-which may result in a physical, biological, or postbiological universe and determine the long-term destiny of humanity.

  11. Case studies approach for an undergraduate astrobiology course

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burko, Lior M.; Enger, Sandra

    2013-04-01

    Case studies is a well known and widely used method in law schools, medical schools, and business schools, but relatively little used in physics or astronomy courses. We developed an astrobiology course based strongly on the case studies approach, and after teaching it first at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, we have adapted it and are now teaching it at Alabama A&M University, a HBCU. The case studies approach uses several well tested and successful teaching methods - including group work, peer instruction, current interest topics, just-in-time teaching, &c. We have found that certain styles of cases are more popular among students than other styles, and will revise our cases to reflect such student preferences. We chose astrobiology -- an inherently multidisciplinary field -- because of the popularity of the subject matter, its frequent appearance in the popular media (news stories about searches for life in the universe, the discovery of Earth-like exoplanets, etc, in addition to SciFi movies and novels), and the rapid current progress in the field. In this talk we review briefly the case studies method, the styles of cases used in our astrobiology course, and student response to the course as found in our assessment analysis.

  12. NASA Thesaurus

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The NASA Thesaurus contains the authorized NASA subject terms used to index and retrieve materials in the NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) and the NTRS...

  13. Life, the universe, and everything: an education outreach proposal to build a traveling astrobiology exhibit.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barge, Laura M; Pulschen, André A; Emygdio, Ana Paula Mendes; Congreve, Curtis; Kishimoto, Darío E; Bendia, Amanda G; de Morais M Teles, Antonio; DeMarines, Julia; Stoupin, Daniel

    2013-03-01

    Astrobiology is a transdisciplinary field with extraordinary potential for the scientific community. As such, it is important to educate the community at large about the growing importance of this field to increase awareness and scientific content learning and expose potential future scientists. To this end, we propose the creation of a traveling museum exhibit that focuses exclusively on astrobiology and utilizes modern museum exhibit technology and design. This exhibit (the "Astrobiology Road Show"), organized and evaluated by an international group of astrobiology students and postdocs, is planned to tour throughout the Americas.

  14. Automated payload and instruments for astrobiology research developed and studied by German medium-sized space industry in cooperation with European academia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schulte, Wolfgang; Hofer, Stefan; Hofmann, Peter; Thiele, Hans; von Heise-Rotenburg, Ralf; Toporski, Jan; Rettberg, Petra

    2007-06-01

    For more than a decade Kayser-Threde, a medium-sized enterprise of the German space industry, has been involved in astrobiology research in partnership with a variety of scientific institutes from all over Europe. Previous projects include exobiology research platforms in low Earth orbit on retrievable carriers and onboard the Space Station. More recently, exobiology payloads for in situ experimentation on Mars have been studied by Kayser-Threde under ESA contracts, specifically the ExoMars Pasteur Payload. These studies included work on a sample preparation and distribution systems for Martian rock/regolith samples, instrument concepts such as Raman spectroscopy and a Life Marker Chip, advanced microscope systems as well as robotic tools for astrobiology missions. The status of the funded technical studies and major results are presented. The reported industrial work was funded by ESA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

  15. Moessbauer spectroscopy as a tool in astrobiology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schroeder, Christian, E-mail: schroedc@uni-mainz.de; Klingelhoefer, Goestar, E-mail: klingel@mail.uni-mainz.de [Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet, Institut fuer Anorganische Chemie und Analytische Chemie (Germany); Bailey, Brad E., E-mail: bebailey@ucsd.edu; Staudigel, Hubert, E-mail: hstaudigel@ucsd.edu [University of California San Diego, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (United States)

    2005-11-15

    Two miniaturized Moessbauer spectrometers are part of the Athena instrument package of the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. The primary objectives of their science investigation are to explore two sites on the surface of Mars where water may once have been present, and to assess past environmental conditions at those sites and their suitability for life. Aqueous minerals - jarosite at Meridiani Planum, Opportunity's landing site, and goethite in the Columbia Hills in Gusev Crater, Spirit's landing site - were identified by Moessbauer spectroscopy, thus providing in situ proof of water being present at those sites in the past. The formation of jarosite in particular puts strong constraints on environmental conditions during the time of formation and hence on the evaluation of potential habitability. On Earth Moessbauer spectroscopy was used to investigate microbially induced changes in Fe oxidation states and mineralogy at the Loihi deep sea mount, a hydrothermal vent system, which might serve as an analogue for potential habitats in the Martian subsurface and the sub-ice ocean of Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

  16. The AstroBiology Explorer (ABE) MIDEX Mission Concept: Using Infrared Spectroscopy to Identify Organic Molecules in Space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandford, Scott A.; Ennico, Kimberly; Allamandola, Louis; Bregman, Jesse; Greene, Thomas; Hudgins, Douglas

    2002-01-01

    One of the principal means by which organic compounds are detected and identified in space is by infrared spectroscopy. Past IR telescopic and laboratory studies have shown that much of the carbon in the interstellar medium (ISM) is in complex organic species but the distribution, abundance and evolutionary relationships of these materials are not well understood. The Astrobiology Explorer (ABE) is a MIDEX mission concept designed to conduct IR spectroscopic observations to detect and identify these materials and address outstanding problems in astrobiology, astrochemistry, and astrophysics. ABE's core science program includes observations of planetary nebulae and stellar outflows, protostellar objects, Solar System objects, and galaxies, and lines of sight through dense molecular clouds and the diffuse ISM. ABE is a cryogenically-cooled 60 cm diameter space telescope equipped with 3 cross-dispersed R-2000 spectrometers that share a single common slit. Each spectrometer measures one spectral octave and together cover the entire 2.5-20 micron region simultaneously. The spectrometers use state-of-the-art InSb and Si:As 1024x1024 pixel detectors. ABE would operate in a heliocentric, Earth drift-away orbit and have a core science mission lasting approximately 1.5 years. ABE is currently under study at NASA's Ames Research Center in collaboration with Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.

  17. The Cyborg Astrobiologist: porting from a wearable computer to the Astrobiology Phone-cam

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartolo, Alexandra; McGuire, Patrick C.; Camilleri, Kenneth P.; Spiteri, Christopher; Borg, Jonathan C.; Farrugia, Philip J.; Ormö, Jens; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Rodriguez-Manfredi, José Antonio; Díaz-Martínez, Enrique; Ritter, Helge; Haschke, Robert; Oesker, Markus; Ontrup, Jörg

    2007-08-01

    We have used a simple camera phone to significantly improve an `exploration system' for astrobiology and geology. This camera phone will make it much easier to develop and test computer-vision algorithms for future planetary exploration. We envision that the `Astrobiology Phone-cam' exploration system can be fruitfully used in other problem domains as well.

  18. Emphasizing Astrobiology: Highlighting Communication in an Elective Course for Science Majors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Offerdahl, Erika G.; Prather, Edward E.; Slater, Timothy F.

    2004-01-01

    The project described here involved the design, implementation, and evaluation of an upper level, undergraduate elective course for science majors. Specific course goals were to help students gain an appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of astrobiology, understand key ideas in astrobiology, and develop the skills necessary to communicate…

  19. Sustainability and the Astrobiological Perspective: Framing Human Futures in a Planetary Context

    CERN Document Server

    Frank, Adam

    2013-01-01

    We explore how questions related to developing a sustainable human civilization can be cast in terms of astrobiology. In particular we show how ongoing astrobiological studies of the coupled relationship between life, planets and their co-evolution can inform new perspectives and direct new studies in sustainability science. Using the Drake Equation as a vehicle to explore the gamut of astrobiology, we focus on its most import factor for sustainability: the mean lifetime of an ensemble of Species with Energy-Intensive Technology (SWEIT). We then cast the problem into the language of dynamical system theory and introduce the concept of a trajectory bundle for SWEIT evolution and discuss how astrobiological results usefully inform the creation of dynamical equations, their constraints and initial conditions. Three specific examples of how astrobiological considerations can be folded into discussions of sustainability are discussed: (1) concepts of planetary habitability, (2) mass extinctions and their possible...

  20. From Fossils to Astrobiology Records of Life on Earth and Search for Extraterrestrial Biosignatures

    CERN Document Server

    Seckbach, Joseph

    2008-01-01

    From Fossils to Astrobiology reviews developments in paleontology and geobiology that relate to the rapidly-developing field of Astrobiology, the study of life in the Universe. Many traditional areas of scientific study, including astronomy, chemistry and planetary science, contribute to Astrobiology, but the study of the record of life on planet Earth is critical in guiding investigations in the rest of the cosmos. In this varied book, expert scientists from 15 countries present peer-reviewed, stimulating reviews of paleontological and astrobiological studies. The overviews of established and emerging techniques for studying modern and ancient microorganisms on Earth and beyond, will be valuable guides to evaluating biosignatures which could be found in the extraterrestrial surface or subsurface within the Solar System and beyond. This volume also provides discussion on the controversial reports of "nanobacteria" in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. It is a unique volume among Astrobiology monographs in focusi...

  1. Astrobiology at Arizona State University: An Overview of Accomplishments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farmer, Jack

    2005-01-01

    During our five years as an NAI charter member, Arizona State University sponsored a broadly-based program of research and training in Astrobiology to address the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Solar System. With such a large, diverse and active team, it is not possible in a reasonable space, to cover all details of progress made over the entire five years. The following paragraphs provide an overview update of the specific research areas pursued by the Arizona State University (ASU) Astrobiology team at the end of Year 5 and at the end of the 4 month and subsequent no cost month extensions. for a more detailed review, the reader is referred to the individual annual reports (and Executive Summaries) submitted to the NAI at the end of each of our five years of membership. Appended in electronic form is our complete publication record for all five years, plus a tabulation of undergraduates, graduate students and post-docs supported by our program during this time. The overarching theme of ASU s Astrobiology program was "Exploring the Living Universe: Studies of the Origin, Evolution and Distribution of Life in the Solar System". The NAi-funded research effort was organized under three basic sub- themes: 1. Origins of the Basic Building Blocks of Life. 2. Early Biosphere Evolution. and 3. Exploring for Life in the Solar System. These sub-theme areas were in turn, subdivided into Co-lead research modules. In the paragraphs that follow, accomplishments for individual research modules are briefly outlined, and the key participants presented in tabular form. As noted, publications for each module are appended in hard copy and digital formats, under the name(s) of lead co-Is.

  2. Brazilian research on extremophiles in the context of astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duarte, Rubens T. D.; Nóbrega, Felipe; Nakayama, Cristina R.; Pellizari, Vivian H.

    2012-10-01

    Extremophiles are organisms adapted to grow at extreme ranges of environmental variables, such as high or low temperatures, acid or alkaline medium, high salt concentration, high pressures and so forth. Most extremophiles are micro-organisms that belong to the Archaea and Bacteria domains, and are widely spread across the world, which include the polar regions, volcanoes, deserts, deep oceanic sediments, hydrothermal vents, hypersaline lakes, acid and alkaline water bodies, and other extreme environments considered hostile to human life. Despite the tropical climate, Brazil has a wide range of ecosystems which include some permanent or seasonally extreme environments. For example, the Cerrado is a biome with very low soil pH with high Al+3 concentration, the mangroves in the Brazilian coast are anaerobic and saline, Pantanal has thousands of alkaline-saline lakes, the Caatinga arid and hot soils and the deep sea sediments in the Brazilian ocean shelf. These environments harbour extremophilic organisms that, coupled with the high natural biodiversity in Brazil, could be explored for different purposes. However, only a few projects in Brazil intended to study the extremophiles. In the frame of astrobiology, for example, these organisms could provide important models for defining the limits of life and hypothesize about life outside Earth. Brazilian microbiologists have, however, studied the extremophilic micro-organisms inhabiting non-Brazilian environments, such as the Antarctic continent. The experience and previous results obtained from the Brazilian Antarctic Program (PROANTAR) provide important results that are directly related to astrobiology. This article is a brief synopsis of the Brazilian experience in researching extremophiles, indicating the most important results related to astrobiology and some future perspectives in this area.

  3. Astrobiology: guidelines and future missions plan for the international community

    Science.gov (United States)

    French, L.; Miller, D.

    The search for extra-terrestrial life has been going on ever since humans realized there was more to the Universe than just the Earth. These quests have taken many forms including, but not limited to: the quest for understanding the biological origins of life on Earth; the deployment of robotic probes to other planets to look for microbial life; the analysis of meteorites for chemical and fossil remnants of extra - terrestrial life; and the search of the radio spectrum for signs of extra-solar intelligence. These searches so far have yielded hints, but no unambiguous proof of life with origins from off Earth. The emerging field of astrobiology studies the origin, distribution, and future of life in the Universe. Technical advances and new, though not conclusive, evidence of extinct microbial life on Mars have created a new enthusiasm for astrobiology in many nations. However, the next steps to take are not clear, and should a positive result be returned, the follow-on missions are yet to be defined. This paper reports on the results of an eight-week study by the students of the International Space University during the summer of 2002. The study created a source book that can be used by mission designers and policy makers to chart the next steps in astrobiology. In particular, the study addresses the following questions:1.What is the full set of dimensions along which we can search forextra-terrestrial life?2.What activities are currently underway by the internationalcommunity along each of these dimensions?3.What are the most effective next steps that can be taken by theinternational space community in order to further this search (from a policy,sociological and mission point of view)?4.What are the proper steps for eliminating possible contaminationof the Earth's biosphere?5.What are the issues with planetary quarantine with regards tounwanted contamination of other biospheres with terrestrial organisms? Integrating all the considerations affecting the search for

  4. A possible first use of the word astrobiology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Briot, Danielle

    2012-12-01

    The word astrobiology was possibly first used in 1935, in an article published in a French popular science magazine. The author was Ary J. Sternfeld (1905-1980), a pioneer of astronautics who wrote numerous scientific books and papers. The article is remarkable because his portrayal of the concept is very similar to the way it is used today. Here I review the 1935 article and provide a brief history of Sternfeld's life, which was heavily influenced by the tragic events of 20(th) century history.

  5. An Ultrasonic Sampler and Sensor Platform for In-Situ Astrobiological Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bar-Cohen, Yoaz E.; Bao, X.; Chang, Z.; Sherrit, S.

    2003-01-01

    The search for existing or past life in the Universe is one of the most important objectives of NASA's mission. In support of this objective, ultrasonic based mechanisms are currently being developed at JPL to allow probing and sampling rocks as well as perform as a sensor platform for in-situ astrobiological analysis. The technology is based on the novel Ultrasonic/Sonic Driller/Corer (USDC), which requires low axial force, thereby overcoming one of the major limitations of planetary sampling in low gravity using conventional drills. The USDC was demonstrated to: 1) drill ice and various rocks including granite, diorite, basalt and limestone, 2) not require bit sharpening, and 3) operate at high and low temperatures. The capabilities that are being investigated including probing the ground to select sampling sites, collecting various forms of samples, and hosting sensors for measuring chemical/physical properties. A series of modifications of the USDC basic configuration were implemented leading an ultrasonic abrasion tool (URAT), Ultrasonic Gopher for deep Drilling, and the lab-on-a-drill.

  6. Hypervelocity Impact Experiments in the Laboratory Relating to Lunar Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burchell, M. J.; Parnell, J.; Bowden, S. A.; Crawford, I. A.

    2010-12-01

    The results of a set of laboratory impact experiments (speeds in the range 1-5 km s-1) are reviewed. They are discussed in the context of terrestrial impact ejecta impacting the Moon and hence lunar astrobiology through using the Moon to learn about the history of life on Earth. A review of recent results indicates that survival of quite complex organic molecules can be expected in terrestrial meteorites impacting the lunar surface, but they may have undergone selective thermal processing both during ejection from the Earth and during lunar impact. Depending on the conditions of the lunar impact (speed, angle of impact etc.) the shock pressures generated can cause significant but not complete sterilisation of any microbial load on a meteorite (e.g. at a few GPa 1-0.1% of the microbial load can survive, but at 20 GPa this falls to typically 0.01-0.001%). For more sophisticated biological products such as seeds (trapped in rocks) the lunar impact speeds generate shock pressures that disrupt the seeds (experiments show this occurs at approximately 1 GPa or semi-equivalently 1 km s-1). Overall, the delivery of terrestrial material of astrobiological interest to the Moon is supported by these experiments, although its long term survival on the Moon is a separate issue not discussed here.

  7. A Novel Penetration System for in situ Astrobiological Studies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yang Gao

    2008-11-01

    Full Text Available Due to ultraviolet flux in the surface layers of most solar bodies, future astrobiological research is increasingly seeking to conduct subsurface penetration and drilling to detect chemical signature for extant or extinct life. To address this issue, we present a micro-penetrator concept (mass < 10 kg that is suited for extraterrestrial planetary deployment and in situ investigation of chemical and physical properties. The instrumentation in this concept is a bio-inspired drill to access material beneath sterile surface layer for biomarker detection. The proposed drill represents a novel concept of two-valve-reciprocating motion, inspired by the working mechanism of wood wasp ovipositors. It is lightweight (0.5 kg, driven at low power (3 W, and able to drill deep (1-2 m. Tests have shown that the reciprocating drill is feasible and has potential of improving drill efficiency without using any external force. The overall penetration system provides a small, light and energy efficient solution to in situ astrobiological studies, which is crucial for space engineering. Such a micro-penetrator can be used for exploration of terrestrial-type planets or other small bodies of the solar system with the minimum of modifications.

  8. A web based semi automatic frame work for astrobiological researches

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P.V. Arun

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Astrobiology addresses the possibility of extraterrestrial life and explores measures towards its recognition. Researches in this context are founded upon the premise that indicators of life encountered in space will be recognizable. However, effective recognition can be accomplished through a universal adaptation of life signatures without restricting solely to those attributes that represent local solutions to the challenges of survival. The life indicators should be modelled with reference to temporal and environmental variations specific to each planet and time. In this paper, we investigate a semi-automatic open source frame work for the accurate detection and interpretation of life signatures by facilitating public participation, in a similar way as adopted by SETI@home project. The involvement of public in identifying patterns can bring a thrust to the mission and is implemented using semi-automatic framework. Different advanced intelligent methodologies may augment the integration of this human machine analysis. Automatic and manual evaluations along with dynamic learning strategy have been adopted to provide accurate results. The system also helps to provide a deep public understanding about space agency’s works and facilitate a mass involvement in the astrobiological studies. It will surely help to motivate young eager minds to pursue a career in this field.

  9. A Novel Penetration System for in situ Astrobiological Studies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yang Gao

    2005-12-01

    Full Text Available Due to ultraviolet flux in the surface layers of most solar bodies, future astrobiological research is increasingly seeking to conduct subsurface penetration and drilling to detect chemical signature for extant or extinct life. To address this issue, we present a micro-penetrator concept (mass < 10 kg that is suited for extraterrestrial planetary deployment and in situ investigation of chemical and physical properties. The instrumentation in this concept is a bio-inspired drill to access material beneath sterile surface layer for biomarker detection. The proposed drill represents a novel concept of two-valve-reciprocating motion, inspired by the working mechanism of wood wasp ovipositors. It is lightweight (0.5 kg, driven at low power (3 W, and able to drill deep (1-2 m. Tests have shown that the reciprocating drill is feasible and has potential of improving drill efficiency without using any external force. The overall penetration system provides a small, light and energy efficient solution to in situ astrobiological studies, which is crucial for space engineering. Such a micro-penetrator can be used for exploration of terrestrial-type planets or other small bodies of the solar system with the minimum of modifications.

  10. Astrobiology : is humankind ready for the next revolution ?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnould, Jacques

    2012-07-01

    The discovery of a first exoplanet, in 1995, did not revolutionize but knocked astronomical sciences over. At the same time, by opening new prospects of research, in particular in the search of planets similar to the Earth and in a possible extraterrestrial life, this discovery, since then abundantly repeated, gave a new breath to the public interest for this scientific field. But is humanity ready to learn the existence from extraterrestrial forms of life or to remain, in spite of its efforts, in ignorance? The question of the plurality of the worlds is one of the oldest interrogations conveyed by the human cultures, as testified by the multiple answers which were brought to it. In the same way, the concept of life is itself an inexhaustible source of philosophical and religious reflexions, with many consequences in moral domains. It is today necessary to accompany the scientific development in the field of astrobiology by attaching the greatest importance to this intellectual patrimony. It constitutes even one of the first stages of an ethical responsibility in astrobiology, as important as that concerning planetary protection.

  11. Is it the first use of the word Astrobiology ?

    CERN Document Server

    Briot, Danielle

    2012-01-01

    The research of life in Universe is a ancient quest that has taken different forms over the centuries. It has given rise to a new science, which is normally referred as Astrobiology. It is interesting to research when this word was used for the first time and when this science developed to represent the search for life in Universe as is done today. There are records of the usage of the word "Astrobiology" as early as 1935, in an article published in a French popular science magazine. Moreover this article is quite remarkable because its portrayal of the concept of the subject is very similar to that considered today. The author of this paper was Ary J. Sternfeld (1905 - 1980), who was ortherwise known as a poorly respected great pioneer of astronautics. We provide a brief description of his life, which was heavily influenced by the tragic events of the 20th century history, from Poland and France to Russia. He was a prolific scientific writer who wrote a number of very successful scientific books and papers.

  12. Finding Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) Destinations for Human Exploration: Implications for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landis, Rob; Abell, Paul; Barbee, Brent; Johnson, Lindley

    2012-01-01

    The current number of known potential NEA targets for HSF is limited to those objects whose orbital characteristics are similar to that of the Earth. This is due to the projected capabilities of the exploration systems currently under consideration and development at NASA. However, NEAs with such orbital characteristics often have viewing geometries that place them at low solar elongations and thus are difficult to detect from the vicinity of Earth. While ongoing ground-based surveys and data archives maintained by the NEO Program Observation Program Office and the Minor Planet Center (MPC) have provided a solid basis upon which to build, a more complete catalog of the NEO population is required to inform a robust and sustainable HSF exploration program. Since all the present NEO observing assets are currently confined to the vicinity of the Earth, additional effort must be made to provide capabilities for detection of additional HSF targets via assets beyond Earth orbit. A space-based NEO survey telescope located beyond the vicinity of the Earth, has considerable implications for planetary science and astrobiology. Such a telescope will provide foundational knowledge of our Solar System small body population and detect targets of interest for both the HSF and scientific communities. Data from this asset will yield basic characterization data on the NEOs observed (i.e., albedo, size determination, potential for volatiles and organics, etc.) and help down select targets for future HSF missions. Ideally, the most attractive targets from both HSF and astrobiology perspectives are those NEAs that may contain organic and volatile materials, and which could be effectively sampled at a variety of locations and depths. Presented here is an overview of four space-based survey concepts; any one of which after just a few years of operation will discover many highly accessible NEO targets suitable for robotic and human exploration. Such a space-based survey mission will reveal

  13. Secondary School Students' Knowledge and Opinions on Astrobiology Topics and Related Social Issues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oreiro, Raquel; Solbes, Jordi

    2017-01-01

    Astrobiology is the study of the origin of life on Earth and the distribution of life in the Universe. Its multidisciplinary approach, social and philosophical implications, and appeal within the discipline and beyond make astrobiology a uniquely qualified subject for general science education. In this study, student knowledge and opinions on astrobiology topics were investigated. Eighty-nine students in their last year of compulsory education (age 15) completed a written questionnaire that consisted of 10 open questions on the topic of astrobiology. The results indicate that students have significant difficulties understanding the origin of life on Earth, despite exposure to the topic by way of the assigned textbooks. The students were often unaware of past or present achievements in the search for life within the Solar System and beyond, topics that are far less commonly seen in textbooks. Student questionnaire answers also indicated that students had problems in reasoning and critical thinking when asked for their opinions on issues such as the potential for life beyond Earth, the question of whether UFOs exist, or what our place is in the Universe. Astrobiology might help initiate student awareness as to current thinking on these matters and should be considered for general science education. Key Words: Astrobiology-Students' views-Science education. Astrobiology 17, 91-99.

  14. On the parallels between cosmology and astrobiology: a transdisciplinary approach to the search for extraterrestrial life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santos, Charles Morphy D.; Alabi, Leticia P.; Friaça, Amâncio C. S.; Galante, Douglas

    2016-10-01

    The establishment of cosmology as a science provides a parallel to the building-up of the scientific status of astrobiology. The rise of astrobiological studies is explicitly based on a transdisciplinary approach that reminds of the Copernican Revolution, which eroded the basis of a closed Aristotelian worldview and reinforced the notion that the frontiers between disciplines are artificial. Given the intrinsic complexity of the astrobiological studies, with its multifactorial evidences and theoretical/experimental approaches, multi- and interdisciplinary perspectives are mandatory. Insulated expertise cannot grasp the vastness of the astrobiological issues. This need for integration among disciplines and research areas is antagonistic to excessive specialization and compartmentalization, allowing astrobiology to be qualified as a truly transdisciplinary enterprise. The present paper discusses the scientific status of astrobiological studies, based on the view that every kind of life, Earth-based or not, should be considered in a cosmic context. A confluence between 'astro' and 'bio' seeks the understanding of life as an emerging phenomenon in the universe. Thus, a new epistemological niche is opened, pointing to the development of a pluralistic vision for the philosophy of astrobiology.

  15. Hacia una filosofía de la astrobiología

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberto Aretxaga-Burgos

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Tomando como fundamento la historia y literatura astrobiológicas, exploramos la posibilidad y necesidad de una Filosofía de la Astrobiología, proponemos una definición de Filosofía de la Astrobiología y su consideración como subdisciplina de la Filosofía de la Ciencia, distinta de la Filosofía de la Biología. Incluimos una bibliografía para una Filosofía de la Astrobiología.

  16. The astrobiological potential of Titan and Enceladus through the atmosphere-surface connection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Coustenis, Athena; Raulin, Francois; Solomonidou, Anezina; Bampasidis, Georgios

    2012-07-01

    interiors, determining the pre- and proto-biotic chemistry that may be occurring on both objects, and deriving constraints on the satellites' origin and evolution, both individually and in the context of the complex Saturnian system as a whole [13]. In this study we present a comparative case for the astrobiological potential of the Saturnian moons in view of current and future exploration capabilities. References: [1] Coustenis, A. et al. (2012) submitted; [2] Bampasidis, G., et al. (2012), in preparation; [3] McKay, C.P. and Smith, H.D. (2005) Icarus, 178, 274-276; [4] Clark, R.N. et al. (2010) JGR, 115, E10005; [5] Strobel, D.F. (2010) Icarus, 208, 878-886; [6] Solomonidou, A. et al. (2012). In preparation; [7] Hirtzig, M. et al. (2012). In preparation; [8] Dougherty, M.K. et al. (2006) Science, 311, 1406-1409; [9] Waite, J.H. et al. (2006) Science, 311, 1419-1422; [10] Coustenis, A. et al. (2011) COLE book chapter, submitted; [11] Coustenis, A. et al. (2009) The Joint NASA-ESA Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM) Study. 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 1060~; [12] Stofan, E. et al. (2010) 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, No. 1533, p.1236; [13] Coustenis, A. et al. (2009) Experimental Astronomy, 23, 893-946.

  17. NASA Network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carter, David; Wetzel, Scott

    2000-01-01

    The NASA Network includes nine NASA operated and partner operated stations covering North America, the west coast of South America, the Pacific, and Western Australia . A new station is presently being setup in South Africa and discussions are underway to add another station in Argentina. NASA SLR operations are supported by Honeywell Technical Solutions, Inc (HTSI), formally AlliedSignal Technical Services, The University of Texas, the University of Hawaii and Universidad Nacional de San Agustin.

  18. Innovation @ NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roman, Juan A.

    2014-01-01

    This presentation provides an overview of the activities National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is doing to encourage innovation across the agency. All information provided is available publicly.

  19. planetaria como de la astrobiología

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miguel Alcíbar-Cuello

    2007-01-01

    Full Text Available En este artículo se exponen algunos de los recursos didácticos que han sido concebidos para facilitar el aprendizaje de distintos aspectos de la Exploración Planetaria y, en concreto, de la Astrobiología como área transdisciplinar de conocimientos. El interés más evidente que presentan estos materiales didácticos, además de tener una vocación interactiva, es que combinan contenidos científicotecnológicos con cuestiones de índole metodológica, lo que proporciona al estudiante una visión más reflexiva del modus operandi de la investigación científica.

  20. Astrobiologically Interesting Stars within 10 parsecs of the Sun

    CERN Document Server

    De Mello, G F P; Ghezzi, L

    2006-01-01

    The existence of life based on carbon chemistry and water oceans relies upon planetary properties, chiefly climate stability, and stellar properties, such as mass, age, metallicity and Galactic orbits. The latter can be well constrained with present knowledge. We present a detailed, up-to-date compilation of the atmospheric parameters, chemical composition, multiplicity and degree of chromospheric activity for the astrobiologically interesting solar-type stars within 10 parsecs of the Sun. We determine their state of evolution, masses, ages and space velocities, and produce an optimized list of candidates that merit serious scientific consideration by the future space-based interferometry probes aimed at directly detecting Earth-sized extrasolar planets and seeking spectroscopic infrared biomarkers as evidence of photosynthetic life. The initially selected stars number 33 solar-type within the population of 182 stars (excluding late M-dwarfs) closer than 10 pc. A comprehensive and detailed data compilation fo...

  1. Ethical issues in astrobiology: a Christian perspective (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Randolph, R. O.

    2009-12-01

    With its focus on the origin, extent, and future of life, Astrobiology raises exciting, multidisciplinary questions for science. At the same time, Astrobiology raises important questions for the humanities. For instance, the prospect of discovering extraterrestrial life - either intelligent or unintelligent - raises questions about humans’ place in the universe and our relationship with nature on planet Earth. Fundamentally, such questions are rooted in our understanding of what it means to be human. From a Christian perspective, the foundational claim about human nature is that all persons bear the "imago dei", the image of God. This concept forms the basis for how humans relate to one another (dignity) and how humans relate to nature (stewardship). For many Christians the "imago dei" also suggests that humans are at the center of the universe. The discovery of extraterrestrial life would be another scientific development - similar to evolution - that essentially de-centers humanity. For some Christian perspectives this de-centering may be problematic, but I will argue that the discovery of extraterrestrial life would actually offer a much needed theological corrective for contemporary Christians’ understanding of the "imago dei". I will make this argument by examining two clusters of ethical issues confronting Astrobiology: 1. What ethical obligations would human explorers owe to extraterrestrial life? Are there ethical obligations to protect extraterrestrial ecosystems from harm or exploitation by human explorers? Do our ethical considerations change, if the extraterrestrial life is a “second genesis;” in other words a form of life completely different and independent from the carbon-based life that we know on Earth? 2. Do we have an ethical obligation to promote life as much as we can? If human explorers discover extraterrestrial life and through examination determine that it is struggling to survive, do we have an ethical obligation to assist that

  2. Question 2: relation of panspermia-hypothesis to astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zagorski, Zbigniew Pawel

    2007-10-01

    In the answer to major questions of astrobiology and chirality, the panspermia-hypothesis is often discussed as the only proposal of transportation of life to the Earth. On the basis of the known presence of ionizing radiation in the space, assumed on the level calculated by Clark (Orig Life Evol Biosph 31:185-197, 2001), the hypothesis is rejected as the explanation of origins of life on Earth. In fact, comparatively low doses of radiation sterilize irreversibly all biological material. Sufficiently long sojourn in space of objects containing prebiotic chemical blocks also does not contribute to the origins of life on Earth, because of elimination of homochirality, if any, and of radiation induced reactions of dehydrogenation, decarboxylation and deamination of chemical compounds closing with complete decomposition of organics, leaving elementary nano-carbon and/or minerals like calcium carbonate.

  3. Alien life matters: reflections on cosmopolitanism, otherness, and astrobiology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andre Novoa

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available This is a synaptic paper that invites the reader to take a stroll on the edges of cross-disciplinary knowledge. We will walk the roads of anthropology, history, philosophy, astronomy and biology. It is mainly a theoretical article, where I attempt to provide links between authors and theories that were, at first sight, unrelated. In doing so, this paper is aimed at making one controversial claim: ideologically and politically speaking, cosmopolitanism may never fully transcend itself beyond a debate until and unless humankind encounters alien life forms. The argument is based on a simple equation. Despite all the quarrels and debates around the concept, it seems innocuous to assume that cosmopolitanism is the search for a certain universal identity or, at least, a search for a common culturalia, i.e. the cultural grounds wherein local and global senses of universalism come into being (section 2. In spite of the fact that identities are built in opposition and supported by difference (section 3, cosmopolitanism might only be possible as a political project (cosmopolitics when humankind is faced with life forms that are capable of providing true Otherness. I believe that this may explain why we have been fascinated by the utopias of extra-terrestrials for many centuries now (section 4. These utopias are present in a diverse array of knowledges, ranging from science to art, literature or even religion. They have been around for at least 500 years. Until now, all of them have been trapped in the realm of imagination, but there is one concrete cluster of knowledge that has attempted to transpose these imaginings into reality: the promising discipline of astrobiology. Astrobiology is mainly troubled by the de-naturalisation of Earth in order to create analogues for the study of life elsewhere in the cosmos. Provocatively, I end up this paper stating that this may well be the most cosmopolitical practice available to us (section 5.

  4. Definition of Astrobiology with Liquid Phase Change and Dynamic Cyclic Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miura, Yas.

    2010-04-01

    Definition of astrobiology is required for three factors of combined inorganic and organic materials of fossils, dynamic changes of gas-liquid-solid phases as min-water Earth with cycle, and space and time factors also in deep space.

  5. Biomolecule Sequencer: Nanopore Sequencing Technology for In-Situ Environmental Monitoring and Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    John, K. K.; Botkin, D. J.; Burton, A. S.; Castro-Wallace, S. L.; Chaput, J. D.; Dworkin, J. P.; Lupisella, M. L.; Mason, C. E.; Rubins, K. H.; Smith, D. J.; Stahl, S.; Switzer, C.

    2016-10-01

    Biomolecule Sequencer will demonstrate, for the first time, that DNA sequencing is feasible as a tool for in-situ environmental monitoring and astrobiology. A space-based sequencer could identify microbes, diseases, and help detect DNA-based life.

  6. NASA New England Outreach Center

    Science.gov (United States)

    2002-01-01

    The NASA New England Outreach Center in Nashua, New Hampshire was established to serve as a catalyst for heightening regional business awareness of NASA procurement, technology and commercialization opportunities. Emphasis is placed on small business participation, with the highest priority given to small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned businesses, HUBZone businesses, service disabled veteran owned businesses, and historically black colleges and universities and minority institutions. The Center assists firms and organizations to understand NASA requirements and to develop strategies to capture NASA related procurement and technology opportunities. The establishment of the NASA Outreach Center serves to stimulate business in a historically underserved area. NASA direct business awards have traditionally been highly present in the West, Midwest, South, and Southeast areas of the United States. The Center guides and assists businesses and organizations in the northeast to target opportunities within NASA and its prime contractors and capture business and technology opportunities. The Center employs an array of technology access, one-on-one meetings, seminars, site visits, and targeted conferences to acquaint Northeast firms and organizations with representatives from NASA and its prime contractors to learn about and discuss opportunities to do business and access the inventory of NASA technology. This stimulus of interaction also provides firms and organizations the opportunity to propose the use of their developed technology and ideas for current and future requirements at NASA. The Center provides a complement to the NASA Northeast Regional Technology Transfer Center in developing prospects for commercialization of NASA technology. In addition, the Center responds to local requests for assistance and NASA material and documents, and is available to address immediate concerns and needs in assessing opportunities, timely support to interact with NASA Centers on

  7. Proceedings of the Astrobiology Science Conference 2010. Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    The Program of the 2010 Astrobiology Science Conference: Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond, included sessions on: 50 Years of Exobiology and Astrobiology: Greatest Hits; Extraterrestrial Molecular Evolution and Pre-Biological Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Solar System I; Human Exploration, Astronaut Health; Diversity in Astrobiology Research and Education; Titan: Past, Present, and Future; Energy Flow in Microbial Ecosystems; Extraterrestrial Molecular Evolution and Prebiological Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Solar System II; Astrobiology in Orbit; Astrobiology and Interdisciplinary Communication; Science from Rio Tinto: An Acidic Environment; Can We Rule Out Spontaneous Generation of RNA as the Key Step in the Origin of Life?; How Hellish Was the Hadean Earth?; Results from ASTEP and Other Astrobiology Field Campaigns I; Prebiotic Evolution: From Chemistry to Life I; Adaptation of Life in Hostile Space Environments; Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets I: Formation and Composition; Collaborative Tools and Technology for Astrobiology; Results from ASTEP and Other Astrobiology Field Campaigns II; Prebiotic Evolution: From Chemistry to Life II; Survival, Growth, and Evolution of Microrganisms in Model Extraterrestrial Environments; Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets II: Habitability and Life; Planetary Science Decadal Survey Update; Astrobiology Research Funding; Bioessential Elements Through Space and Time I; State of the Art in Life Detection; Terrestrial Evolution: Implications for the Past, Present, and Future of Life on Earth; Psychrophiles and Polar Environments; Life in Volcanic Environments: On Earth and Beyond; Geochronology and Astrobiology On and Off the Earth; Bioessential Elements Through Space and Time II; Origins and Evolution of Genetic Systems; Evolution of Advanced Life; Water-rich Asteroids and Moons: Composition and Astrobiological Potential; Impact Events and Evolution; A Warm, Wet

  8. Proceedings of the Astrobiology Science Conference 2010. Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    The Program of the 2010 Astrobiology Science Conference: Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond, included sessions on: 50 Years of Exobiology and Astrobiology: Greatest Hits; Extraterrestrial Molecular Evolution and Pre-Biological Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Solar System I; Human Exploration, Astronaut Health; Diversity in Astrobiology Research and Education; Titan: Past, Present, and Future; Energy Flow in Microbial Ecosystems; Extraterrestrial Molecular Evolution and Prebiological Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Solar System II; Astrobiology in Orbit; Astrobiology and Interdisciplinary Communication; Science from Rio Tinto: An Acidic Environment; Can We Rule Out Spontaneous Generation of RNA as the Key Step in the Origin of Life?; How Hellish Was the Hadean Earth?; Results from ASTEP and Other Astrobiology Field Campaigns I; Prebiotic Evolution: From Chemistry to Life I; Adaptation of Life in Hostile Space Environments; Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets I: Formation and Composition; Collaborative Tools and Technology for Astrobiology; Results from ASTEP and Other Astrobiology Field Campaigns II; Prebiotic Evolution: From Chemistry to Life II; Survival, Growth, and Evolution of Microrganisms in Model Extraterrestrial Environments; Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets II: Habitability and Life; Planetary Science Decadal Survey Update; Astrobiology Research Funding; Bioessential Elements Through Space and Time I; State of the Art in Life Detection; Terrestrial Evolution: Implications for the Past, Present, and Future of Life on Earth; Psychrophiles and Polar Environments; Life in Volcanic Environments: On Earth and Beyond; Geochronology and Astrobiology On and Off the Earth; Bioessential Elements Through Space and Time II; Origins and Evolution of Genetic Systems; Evolution of Advanced Life; Water-rich Asteroids and Moons: Composition and Astrobiological Potential; Impact Events and Evolution; A Warm, Wet

  9. Progress Toward an Enceladus Amino Acid Sampler Astrobiology Instrument

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirby, J. P.; Willis, P. A.; Blacksberg, J.

    2012-12-01

    The development of a new astrobiolgoy instrument for exploring the trace chemical composition of the Enceladus jets and plume, and the e-ring of Saturn is presented. The Enceladus amino acid sampler (EAAS) allows for detection of amino acids using optical Raman spectroscopy integrated with a sample pre-concentration system. The pre-concentration process facilitates the delivery of a sample to a mass spectrometer for detection of specific amino acids. The initial EAAS design utilizes lab-on-a-breadboard components where a sample inlet, sample outlet, reagents, controllers, pumps, valves and pre-concentration column for the EAAS prototype are all assembled on a 5" x 7" breadboard. The pre-concentration process is controlled using automation scripts and software. An optical window allows a Raman spectrometer to directly monitor the pre-concentration of amino acids in a filter/column loaded with of a strong cation exchange resin. Initial samples to demonstrate EAAS simulate the conditions of Don Juan Pond, one of the coldest and saltiest bodies of liquid water on Earth, located in the Wright Valley of Antarctica. This EAAS development is an important step toward a new type of astrobiology science instrument that is capable of operating on a spacecraft in flight or in orbit.

  10. Exoplanets - search methods, discoveries, and prospects for astrobiology

    CERN Document Server

    Jones, Barrie W

    2009-01-01

    Whereas the Solar System has Mars and Europa as the best candidates for finding fossil/extant life as we know it - based on complex carbon compounds and liquid water - the 263 (non-pulsar) planetary systems around other stars as known at 15 September 2008 could between them possess many more planets where life might exist. Moreover, the number of these exoplanetary systems is growing steadily, and with this growth there is an increase in the number of planets that could bear carbon-liquid water life. In this brief review the main methods by which exoplanets are being discovered are outlined, and then the discoveries that have so far been made are presented. Habitability is then discussed, and an outline presented of how a planet could be studied from afar to determine whether it is habitable, and whether it is indeed inhabited. This review is aimed at the astrobiology community, which spans many disciplines, few of which involve exoplanets. It is therefore at a basic level and concentrates on the major topics...

  11. Physics of Granular Materials: Investigations in Support of Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, John R.

    2002-01-01

    This publication list is submitted as a summary of the work conducted under Cooperative Agreement 1120. The goal of the 1120 research was to study granular materials within a planetary, astrophysical, and astrobiological context. This involved research on the physical, mechanical and electrostatic properties of granular systems, as well as the examination of these materials with atomic force microscopy and x-ray analysis. Instruments for analyzing said materials in planetary environments were developed, including the MECA (Mars Environment Compatibility Assessment) experiment for the MSP '01 lander, the ECHOS/MATADOR experiment for the MSP '03 lander, an ISRU experiment for the '03 lander, and MiniLEAP technology. Flight experiments for microgravity (Space Station and Shuttle) have also been developed for the study of granular materials. As expressed in the publications, work on 1120 encompassed laboratory research, theoretical modeling, field experiments, and flight experiments: a series of successful new models were developed for understanding the behavior of triboelectrostatically charged granular masses, and 4 separate instruments were selected for space flight. No inventions or patents were generated by the research under this Agreement.

  12. First Light from Extrasolar Planets and Implications for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, L. Jeremy; Seager, Sara; Harrington, Joseph; Deming, Drake

    2005-01-01

    The first light from an extrasolar planet was recently detected. These results, obtained for two transiting extrasolar planets at different infrared wavelengths, open a new era in the field of extrasolar planet detection and characterization because for the first time we can now detect planets beyond the solar system directly. Using the Spitzer Space Telescope at 24 microns, we observed the modulation of combined light (star plus planet) from the HD 209458 system as the planet disappeared behind the star during secondary eclipse and later re-emerged, thereby isolating the light from the planet. We obtained a planet-to-star ratio of 0.26% at 24 microns, corresponding to a brightness temperature of 1130 + / - 150 K. We will describe this result in detail, explain what it can tell us about the atmosphere of HD 209458 b, and discuss implications for the field of astrobiology. These results represent a significant step on the path to detecting terrestrial planets around other stars and in understanding their atmospheres in terms of composition and temperature.

  13. Astrobiology, space and the future age of discovery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blumberg, Baruch S

    2011-02-13

    Astrobiology is the study of the origins, evolution, distribution and future of life in the Universe, and specifically seeks to understand the origin of life and to test the hypothesis that life exists elsewhere than on Earth. There is a general mathematics, physics and chemistry; that is, scientific laws that obtain on Earth also do so elsewhere. Is there a general biology? Is the Universe life-rich or is Earth an isolated island of biology? Exploration in the Age of Enlightenment required the collection of data in unexplored regions and the use of induction and empiricism to derive models and natural laws. The current search for extra-terrestrial life has a similar goal, but with a much greater amount of data and with computers to help with management, correlations, pattern recognition and analysis. There are 60 active space missions, many of them aiding in the search for life. There is not a universally accepted definition of life, but there are a series of characteristics that can aid in the identification of life elsewhere. The study of locations on Earth with similarities to early Mars and other space objects could provide a model that can be used in the search for extra-terrestrial life.

  14. A Micro Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorter for Astrobiology Applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Platt, Donald W.; Hoover, Richard B.

    2009-01-01

    A micro-scale Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorter (microFACS) for astrobiology applications is under development. This device is designed to have a footprint of 7 cm x 7 cm x 4 cm and allow live-dead counts and sorting of cells that have fluorescent characteristics from staining. The FACS system takes advantage of microfluidics to create a cell sorter that can fit in the palm of the hand. A micron-scale channel allows cells to pass by a blue diode which causes emission of marker-expressed cells which are detected by a filtered photodetector. A small microcontroller then counts cells and operates high speed valves to select which chamber the cell is collected in (a collection chamber or a waste chamber). Cells with the expressed characteristic will be collected in the collection chamber. This system has been built and is currently being tested. We are also designing a system with integrated MEMS-based pumps and valves for a small and compact unit to fly on small satellite-based biology experiments.

  15. Life and the Universe: From Astrochemistry to Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allamandola, Louis J.

    2013-01-01

    Great strides have been made in our understanding of interstellar material thanks to advances in infrared astronomy and laboratory astrophysics. Ionized polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), shockingly large molecules by earlier astrochemical standards, are widespread and very abundant throughout much of the cosmos. In cold molecular clouds, the birthplace of planets and stars, interstellar atoms and molecules freeze onto extremely cold dust and ice particles forming mixed molecular ices dominated by simple species such as water, methanol, ammonia, and carbon monoxide. Within these clouds, and especially in the vicinity of star and planet forming regions, these ices and PAHs are processed by ultraviolet light and cosmic rays forming hundreds of far more complex species, some of biogenic interest. Eventually, these are delivered to primordial planets by comets and meteorites. As these materials are the building blocks of comets and related to carbonaceous micrometeorites, they are likely to be important sources of complex organic materials delivered to habitable planets (including the primordial Earth) and their composition may be related to the origin of life. This talk will focus on the chemical evolution of these cosmic materials and their relevance to astrobiology.

  16. NASA Bioreactor Demonstration System

    Science.gov (United States)

    2002-01-01

    Leland W. K. Chung (left), Director, Molecular Urology Therapeutics Program at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University, is principal investigator for the NASA bioreactor demonstration system (BDS-05). With him is Dr. Jun Shu, an assistant professor of Orthopedics Surgery from Kuming Medical University China. The NASA Bioreactor provides a low turbulence culture environment which promotes the formation of large, three-dimensional cell clusters. Due to their high level of cellular organization and specialization, samples constructed in the bioreactor more closely resemble the original tumor or tissue found in the body. The Bioreactor is rotated to provide gentle mixing of fresh and spent nutrient without inducing shear forces that would damage the cells. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC). NASA-sponsored bioreactor research has been instrumental in helping scientists to better understand normal and cancerous tissue development. In cooperation with the medical community, the bioreactor design is being used to prepare better models of human colon, prostate, breast and ovarian tumors. Cartilage, bone marrow, heart muscle, skeletal muscle, pancreatic islet cells, liver and kidney are just a few of the normal tissues being cultured in rotating bioreactors by investigators. Credit: Emory University.

  17. Secondary School Students' Knowledge and Opinions on Astrobiology Topics and Related Social Issues

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oreiro, Raquel; Solbes, Jordi

    2017-01-01

    Astrobiology is the study of the origin of life on Earth and the distribution of life in the Universe. Its multidisciplinary approach, social and philosophical implications, and appeal within the discipline and beyond make astrobiology a uniquely qualified subject for general science education. In this study, student knowledge and opinions on astrobiology topics were investigated. Eighty-nine students in their last year of compulsory education (age 15) completed a written questionnaire that consisted of 10 open questions on the topic of astrobiology. The results indicate that students have significant difficulties understanding the origin of life on Earth, despite exposure to the topic by way of the assigned textbooks. The students were often unaware of past or present achievements in the search for life within the Solar System and beyond, topics that are far less commonly seen in textbooks. Student questionnaire answers also indicated that students had problems in reasoning and critical thinking when asked for their opinions on issues such as the potential for life beyond Earth, the question of whether UFOs exist, or what our place is in the Universe. Astrobiology might help initiate student awareness as to current thinking on these matters and should be considered for general science education.

  18. Proceedings of the Astrobiology Science Conference 2010. Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    The Program of the 2010 Astrobiology Science Conference: Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond, included sessions on: 50 Years of Exobiology and Astrobiology: Greatest Hits; Extraterrestrial Molecular Evolution and Pre-Biological Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Solar System I; Human Exploration, Astronaut Health; Diversity in Astrobiology Research and Education; Titan: Past, Present, and Future; Energy Flow in Microbial Ecosystems; Extraterrestrial Molecular Evolution and Prebiological Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Solar System II; Astrobiology in Orbit; Astrobiology and Interdisciplinary Communication; Science from Rio Tinto: An Acidic Environment; Can We Rule Out Spontaneous Generation of RNA as the Key Step in the Origin of Life?; How Hellish Was the Hadean Earth?; Results from ASTEP and Other Astrobiology Field Campaigns I; Prebiotic Evolution: From Chemistry to Life I; Adaptation of Life in Hostile Space Environments; Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets I: Formation and Composition; Collaborative Tools and Technology for Astrobiology; Results from ASTEP and Other Astrobiology Field Campaigns II; Prebiotic Evolution: From Chemistry to Life II; Survival, Growth, and Evolution of Microrganisms in Model Extraterrestrial Environments; Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets II: Habitability and Life; Planetary Science Decadal Survey Update; Astrobiology Research Funding; Bioessential Elements Through Space and Time I; State of the Art in Life Detection; Terrestrial Evolution: Implications for the Past, Present, and Future of Life on Earth; Psychrophiles and Polar Environments; Life in Volcanic Environments: On Earth and Beyond; Geochronology and Astrobiology On and Off the Earth; Bioessential Elements Through Space and Time II; Origins and Evolution of Genetic Systems; Evolution of Advanced Life; Water-rich Asteroids and Moons: Composition and Astrobiological Potential; Impact Events and Evolution; A Warm, Wet

  19. Proceedings of the Astrobiology Science Conference 2010. Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    The Program of the 2010 Astrobiology Science Conference: Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond, included sessions on: 50 Years of Exobiology and Astrobiology: Greatest Hits; Extraterrestrial Molecular Evolution and Pre-Biological Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Solar System I; Human Exploration, Astronaut Health; Diversity in Astrobiology Research and Education; Titan: Past, Present, and Future; Energy Flow in Microbial Ecosystems; Extraterrestrial Molecular Evolution and Prebiological Chemistry: From the Interstellar Medium to the Solar System II; Astrobiology in Orbit; Astrobiology and Interdisciplinary Communication; Science from Rio Tinto: An Acidic Environment; Can We Rule Out Spontaneous Generation of RNA as the Key Step in the Origin of Life?; How Hellish Was the Hadean Earth?; Results from ASTEP and Other Astrobiology Field Campaigns I; Prebiotic Evolution: From Chemistry to Life I; Adaptation of Life in Hostile Space Environments; Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets I: Formation and Composition; Collaborative Tools and Technology for Astrobiology; Results from ASTEP and Other Astrobiology Field Campaigns II; Prebiotic Evolution: From Chemistry to Life II; Survival, Growth, and Evolution of Microrganisms in Model Extraterrestrial Environments; Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets II: Habitability and Life; Planetary Science Decadal Survey Update; Astrobiology Research Funding; Bioessential Elements Through Space and Time I; State of the Art in Life Detection; Terrestrial Evolution: Implications for the Past, Present, and Future of Life on Earth; Psychrophiles and Polar Environments; Life in Volcanic Environments: On Earth and Beyond; Geochronology and Astrobiology On and Off the Earth; Bioessential Elements Through Space and Time II; Origins and Evolution of Genetic Systems; Evolution of Advanced Life; Water-rich Asteroids and Moons: Composition and Astrobiological Potential; Impact Events and Evolution; A Warm, Wet

  20. NASA's computer science research program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larsen, R. L.

    1983-01-01

    Following a major assessment of NASA's computing technology needs, a new program of computer science research has been initiated by the Agency. The program includes work in concurrent processing, management of large scale scientific databases, software engineering, reliable computing, and artificial intelligence. The program is driven by applications requirements in computational fluid dynamics, image processing, sensor data management, real-time mission control and autonomous systems. It consists of university research, in-house NASA research, and NASA's Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS) and Institute for Computer Applications in Science and Engineering (ICASE). The overall goal is to provide the technical foundation within NASA to exploit advancing computing technology in aerospace applications.

  1. The Astrobiology Primer: An Outline of General Knowledge - Version 1, 2006

    CERN Document Server

    Mix, L J; Mandell, A M; Mosier, A C; Raymond, J; Raymond, S N; Stewart, F J; Von Braun, K; Zhaxybayeva, O; Billings, L; Cameron, V; Claire, M; Dick, G J; Domagal-Goldman, S D; Javaux, E J; Johnson, O J; Laws, C; Race, M S; Rask, J; Rummel, J D; Schelble, R T; Vance, S

    2006-01-01

    Astrobiology, the study of life as a planetary phenomenon, aims to understand the fundamental nature of life on earth and the possibility of life elsewhere. To achieve this goal, astrobiologists have initiated unprecedented communication between the disciplines of astronomy, biology, chemistry, and geology. The Astrobiology Primer has been created as a reference tool for those who are interested in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology. The field incorporates many diverse research endeavors, but it is our hope that this slim volume will present the reader with all he or she needs to know to become involved and to understand, at least at a fundamental level, the state of the art. Because of the great diversity of material, each section was written by a different author with a different expertise. The Primer was constructed collaboratively. Ninety researchers from around the world contributed information with regard to what they expected from other astrobiologists and what they would like to know themselv...

  2. Walk Through Solar System Times: An Exhibit with an Astrobiology Emphasis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheung, C. Y.

    2012-01-01

    In this astrobiology outreach project, we attempt to present the research of the Goddard Center for Astrobiology (GCA) in the context of the history of the Solar System. GCA research emphasizes the origin and formation of complex pre-biotic organic materials in extraterrestrial environments and explores whether the delivery of these primordial materials and water to the early Earth enabled the emergence and evolution of life. The content expounds on areas that are usually not touched upon in a timeline of the Earth's formation. The exhibit addresses the questions: How did our solar system form? How is the formation of our solar systems similar or different from others? How did the organic molecules we observe in space get to the Earth? What conditions are most suitable for life? We will address the issues and challenges of designing the exhibit and of explaining advanced astrobiology research topics to the public.

  3. Infrared Spectroscopy of Parent Volatiles in Comets: Implications for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    DiSanti, Michael A.

    2010-01-01

    Current cometary orbits provide information on their recent dynamical history. However, determining a given comet's formation region from its current dynamical state alone is complicated by radial migration in the proto-planetary disk and by dynamical interactions with the growing giant planets. Because comets reside for long periods of time in the outer Solar System, the ices contained in their nuclei (native ices) retain a relatively well-preserved footprint of when and where they formed, and this in turn can provide clues to conditions in the formation epoch. As a comet approaches the Sun, sublimation of its native ices releases parent volatiles into the coma where they can be measured spectroscopically. The past to - 15 years have seen the advent of infrared spectrometers with high sensitivity between about 2.8 and 5.0 micron, enabling a taxonomy among comets based on abundances of parent volatiles (e.g., H2O, CO, CH4, C2H6, HCN, CH30H, H2CO, NH3). Such molecules are of keen interest to Astrobiology, as they include important pre-biotic species that likely were required for the emergence of life on Earth and perhaps elsewhere. Approximately 20 comets have thus far been characterized, beginning with C/1996 82 (Hyakutake) in 1996. Molecular production rates are established through comparison of observed emission line intensities with those predicted by quantum mechanical fluorescence models. Abundances of parent volatiles (relative to H2O) vary among even the relatively small number of comets sampled, with the most volatile species (CO and CH4) displaying the largest variations. Techniques developed for measuring parent volatile abundances in comets will be discussed, as will possible implications for their formation.

  4. A Perspective on the Importance of Reproductive Mode in Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Doninck, Karine; Schön, Isa; Martens, Koen

    2003-12-01

    Reproduction is a vital characteristic of life, and sex is the most common reproductive mode in the eukaryotic world. Sex and reproduction are not necessarily linked mechanisms: Sexuality without reproduction exists, while several forms of asexual reproduction are known. The occurrence of sexuality itself is paradoxical, as it is very costly in evolutionary terms. Most of the hypotheses (more than 20) attempting to explain the prevalence of sex fall into two categories: Sex either creates good gene combinations for adaptation to environments or eliminates bad gene combinations counteracting the accumulation of mutations. In spite of this apparent wealth of beneficial effects of sex, asexuality is not rare. Most eukaryotic, asexual lineages are short-lived and can only persist through the presence of sexual roots, but at least two animal groups, bdelloid rotifers and darwinulid ostracods, seem to claim the status of ancient asexuals. Research on (a)sexuality is relevant to astrobiology in a number of ways. First, strong relationships between the origin and persistence of life in extreme environments and reproductive mode are known. Second, the "habitability" of nonterrestrial environments to life greatly depends on reproductive mode. Whereas asexuals can do equally well or better in harsh environments, they fail to adapt fast enough to changing abiotic and biotic environments. Third, it has been shown that plants reproduce mainly asexually in space, and sperm production and motility in some vertebrates are hampered. Both findings indicate that extraterrestrial life under conditions different from Earth might be dominated by asexual reproduction. Finally, for exchange of biological material between planets, the choice of reproductive mode will be important.

  5. Infrared Spectroscopy of Parent Volatiles in Comets: Implications for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    DiSanti, Michael A.

    2010-01-01

    Current cometary orbits provide information on their recent dynamical history. However, determining a given comet's formation region from its current dynamical state alone is complicated by radial migration in the proto-planetary disk and by dynamical interactions with the growing giant planets. Because comets reside for long periods of time in the outer Solar System, the ices contained in their nuclei (native ices) retain a relatively well-preserved footprint of when and where they formed, and this in turn can provide clues to conditions in the formation epoch. As a comet approaches the Sun, sublimation of its native ices releases parent volatiles into the coma where they can be measured spectroscopically. The past to - 15 years have seen the advent of infrared spectrometers with high sensitivity between about 2.8 and 5.0 micron, enabling a taxonomy among comets based on abundances of parent volatiles (e.g., H2O, CO, CH4, C2H6, HCN, CH30H, H2CO, NH3). Such molecules are of keen interest to Astrobiology, as they include important pre-biotic species that likely were required for the emergence of life on Earth and perhaps elsewhere. Approximately 20 comets have thus far been characterized, beginning with C/1996 82 (Hyakutake) in 1996. Molecular production rates are established through comparison of observed emission line intensities with those predicted by quantum mechanical fluorescence models. Abundances of parent volatiles (relative to H2O) vary among even the relatively small number of comets sampled, with the most volatile species (CO and CH4) displaying the largest variations. Techniques developed for measuring parent volatile abundances in comets will be discussed, as will possible implications for their formation.

  6. NASA metric transition plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    NASA science publications have used the metric system of measurement since 1970. Although NASA has maintained a metric use policy since 1979, practical constraints have restricted actual use of metric units. In 1988, an amendment to the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 required the Federal Government to adopt the metric system except where impractical. In response to Public Law 100-418 and Executive Order 12770, NASA revised its metric use policy and developed this Metric Transition Plan. NASA's goal is to use the metric system for program development and functional support activities to the greatest practical extent by the end of 1995. The introduction of the metric system into new flight programs will determine the pace of the metric transition. Transition of institutional capabilities and support functions will be phased to enable use of the metric system in flight program development and operations. Externally oriented elements of this plan will introduce and actively support use of the metric system in education, public information, and small business programs. The plan also establishes a procedure for evaluating and approving waivers and exceptions to the required use of the metric system for new programs. Coordination with other Federal agencies and departments (through the Interagency Council on Metric Policy) and industry (directly and through professional societies and interest groups) will identify sources of external support and minimize duplication of effort.

  7. Astrobiological aspects of Mars and human presence: pros and cons.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horneck, G

    2008-08-01

    After the realization of the International Space Station, human exploratory missions to Moon or Mars, i.e. beyond low Earth orbit, are widely considered as the next logical step of peaceful cooperation in space on a global scale. Besides the human desire to extend the window of habitability, human exploratory missions are driven by several aspects of science, technology, culture and economy. Mars is currently considered as a major target in the search for life beyond the Earth. Understanding the history of water on Mars appears to be one of the clues to the puzzle on the probability of life on Mars. On Earth microorganisms have flourished for more than 3.5 Ga and have developed strategies to cope with so-called extreme conditions (e.g., hot vents, permafrost, subsurface regions, rocks or salt crystals). Therefore, in search for life on Mars, microorganisms are the most likely candidates for a putative biota on Mars and the search for morphological or chemical signatures of life or its relics is one of the primary and most exciting goals of Mars exploration. The presence of humans on the surface of Mars will substantially increase this research potential, e.g., by supporting deep subsurface drilling and by allowing intellectual collection and sophisticated in situ analysis of samples of astrobiological interest. On the other hand, such long-duration missions beyond LEO will add a new dimension to human space flight, concerning the distance of travel, the radiation environment, the gravity levels, the duration of the mission, and the level of confinement and isolation the crew will be exposed to. This will raise the significance of several health issues, above all radiation protection, gravity related effects as well as psychological issues. Furthermore, the import of internal and external microorganisms inevitably accompanying any human mission to Mars, or brought purposely to Mars as part of a bioregenerative life support system needs careful consideration with

  8. NASA Astrophysics Technology Needs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stahl, H. Philip

    2012-01-01

    July 2010, NASA Office of Chief Technologist (OCT) initiated an activity to create and maintain a NASA integrated roadmap for 15 key technology areas which recommend an overall technology investment strategy and prioritize NASA?s technology programs to meet NASA?s strategic goals. Science Instruments, Observatories and Sensor Systems(SIOSS) roadmap addresses technology needs to achieve NASA?s highest priority objectives -- not only for the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), but for all of NASA.

  9. Laboratory Studies of Extraterrestrial Ices and PAHs: Making an Astrobiological Silk Purse out of an Interstellar Sow s Ear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hudgins, D.

    . In addition, we will explore the chemistry of PAHs under these conditions and consider its potential for transforming that rich repository of pre-biotic organic "ore" into materials of greater importance to Astrobiology. Further information about the research activities of the NASA Ames Astrochemistry Laboratory can be found on our web site at http://www.astrochemistry.org.

  10. NASA Bioreactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Bioreactor Demonstration System (BDS) comprises an electronics module, a gas supply module, and the incubator module housing the rotating wall vessel and its support systems. Nutrient media are pumped through an oxygenator and the culture vessel. The shell rotates at 0.5 rpm while the irner filter typically rotates at 11.5 rpm to produce a gentle flow that ensures removal of waste products as fresh media are infused. Periodically, some spent media are pumped into a waste bag and replaced by fresh media. When the waste bag is filled, an astronaut drains the waste bag and refills the supply bag through ports on the face of the incubator. Pinch valves and a perfusion pump ensure that no media are exposed to moving parts. An Experiment Control Computer controls the Bioreactor, records conditions, and alerts the crew when problems occur. The crew operates the system through a laptop computer displaying graphics designed for easy crew training and operation. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC). NASA-sponsored bioreactor research has been instrumental in helping scientists to better understand normal and cancerous tissue development. In cooperation with the medical community, the bioreactor design is being used to prepare better models of human colon, prostate, breast and ovarian tumors. Cartilage, bone marrow, heart muscle, skeletal muscle, pancreatic islet cells, liver and kidney are just a few of the normal tissues being cultured in rotating bioreactors by investigators. See No. 0101825 for a version with major elements labeled, and No. 0103180 for an operational schematic. 0101816

  11. NASA Bioreactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Bioreactor Demonstration System (BDS) comprises an electronics module, a gas supply module, and the incubator module housing the rotating wall vessel and its support systems. Nutrient media are pumped through an oxygenator and the culture vessel. The shell rotates at 0.5 rpm while the irner filter typically rotates at 11.5 rpm to produce a gentle flow that ensures removal of waste products as fresh media are infused. Periodically, some spent media are pumped into a waste bag and replaced by fresh media. When the waste bag is filled, an astronaut drains the waste bag and refills the supply bag through ports on the face of the incubator. Pinch valves and a perfusion pump ensure that no media are exposed to moving parts. An Experiment Control Computer controls the Bioreactor, records conditions, and alerts the crew when problems occur. The crew operates the system through a laptop computer displaying graphics designed for easy crew training and operation. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC). NASA-sponsored bioreactor research has been instrumental in helping scientists to better understand normal and cancerous tissue development. In cooperation with the medical community, the bioreactor design is being used to prepare better models of human colon, prostate, breast and ovarian tumors. Cartilage, bone marrow, heart muscle, skeletal muscle, pancreatic islet cells, liver and kidney are just a few of the normal tissues being cultured in rotating bioreactors by investigators. See No. 0101825 for a version with major elements labeled, and No. 0103180 for an operational schematic. 0101816

  12. NASA Bioreactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller (BSTC) will cultivate cells until their turn in the bioreactor; it can also be used in culturing experiments that do not require the bioreactor. The BSTC comprises four incubation/refrigeration chambers individually set at 4 to 50 deg. C (near-freezing to above body temperature). Each chamber holds three rugged tissue chamber modules (12 total), clear Teflon bags holding 30 ml of growth media, all positioned by a metal frame. Every 7 to 21 days (depending on growth rates), an astronaut uses a shrouded syringe and the bags' needleless injection ports to transfer a few cells to a fresh media bag, and to introduce a fixative so that the cells may be studied after flight. The design also lets the crew sample the media to measure glucose, gas, and pH levels, and to inspect cells with a microscope. The controller is monitored by the flight crew through a 23-cm (9-inch) color computer display on the face of the BSTC. This view shows the BTSC with the front panel open. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC). NASA-sponsored bioreactor research has been instrumental in helping scientists to better understand normal and cancerous tissue development. In cooperation with the medical community, the bioreactor design is being used to prepare better models of human colon, prostate, breast and ovarian tumors. Cartilage, bone marrow, heart muscle, skeletal muscle, pancreatic islet cells, liver and kidney are just a few of the normal tissues being cultured in rotating bioreactors by investigators.

  13. NASA Schedule Management Handbook

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-01

    The purpose of schedule management is to provide the framework for time-phasing, resource planning, coordination, and communicating the necessary tasks within a work effort. The intent is to improve schedule management by providing recommended concepts, processes, and techniques used within the Agency and private industry. The intended function of this handbook is two-fold: first, to provide guidance for meeting the scheduling requirements contained in NPR 7120.5, NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements, NPR 7120.7, NASA Information Technology and Institutional Infrastructure Program and Project Requirements, NPR 7120.8, NASA Research and Technology Program and Project Management Requirements, and NPD 1000.5, Policy for NASA Acquisition. The second function is to describe the schedule management approach and the recommended best practices for carrying out this project control function. With regards to the above project management requirements documents, it should be noted that those space flight projects previously established and approved under the guidance of prior versions of NPR 7120.5 will continue to comply with those requirements until project completion has been achieved. This handbook will be updated as needed, to enhance efficient and effective schedule management across the Agency. It is acknowledged that most, if not all, external organizations participating in NASA programs/projects will have their own internal schedule management documents. Issues that arise from conflicting schedule guidance will be resolved on a case by case basis as contracts and partnering relationships are established. It is also acknowledged and understood that all projects are not the same and may require different levels of schedule visibility, scrutiny and control. Project type, value, and complexity are factors that typically dictate which schedule management practices should be employed.

  14. Life in the Cosmic Context. An Astrobiology Course as an Experiment in Transdisciplinarity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friaça, A. C. S.; Janot Pacheco, E.

    2014-10-01

    ``Life in the Cosmic Context" (AGA0316) is the astrobiology course offered by University of São Paulo to undergraduate students of science and humanities majors. The variety of background of the population attending AGA0316 and the broad scope of the addresssed issues makes this course a laboratory of transdisciplinarity.

  15. Applicability of cryoconite consortia of microorganisms and glacier-dwelling animals in astrobiological studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zawierucha, Krzysztof; Ostrowska, Marta; Kolicka, Małgorzata

    2017-06-01

    For several years it has been of interest to astrobiologists to focus on Earth's glaciers as a habitat that can be similar to glaciers on other moons and planets. Microorganisms on glaciers form consortia - cryoconite granules (cryoconites). They are granular/spherical mineral particles connected with archaea, cyanobacteria, heterotrophic bacteria, algae, fungi, and micro animals (mainly Tardigrada and Rotifera). Cryophilic organisms inhabiting glaciers have been studied in different aspects: from taxonomy, ecology and biogeography, to searching of biotechnological potentials and physiological strategies to survive in extreme glacial habitats. However, they have never been used in astrobiological experiments. The main aim of this paper is brief review of literature and supporting assumptions that cryoconite granules and microinvertebrates on glaciers, are promising models in astrobiology for looking for analogies and survival strategies in terms of icy planets and moons. So far, astrobiological research have been conducted on single strains of prokaryotes or microinvertebrates but never on a consortium of them. Due to the hypothetical similarity of glaciers on the Earth to those on other planets these cryoconites consortia of microorganisms and glacier microinvertebrates may be applied in astrobiological experiments instead of the limno-terrestrial ones used currently. Those consortia and animals have qualities to use them in such studies and they may be the key to understanding how organisms are able to survive, reproduce and remain active at low temperatures.

  16. Limnological structure of Titan's hydrocarbon lakes and its astrobiological implication

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tokano, T.

    2008-09-01

    Saturn's largest moon Titan has long been considered a natural laboratory of prebiotic chemistry given the presence of a dense nitrogen-methane atmosphere and the likelihood of liquid hydrocarbons (e.g. [1]). Several putative liquid hydrocarbon lakes have been recently detected in the polar region of Titan by the Cassini radar [2]. Such lakes may contain organic sediments deposited from the atmosphere and promote further prebiotic chemistry driven by cosmic rays, by which more complex molecules such as nitrogenbearing organic polymer or azides could be produced. Even the possibility of methanogenic life consuming acetylene and hydrogen [3, 4] or silane-based life in hydrocarbon lakes [5] has been speculated. Any consideration of the astrobiological potential of Titan's lakes requires knowledge of the environmental setting of the lakes, as is common in studies of the origin of life on Earth. `Environmental setting' comprises, among others, the temporal variability in composition and temperature or the fate of lakes as such. I investigate the physical properties of the lake and their temporal evolution under present Titan's climatic setting by means of a 1-dimensional lake thermal stratification model [6]. Basic quantities predicted by the model are the lake temperature, density, composition, lake level and thickness of ice, if there is any. The prescribed initial composition of the lake is either pure methane or a methane-ethane-nitrogen mixture and two lake depths have been assumed. Modelling shows that the evolution of the lake primarily depends on the chemical composition of the lake and atmosphere and the balance between inflow and outflow. A pure methane lake rapidly freezes and eventually dries up by sublimation. A mixed lake containing a substantial amount of ethane can evaporate a large amount of methane if the ethane humidity in the atmosphere is not in equilibrium with the ethane concentration in the lake. This will change the lake composition and

  17. The NASA Technical Report Server

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Michael L.; Gottlich, Gretchen L.; Bianco, David J.; Paulson, Sharon S.; Binkley, Robert L.; Kellogg, Yvonne D.; Beaumont, Chris J.; Schmunk, Robert B.; Kurtz, Michael J.; Accomazzi, Alberto

    1995-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 established NASA and charged it to "provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof." The search for innovative methods to distribute NASA's information lead a grass-roots team to create the NASA Technical Report Server (NTRS), which uses the World Wide Web and other popular Internet-based information systems as search engines. The NTRS is an inter-center effort which provides uniform access to various distributed publication servers residing on the Internet. Users have immediate desktop access to technical publications from NASA centers and institutes. The NTRS is comprised of several units, some constructed especially for inclusion in NTRS, and others that are existing NASA publication services that NTRS reuses. This paper presents the NTRS architecture, usage metrics, and the lessons learned while implementing and maintaining the service. The NTRS is largely constructed with freely available software running on existing hardware. NTRS builds upon existing hardware and software, and the resulting additional exposure for the body of literature contained ensures that NASA's institutional knowledge base will continue to receive the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination.

  18. The Role of Synthetic Biology in NASA's Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2016-01-01

    The time has come to for NASA to exploit synthetic biology in pursuit of its missions, including aeronautics, earth science, astrobiology and most notably, human exploration. Conversely, NASA advances the fundamental technology of synthetic biology as no one else can because of its unique expertise in the origin of life and life in extreme environments, including the potential for alternate life forms. This enables unique, creative "game changing" advances. NASA's requirement for minimizing upmass in flight will also drive the field toward miniaturization and automation. These drivers will greatly increase the utility of synthetic biology solutions for military, health in remote areas and commercial purposes. To this end, we have begun a program at NASA to explore the use of synthetic biology in NASA's missions, particular space exploration. As part of this program, we began hosting an iGEM team of undergraduates drawn from Brown and Stanford Universities to conduct synthetic biology research at NASA Ames Research Center. The 2011 team (http://2011.igem.org/Team:Brown-Stanford) produced an award-winning project on using synthetic biology as a basis for a human Mars settlement.

  19. NASA Bioreactor tissue culture

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Dr. Lisa E. Freed of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her colleagues have reported that initially disc-like specimens tend to become spherical in space, demonstrating that tissues can grow and differentiate into distinct structures in microgravity. The Mir Increment 3 (Sept. 16, 1996 - Jan. 22, 1997) samples were smaller, more spherical, and mechanically weaker than Earth-grown control samples. These results demonstrate the feasibility of microgravity tissue engineering and may have implications for long human space voyages and for treating musculoskeletal disorders on earth. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC). NASA-sponsored bioreactor research has been instrumental in helping scientists to better understand normal and cancerous tissue development. In cooperation with the medical community, the bioreactor design is being used to prepare better models of human colon, prostate, breast and ovarian tumors. Cartilage, bone marrow, heart muscle, skeletal muscle, pancreatic islet cells, liver and kidney are just a few of the normal tissues being cultured in rotating bioreactors by investigators.

  20. NASA Bioreactor tissue culture

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Dr. Lisa E. Freed of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her colleagues have reported that initially disc-like specimens tend to become spherical in space, demonstrating that tissues can grow and differentiate into distinct structures in microgravity. The Mir Increment 3 (Sept. 16, 1996 - Jan. 22, 1997) samples were smaller, more spherical, and mechanically weaker than Earth-grown control samples. These results demonstrate the feasibility of microgravity tissue engineering and may have implications for long human space voyages and for treating musculoskeletal disorders on earth. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC). NASA-sponsored bioreactor research has been instrumental in helping scientists to better understand normal and cancerous tissue development. In cooperation with the medical community, the bioreactor design is being used to prepare better models of human colon, prostate, breast and ovarian tumors. Cartilage, bone marrow, heart muscle, skeletal muscle, pancreatic islet cells, liver and kidney are just a few of the normal tissues being cultured in rotating bioreactors by investigators.

  1. Widening Perspectives: The Intellectual and Social Benefits of Astrobiology (Regardless of Whether Extraterrestrial Life is Discovered or Not)

    OpenAIRE

    Crawford, Ian A.

    2017-01-01

    Astrobiology is usually defined as the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. As such it is inherently interdisciplinary and cannot help but engender a worldview infused by cosmic and evolutionary perspectives. Both these attributes of the study of astrobiology are, and will increasingly prove to be, beneficial to society regardless of whether extraterrestrial life is discovered or not.

  2. Carl Woese, Dick Young, and the roots of astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rummel, John D

    2014-01-01

    The beginning of the space age in the late 1950s gave rise to innovative and interdisciplinary research concepts and perspectives, including the concept of "exobiology" as a way to approach the fundamental aspects of biology through a study of life outside of the Earth, if it existed. This concept was embodied by NASA into its formal Exobiology Program and into the philosophy of the program both before and after the Viking missions that were launched to Mars to search for signs of life in 1975. Due to both management flexibility and an acceptance of the interdisciplinary nature of the problem of "life in the universe," NASA program managers, and particularly Richard S Young who ran the Exobiology Program beginning 1967, have made some excellent investments in paradigm altering science of great use both on Earth and on future space missions. The work of Carl Woese is one such example, which has revolutionized our understanding of the microbial world and the relationships of all life on Earth.

  3. Spectroscopic Studies of Molecular Systems relevant in Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fornaro, Teresa

    2016-01-01

    In the Astrobiology context, the study of the physico-chemical interactions involving "building blocks of life" in plausible prebiotic and space-like conditions is fundamental to shed light on the processes that led to emergence of life on Earth as well as to molecular chemical evolution in space. In this PhD Thesis, such issues have been addressed both experimentally and computationally by employing vibrational spectroscopy, which has shown to be an effective tool to investigate the variety of intermolecular interactions that play a key role in self-assembling mechanisms of nucleic acid components and their binding to mineral surfaces. In particular, in order to dissect the contributions of the different interactions to the overall spectroscopic signals and shed light on the intricate experimental data, feasible computational protocols have been developed for the characterization of the spectroscopic properties of such complex systems. This study has been carried out through a multi-step strategy, starting the investigation from the spectroscopic properties of the isolated nucleobases, then studying the perturbation induced by the interaction with another molecule (molecular dimers), towards condensed phases like the molecular solid, up to the case of nucleic acid components adsorbed on minerals. A proper modeling of these weakly bound molecular systems has required, firstly, a validation of dispersion-corrected Density Functional Theory methods for simulating anharmonic vibrational properties. The isolated nucleobases and some of their dimers have been used as benchmark set for identifying a general, reliable and effective computational procedure based on fully anharmonic quantum mechanical computations of the vibrational wavenumbers and infrared intensities within the generalized second order vibrational perturbation theory (GVPT2) approach, combined with the cost-effective dispersion-corrected density functional B3LYP-D3, in conjunction with basis sets of

  4. Space as a Tool for Astrobiology: Review and Recommendations for Experimentations in Earth Orbit and Beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cottin, Hervé; Kotler, Julia Michelle; Billi, Daniela; Cockell, Charles; Demets, René; Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Elsaesser, Andreas; d'Hendecourt, Louis; van Loon, Jack J. W. A.; Martins, Zita; Onofri, Silvano; Quinn, Richard C.; Rabbow, Elke; Rettberg, Petra; Ricco, Antonio J.; Slenzka, Klaus; de la Torre, Rosa; de Vera, Jean-Pierre; Westall, Frances; Carrasco, Nathalie; Fresneau, Aurélien; Kawaguchi, Yuko; Kebukawa, Yoko; Nguyen, Dara; Poch, Olivier; Saiagh, Kafila; Stalport, Fabien; Yamagishi, Akihiko; Yano, Hajime; Klamm, Benjamin A.

    2017-07-01

    The space environment is regularly used for experiments addressing astrobiology research goals. The specific conditions prevailing in Earth orbit and beyond, notably the radiative environment (photons and energetic particles) and the possibility to conduct long-duration measurements, have been the main motivations for developing experimental concepts to expose chemical or biological samples to outer space, or to use the reentry of a spacecraft on Earth to simulate the fall of a meteorite. This paper represents an overview of past and current research in astrobiology conducted in Earth orbit and beyond, with a special focus on ESA missions such as Biopan, STONE (on Russian FOTON capsules) and EXPOSE facilities (outside the International Space Station). The future of exposure platforms is discussed, notably how they can be improved for better science return, and how to incorporate the use of small satellites such as those built in cubesat format.

  5. Students' Pre-Instructional Beliefs and Reasoning Strategies About Astrobiology Concepts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Offerdahl, Erika G.; Prather, Edward E.; Slater, Timothy F.

    The purpose of this study is to identify and document student beliefs and reasoning difficulties concerning topics related to astrobiology. This was accomplished by surveying over two thousand middle school, high school, and college (science and non-science majors) students. Students were surveyed utilizing student-supplied response questions focused on the definition of life and its limitations. Careful, inductive analysis of student responses revealed that the majority of students correctly identify that liquid water is necessary for life and that life forms can exist without sunlight. However, many students incorrectly state that life cannot survive without oxygen. Furthermore, when students are asked to reason about life in extreme environments, they most often cite complex organisms (such as plants, animals, and humans) rather than the more ubiquitous microorganisms. Results of this study were used to inform the development of astrobiology curriculum materials.

  6. The challenges of educating the public about astrobiology via the mass media

    Science.gov (United States)

    Race, Margaret

    Scientific information in astrobiology is being generated at a pace that traditional textbooks cannot easily match. For the most part, students, teachers and the general public will continue to learn piecemeal about the latest advances in the field through headlines and mass media coverage centered around discoveries and new interpretations as they occur. Yet journalists and reporters are themselves unschooled in this emerging interdisciplinary field. While it is important to continue developing astrobiological curricular materials for future use by students in formal settings, it is equally important to find novel ways for educating the mass media in the interim. Current planning in anticipation of a Mars sample return mission has focused on a variety of ways to enlist the mass media in an educational as well as informational role.

  7. Measuring the effect of an astrobiology course on student optimism regarding extraterrestrial life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morgan, David L.

    2017-07-01

    Students in an introductory undergraduate Astrobiology course were given a pre/post-test based on the Drake Equation in an attempt to measure changes in their perceptions regarding the prevalence of life in the Galaxy after taking the course. The results indicated that, after taking the course, the students were considerably more optimistic, by a 2 to 1 margin or more, about the prospect of habitable planets, the origin of life, and the evolution of intelligence in other planetary systems. The results suggest that, while it may not be the explicit goal of an astrobiology course to change student beliefs about the abundance or rarity of extraterrestrial life, such changes in opinion can and do occur.

  8. Internalizing Null Extraterrestrial "Signals": An Astrobiological App for a Technological Society

    CERN Document Server

    Chaisson, Eric J

    2014-01-01

    One of the beneficial outcomes of searching for life in the Universe is that it grants greater awareness of our own problems here on Earth. Lack of contact with alien beings to date might actually comprise a null "signal" pointing humankind toward a viable future. Astrobiology has surprising practical applications to human society; within the larger cosmological context of cosmic evolution, astrobiology clarifies the energetic essence of complex systems throughout the Universe, including technological intelligence that is intimately dependent on energy and likely will be for as long as it endures. The "message" contained within the "signal" with which today's society needs to cope is reasonably this: Only solar energy can power our civilization going forward without soiling the environment with increased heat yet robustly driving the economy with increased per capita energy usage. The null "signals" from extraterrestrials also offer a rational solution to the Fermi paradox as a principle of cosmic selection l...

  9. Goddard Institute for Space Studies

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Research at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) emphasizes a broad study of global change, which is an interdisciplinary initiative addressing...

  10. Developing the Critical Thinking Skills of Astrobiology Students through Creative and Scientific Inquiry

    OpenAIRE

    Jamie S. Foster; Lemus, Judith D.

    2015-01-01

    Scientific inquiry represents a multifaceted approach to explore and understand the natural world. Training students in the principles of scientific inquiry can help promote the scientific learning process as well as help students enhance their understanding of scientific research. Here, we report on the development and implementation of a learning module that introduces astrobiology students to the concepts of creative and scientific inquiry, as well as provide practical exercises to build c...

  11. The NASA Astrophysics Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zebulum, Ricardo S.

    2011-01-01

    NASA's scientists are enjoying unprecedented access to astronomy data from space, both from missions launched and operated only by NASA, as well as missions led by other space agencies to which NASA contributed instruments or technology. This paper describes the NASA astrophysics program for the next decade, including NASA's response to the ASTRO2010 Decadal Survey.

  12. Earthly Analogues for the Limnology, and Astrobiological Potential on Titan (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Priscu, J. C.

    2009-12-01

    Titan fly-bys by Cassini detected numerous hydrocarbon lakes in the polar regions. These lakes, particularly those in the northern-hemisphere, constitute the strongest evidence yet that a condensable-liquid hydrological methane cycle is active in Titan’s surface and atmosphere in which the lakes are filled through rainfall and/or intersection with the subsurface liquid methane table. Fluid modeling of these lakes reveals that some undergo periods of density stratification and deep convective mixing and possible sediment resuspension. The astrobiological potential of Titan’s lakes is likely to depend on how long the lakes persist, whether they freeze up or remain liquid for a long periods, and the presence of favorable bioenergetics required for synthesis of complex molecules. The environment on Titan appears to meet the basic requirements for life, which include thermodynamic disequilibrium, abundant carbon containing molecules, and a fluid environment. We can learn much about the limnological conditions and astrobiological potential of Titan through studies of earthly analogues. I will present physical, chemical and biological data from earths polar lakes in an attempt to provide new insight into limnological and astrobiological processes on Titan.

  13. A Planetary System Exploration Project for Introductory Astronomy and Astrobiology Courses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rees, Richard F.

    2015-01-01

    I have created three-part projects for the introductory astronomy and astrobiology courses at Westfield State University which simulate the exploration of a fictional planetary system. The introductory astronomy project is an initial reconnaissance of the system by a robotic spacecraft, culminating in close flybys of two or three planets. The astrobiology project is a follow-up mission concluding with the landing of a roving lander on a planet or moon. Student responses in earlier parts of each project can be used to determine which planets are targeted for closer study in later parts. Highly realistic views of the planets from space and from their surfaces can be created using programs such as Celestia and Terragen; images and video returned by the spacecraft are thus a highlight of the project. Although designed around the particular needs and mechanics of the introductory astronomy and astrobiology courses for non-majors at WSU, these projects could be adapted for use in courses at many different levels.

  14. Developing the critical thinking skills of astrobiology students through creative and scientific inquiry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, Jamie S; Lemus, Judith D

    2015-01-01

    Scientific inquiry represents a multifaceted approach to explore and understand the natural world. Training students in the principles of scientific inquiry can help promote the scientific learning process as well as help students enhance their understanding of scientific research. Here, we report on the development and implementation of a learning module that introduces astrobiology students to the concepts of creative and scientific inquiry, as well as provide practical exercises to build critical thinking skills. The module contained three distinct components: (1) a creative inquiry activity designed to introduce concepts regarding the role of creativity in scientific inquiry; (2) guidelines to help astrobiology students formulate and self-assess questions regarding various scientific content and imagery; and (3) a practical exercise where students were allowed to watch a scientific presentation and practice their analytical skills. Pre- and post-course surveys were used to assess the students' perceptions regarding creative and scientific inquiry and whether this activity impacted their understanding of the scientific process. Survey results indicate that the exercise helped improve students' science skills by promoting awareness regarding the role of creativity in scientific inquiry and building their confidence in formulating and assessing scientific questions. Together, the module and survey results confirm the need to include such inquiry-based activities into the higher education classroom, thereby helping students hone their critical thinking and question asking skill set and facilitating their professional development in astrobiology.

  15. Microbes in the upper atmosphere and unique opportunities for astrobiology research.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, David J

    2013-10-01

    Microbial taxa from every major biological lineage have been detected in Earth's upper atmosphere. The goal of this review is to communicate (1) relevant astrobiology questions that can be addressed with upper atmosphere microbiology studies and (2) available sampling methods for collecting microbes at extreme altitudes. Precipitation, mountain stations, airplanes, balloons, rockets, and satellites are all feasible routes for conducting aerobiology research. However, more efficient air samplers are needed, and contamination is also a pervasive problem in the field. Measuring microbial signatures without false positives in the upper atmosphere might contribute to sterilization and bioburden reduction methods for proposed astrobiology missions. Intriguingly, environmental conditions in the upper atmosphere resemble the surface conditions of Mars (extreme cold, hypobaria, desiccation, and irradiation). Whether terrestrial microbes are active in the upper atmosphere is an area of intense research interest. If, in fact, microbial metabolism, growth, or replication is achievable independent of Earth's surface, then the search for habitable zones on other worlds should be broadened to include atmospheres (e.g., the high-altitude clouds of Venus). Furthermore, viable cells in the heavily irradiated upper atmosphere of Earth could help identify microbial genes or enzymes that bestow radiation resistance. Compelling astrobiology questions on the origin of life (if the atmosphere synthesized organic aerosols), evolution (if airborne transport influenced microbial mutation rates and speciation), and panspermia (outbound or inbound) are also testable in Earth's upper atmosphere.

  16. The Myth, the Truth, the NASA IRB

    Science.gov (United States)

    Covington, M. D.; Flores, M. P.; Neutzler, V. P.; Schlegel, T. T.; Platts, S. H.; Lioyd, C. W.

    2017-01-01

    The purpose of the NASA Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to review research activities involving human subjects to ensure that ethical standards for the care and protection of human subjects have been met and research activities are in compliance with all pertinent federal, state and local regulations as well as NASA policies. NASA IRB's primary role is the protection of human subjects in research studies. Protection of human subjects is the shared responsibility of NASA, the IRB, and the scientific investigators. Science investigators who plan to conduct NASA-funded human research involving NASA investigators, facilities, or funds must submit and coordinate their research studies for review and approval by the NASA IRB prior to initiation. The IRB has the authority to approve, require changes in, or disapprove research involving human subjects. Better knowledge of the NASA IRB policies, procedures and guidelines should help facilitate research protocol applications and approvals. In this presentation, the myths and truths of NASA IRB policies and procedures will be discussed. We will focus on the policies that guide a protocol through the NASA IRB and the procedures that principal investigators must take to obtain required IRB approvals for their research studies. In addition, tips to help ensure a more efficient IRB review will be provided. By understanding the requirements and processes, investigators will be able to more efficiently prepare their protocols and obtain the required NASA IRB approval in a timely manner.

  17. NASA's geostationary communications platform program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramler, J.; Durrett, R.

    1984-01-01

    This paper reviews recent trends in communications satellites and explains NASA's current interest in geostationary communications platforms. Large communications platforms capable of supporting multiple payloads with common utilities have been examined in a number of studies since 1974 and appear to offer a number of potential advantages. In 1981, an Industry Briefing and Workshop sponsord by NASA focused on the institutional, operational and technical issues that will influence the implementation of geostationary platforms. The workshop identified numerous issues and problem areas that needed more detailed study. To address the issues/problems identified, a NASA geostationary communications platform program has been developed. This program is described, focusing on the initial studies to be performed.

  18. Identification and Characterization of Extremophile Microorganisms with Significance to Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bej, Asim K.

    2003-01-01

    It is now well recognized that microorganisms thrive in extreme ecological conditions such as geothermal vents, polar region, acid and alkaline lakes, and the cold pressurized depth of the ocean floor of this planet. Morphological, physiological, biochemical and genetic adaptations to extreme environments by these extremophile microorganisms have generated immense interest amongst astrobiologists who increasingly believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life. The evidence collected by NASA's space probe Galileo suggested the presence of liquid water and volcanic activity on Mars and Jupiter's satellite Europa. Volcanic activity provides some of the heat necessary to keep the water on Europa from freezing that could provide important dissolved chemicals needed by living organisms. The possibility of the existence of hypersaline alkaline lakes and evaporites confined within closed volcanic basins and impact craters on Mars, and a layer of liquid water under the ice on Europa provide sufficient 'raison d'etre' to study microorganisms in similar extreme environments on Earth, which could provide us with a model that would help establish the existence of extraterrestrial life on other planetary bodies. The objectives of the summer research project were as follows: (1) application of molecular approaches to help establish new species of extremophile microorganisms isolated from a hypersaline alkaline lake; and (2) identification of a major cold-shock gene (cspA) homolog from a psychrotolerant microorganism, PmagG1.

  19. Planetary Atmosphere and Surfaces Chamber (PASC: A Platform to Address Various Challenges in Astrobiology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eva Mateo-Marti

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available The study of planetary environments of astrobiological interest has become a major challenge. Because of the obvious technical and economical limitations on in situ planetary exploration, laboratory simulations are one of the most feasible research options to make advances both in planetary science and in developing a consistent description of the origin of life. With this objective in mind, we applied vacuum technology to the design of versatile vacuum chambers devoted to the simulation of planetary atmospheres’ conditions. These vacuum chambers are able to simulate atmospheres and surface temperatures representative of the majority of planetary objects, and they are especially appropriate for studying the physical, chemical and biological changes induced in a particular sample by in situ irradiation or physical parameters in a controlled environment. Vacuum chambers are a promising potential tool in several scientific and technological fields, such as engineering, chemistry, geology and biology. They also offer the possibility of discriminating between the effects of individual physical parameters and selected combinations thereof. The implementation of our vacuum chambers in combination with analytical techniques was specifically developed to make feasible the in situ physico-chemical characterization of samples. Many wide-ranging applications in astrobiology are detailed herein to provide an understanding of the potential and flexibility of these experimental systems. Instruments and engineering technology for space applications could take advantage of our environment-simulation chambers for sensor calibration. Our systems also provide the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the chemical reactivity of molecules on surfaces under different environments, thereby leading to a greater understanding of interface processes in prebiotic chemical reactions and facilitating studies of UV photostability and photochemistry on surfaces

  20. Planetary Atmosphere and Surfaces Chamber (PASC): A Platform to Address Various Challenges in Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mateo-Marti, Eva

    2014-08-01

    The study of planetary environments of astrobiological interest has become a major challenge. Because of the obvious technical and economical limitations on in situ planetary exploration, laboratory simulations are one of the most feasible research options to make advances both in planetary science and in developing a consistent description of the origin of life. With this objective in mind, we applied vacuum technology to the design of versatile vacuum chambers devoted to the simulation of planetary atmospheres' conditions. These vacuum chambers are able to simulate atmospheres and surface temperatures representative of the majority of planetary objects, and they are especially appropriate for studying the physical, chemical and biological changes induced in a particular sample by in situ irradiation or physical parameters in a controlled environment. Vacuum chambers are a promising potential tool in several scientific and technological fields, such as engineering, chemistry, geology and biology. They also offer the possibility of discriminating between the effects of individual physical parameters and selected combinations thereof. The implementation of our vacuum chambers in combination with analytical techniques was specifically developed to make feasible the in situ physico-chemical characterization of samples. Many wide-ranging applications in astrobiology are detailed herein to provide an understanding of the potential and flexibility of these experimental systems. Instruments and engineering technology for space applications could take advantage of our environment-simulation chambers for sensor calibration. Our systems also provide the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the chemical reactivity of molecules on surfaces under different environments, thereby leading to a greater understanding of interface processes in prebiotic chemical reactions and facilitating studies of UV photostability and photochemistry on surfaces. Furthermore, the

  1. Microorganisms in extreme environments with a view to astrobiology in the outer solar system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seckbach, Joseph; Chela-Flores, Julian

    2015-09-01

    We review the various manifestations of the evolution of life in extreme environments. We review those aspects of extremophiles that are most relevant for astrobiology. We are aware that geothermal energy triggering sources of heat in oceanic environments are not unique to our planet, a fact that was exposed by the Voyager mission images of volcanic activity on Io, the Jovian moon. Such activity exceeded by far what was known form terrestrial geology. The science of astrobiology has considered the possible presence of several moon oceans in the vicinity of both giant gas and icy planets. These watery environments include, not only Europa (strongly suggested by data from the Galileo mission), but the Voyager flybys exposed, not only the unusual geothermal activity on Io, but also the possible presence of subsurface oceans and some geothermal activity on the Neptune's moon Triton. More recently, calculations of Hussmann and coworkers with available data do not exclude that even Uranus moons may be candidates for bearing subsurface oceans. These possibilities invite a challenge that we gladly welcome, of preliminary discussions of habitability of extremophiles in so far novel environments for the science of astrobiology. Nevertheless, such exploration is currently believed to be feasible with the new generations of missions suggested for the time window of 2030 - 2040, or even earlier. We are envisaging, not only the current exploration of the moons of Saturn, but in the coming years we expect to go beyond to Uranus and Neptune to include dwarf planets and trans-neptunian worlds. Consequently, it is necessary to begin questioning whether the Europa-like conditions for the evolution of microorganisms are repeatable elsewhere. At present three new missions are in the process of being formulated, including the selection of payloads that will be necessary for the exploration of the various so far unexplored moons.

  2. Micro-XRF : Elemental Analysis for In Situ Geology and Astrobiology Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allwood, Abigail; Hodyss, Robert; Wade, Lawrence

    2012-01-01

    The ability to make close-up measurements of rock chemistry is one of the most fundamental tools for astrobiological exploration of Mars and other rocky bodies of the solar system. When conducting surface-based exploration, lithochemical measurements provide critical data that enable interpretation of the local geology, which in turn is vital for determining habitability and searching for evidence of life. The value of lithochemical measurements for geological interpretations has been repeatedly demonstrated with virtually every landed Mars mission over the past four decades.

  3. Micro-XRF : Elemental Analysis for In Situ Geology and Astrobiology Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allwood, Abigail; Hodyss, Robert; Wade, Lawrence

    2012-01-01

    The ability to make close-up measurements of rock chemistry is one of the most fundamental tools for astrobiological exploration of Mars and other rocky bodies of the solar system. When conducting surface-based exploration, lithochemical measurements provide critical data that enable interpretation of the local geology, which in turn is vital for determining habitability and searching for evidence of life. The value of lithochemical measurements for geological interpretations has been repeatedly demonstrated with virtually every landed Mars mission over the past four decades.

  4. Geology of McLaughlin Crater, Mars: A Unique Lacustrine Setting with Implications for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michalski, J. R.; Niles, P. B.; Rogers, A. D.; Johnson, S. S.; Ashley, J. W.; Golombek, M. P.

    2016-01-01

    McLaughlin crater is a 92-kmdiameter Martian impact crater that contained an ancient carbonate- and clay mineral-bearing lake in the Late Noachian. Detailed analysis of the geology within this crater reveals a complex history with important implications for astrobiology [1]. The basin contains evidence for, among other deposits, hydrothermally altered rocks, delta deposits, deep water (>400 m) sediments, and potentially turbidites. The geology of this basin stands in stark contrast to that of some ancient basins that contain evidence for transient aqueous processes and airfall sediments (e.g. Gale Crater [2-3]).

  5. Lunar Radio Telescopes: A Staged Approach for Lunar Science, Heliophysics, Astrobiology, Cosmology, and Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lazio, Joseph; Bowman, Judd D.; Burns, Jack O.; Farrell, W. M.; Jones, D. L.; Kasper, J. C.; MacDowall, R. J.; Stewart, K. P.; Weiler, K.

    2012-01-01

    Observations with radio telescopes address key problems in cosmology, astrobiology, heliophysics, and planetary science including the first light in the Universe (Cosmic Dawn), magnetic fields of extrasolar planets, particle acceleration mechanisms, and the lunar ionosphere. The Moon is a unique science platform because it allows access to radio frequencies that do not penetrate the Earth's ionosphere and because its far side is shielded from intense terrestrial emissions. The instrument packages and infrastructure needed for radio telescopes can be transported and deployed as part of Exploration activities, and the resulting science measurements may inform Exploration (e.g., measurements of lunar surface charging). An illustrative roadmap for the staged deployment of lunar radio telescopes

  6. NASA Biological Specimen Repository

    Science.gov (United States)

    McMonigal, K. A.; Pietrzyk, R. A.; Sams, C. F.; Johnson, M. A.

    2010-01-01

    The NASA Biological Specimen Repository (NBSR) was established in 2006 to collect, process, preserve and distribute spaceflight-related biological specimens from long duration ISS astronauts. This repository provides unique opportunities to study longitudinal changes in human physiology spanning may missions. The NBSR collects blood and urine samples from all participating ISS crewmembers who have provided informed consent. These biological samples are collected once before flight, during flight scheduled on flight days 15, 30, 60, 120 and within 2 weeks of landing. Postflight sessions are conducted 3 and 30 days after landing. The number of in-flight sessions is dependent on the duration of the mission. Specimens are maintained under optimal storage conditions in a manner that will maximize their integrity and viability for future research The repository operates under the authority of the NASA/JSC Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects to support scientific discovery that contributes to our fundamental knowledge in the area of human physiological changes and adaptation to a microgravity environment. The NBSR will institute guidelines for the solicitation, review and sample distribution process through establishment of the NBSR Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will be composed of representatives of all participating space agencies to evaluate each request from investigators for use of the samples. This process will be consistent with ethical principles, protection of crewmember confidentiality, prevailing laws and regulations, intellectual property policies, and consent form language. Operations supporting the NBSR are scheduled to continue until the end of U.S. presence on the ISS. Sample distribution is proposed to begin with selections on investigations beginning in 2017. The availability of the NBSR will contribute to the body of knowledge about the diverse factors of spaceflight on human physiology.

  7. NASA's unique networking environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Marjory J.

    1988-01-01

    Networking is an infrastructure technology; it is a tool for NASA to support its space and aeronautics missions. Some of NASA's networking problems are shared by the commercial and/or military communities, and can be solved by working with these communities. However, some of NASA's networking problems are unique and will not be addressed by these other communities. Individual characteristics of NASA's space-mission networking enviroment are examined, the combination of all these characteristics that distinguish NASA's networking systems from either commercial or military systems is explained, and some research areas that are important for NASA to pursue are outlined.

  8. NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwerin, T. G.; Callery, S.; Chambers, L. H.; Riebeek Kohl, H.; Taylor, J.; Martin, A. M.; Ferrell, T.

    2016-12-01

    The NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative (NESEC) is led by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies with partners at three NASA Earth science Centers: Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Langley Research Center. This cross-organization team enables the project to draw from the diverse skills, strengths, and expertise of each partner to develop fresh and innovative approaches for building pathways between NASA's Earth-related STEM assets to large, diverse audiences in order to enhance STEM teaching, learning and opportunities for learners throughout their lifetimes. These STEM assets include subject matter experts (scientists, engineers, and education specialists), science and engineering content, and authentic participatory and experiential opportunities. Specific project activities include authentic STEM experiences through NASA Earth science themed field campaigns and citizen science as part of international GLOBE program (for elementary and secondary school audiences) and GLOBE Observer (non-school audiences of all ages); direct connections to learners through innovative collaborations with partners like Odyssey of the Mind, an international creative problem-solving and design competition; and organizing thematic core content and strategically working with external partners and collaborators to adapt and disseminate core content to support the needs of education audiences (e.g., libraries and maker spaces, student research projects, etc.). A scaffolded evaluation is being conducted that 1) assesses processes and implementation, 2) answers formative evaluation questions in order to continuously improve the project; 3) monitors progress and 4) measures outcomes.

  9. Astrobiological neurosystems rise and fall of intelligent life forms in the universe

    CERN Document Server

    Cranford, Jerry L

    2015-01-01

    This book explains why scientists believe that life may be more common in the Universe than previously considered possible. It presents the tools and strategies astronomers and astrobiologists are using in their formal search for habitable exoplanets as well as more advanced forms of life in other parts of our galaxy. The author then summarizes what is currently known about how and where organic molecules critical to our form of carbon-based life are manufactured. The core of the book explains (and presents educated guesses) how nervous systems evolved on Earth, how they work, and how they might work on other worlds. Combining his knowledge of neuroscience, computers, and astrobiology the author jumps into the discussion whether biological nervous systems are just the first step in the rise of intelligence in the Universe. The book ends with a description from both the psychologist’s and the neuroscientist’s viewpoints, exactly what it is about the fields of astrobiology and astronomy that “boggles...

  10. The Astrobiology of the Subsurface: Caves and Rock Fracture Habitats on Earth, Mars and Beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boston, Penelope J.

    2017-01-01

    The Astrobiology of the Subsurface: Exploring Cave Habitats on Earth, Mars and Beyond. We are using the spectacular underground landscapes of Earth caves as models for the subsurfaces of other planets. Caves have been detected on the Moon and Mars and are strongly suspected for other bodies in the Solar System including some of the ice covered Ocean Worlds that orbit gas giant planets. The caves we explore and study include many extreme conditions of relevance to planetary astrobiology exploration including high and low temperatures, gas atmospheres poisonous to humans but where exotic microbes can fluorish, highly acidic or salty fluids, heavy metals, and high background radiation levels. Some cave microorganisms eat their way through bedrock, some live in battery acid conditions, some produce unusual biominerals and rare cave formations, and many produce compounds of potential pharmaceutical and industrial significance. We study these unique lifeforms and the physical and chemical biosignatures that they leave behind. Such traces can be used to provide a Field Guide to Unknown Organisms for developing life detection space missions.

  11. Astrobiological and Geological Implications of Convective Transport in Icy Outer Planet Satellites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pappalardo, Robert T.; Zhong, Shi-Jie; Barr, Amy

    2005-01-01

    The oceans of large icy outer planet satellites are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life in our solar system. The goal of our project has been to develop models of ice convection in order to understand convection as an astrobiologically relevant transport mechanism within icy satellites, especially Europa. These models provide valuable constraints on modes of surface deformation and thus the implications of satellite surface geology for astrobiology, and for planetary protection. Over the term of this project, significant progress has been made in three areas: (1) the initiation of convection in large icy satellites, which we find probably requires tidal heating; (2) the relationship of surface features on Europa to internal ice convection, including the likely role of low-melting-temperature impurities; and (3) the effectiveness of convection as an agent of icy satellite surface-ocean material exchange, which seems most plausible if tidal heating, compositional buoyancy, and solid-state convection work in combination. Descriptions of associated publications include: 3 published papers (including contributions to 1 review chapter), 1 manuscript in revision, 1 manuscript in preparation (currently being completed under separate funding), and 1 published popular article. A myriad of conference abstracts have also been published, and only those from the past year are listed.

  12. From Extremophiles to Star Trek, The Use of Synthetic Biology in Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.; Fujishima, Kosuke; Lima, Ivan Paulino; Gentry, Diana; Phan, Samson; Navarette, Jesica; Palmer, Jesse; Burnier, Andre

    2012-01-01

    Synthetic biology – the design and construction of new biological parts and systems and the redesign of existing ones for useful purposes – has the potential to transform fields from pharmaceuticals to fuels. Our lab has focused on the potential of synthetic biology to revolutionize all three major parts of astrobiology: Where do we come from? Where are we going? and Are we alone? For the first and third, synthetic biology is allowing us to answer whether the evolutionary narrative that has played out on planet earth is likely to have been unique or universal. For example, in our lab we are re-evolving biotic functions using only the most thermodynamically stable amino acids in order to understand potential capabilities of an early organism with a limited repertoire of amino acids. In the future synthetic biology will play an increasing role in human activities both on earth, in fields as diverse as bio-mining, human health and the industrial production of novel bio-composites. Beyond earth, we will rely increasingly on biologically-provided life support, as we have throughout our evolutionary history. In order to do this, the field will build on two of the great contributions of astrobiology: studies of the origin of life and life in extreme environments.

  13. EXPOSE-E: an ESA astrobiology mission 1.5 years in space.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rabbow, Elke; Rettberg, Petra; Barczyk, Simon; Bohmeier, Maria; Parpart, André; Panitz, Corinna; Horneck, Gerda; von Heise-Rotenburg, Ralf; Hoppenbrouwers, Tom; Willnecker, Rainer; Baglioni, Pietro; Demets, René; Dettmann, Jan; Reitz, Guenther

    2012-05-01

    The multi-user facility EXPOSE-E was designed by the European Space Agency to enable astrobiology research in space (low-Earth orbit). On 7 February 2008, EXPOSE-E was carried to the International Space Station (ISS) on the European Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF) platform in the cargo bay of Space Shuttle STS-122 Atlantis. The facility was installed at the starboard cone of the Columbus module by extravehicular activity, where it remained in space for 1.5 years. EXPOSE-E was returned to Earth with STS-128 Discovery on 12 September 2009 for subsequent sample analysis. EXPOSE-E provided accommodation in three exposure trays for a variety of astrobiological test samples that were exposed to selected space conditions: either to space vacuum, solar electromagnetic radiation at >110 nm and cosmic radiation (trays 1 and 3) or to simulated martian surface conditions (tray 2). Data on UV radiation, cosmic radiation, and temperature were measured every 10 s and downlinked by telemetry. A parallel mission ground reference (MGR) experiment was performed on ground with a parallel set of hardware and samples under simulated space conditions. EXPOSE-E performed a successful 1.5-year mission in space.

  14. The Aouda.X space suit simulator and its applications to astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Groemer, Gernot E; Hauth, Stefan; Luger, Ulrich; Bickert, Klaus; Sattler, Birgit; Hauth, Eva; Föger, Daniel; Schildhammer, Daniel; Agerer, Christian; Ragonig, Christoph; Sams, Sebastian; Kaineder, Felix; Knoflach, Martin

    2012-02-01

    We have developed the space suit simulator Aouda.X, which is capable of reproducing the physical and sensory limitations a flight-worthy suit would have on Mars. Based upon a Hard-Upper-Torso design, it has an advanced human-machine interface and a sensory network connected to an On-Board Data Handling system to increase the situational awareness in the field. Although the suit simulator is not pressurized, the physical forces that lead to a reduced working envelope and physical performance are reproduced with a calibrated exoskeleton. This allows us to simulate various pressure regimes from 0.3-1 bar. Aouda.X has been tested in several laboratory and field settings, including sterile sampling at 2800 m altitude inside a glacial ice cave and a cryochamber at -110°C, and subsurface tests in connection with geophysical instrumentation relevant to astrobiology, including ground-penetrating radar, geoacoustics, and drilling. The communication subsystem allows for a direct interaction with remote science teams via telemetry from a mission control center. Aouda.X as such is a versatile experimental platform for studying Mars exploration activities in a high-fidelity Mars analog environment with a focus on astrobiology and operations research that has been optimized to reduce the amount of biological cross contamination. We report on the performance envelope of the Aouda.X system and its operational limitations.

  15. NASA Guided Dropsonde Project

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Exquadrum, Inc. proposes to demonstrate the feasibility of an innovative approach to providing NASA with a Guided Dropsonde (NGD). NASA's desire to use existing...

  16. NASA Space Radiation Laboratory

    Data.gov (United States)

    Federal Laboratory Consortium — The NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at Brookhaven National Laboratory is a NASA funded facility, delivering heavy ion beams to a target area where scientists...

  17. Chemical Engineering at NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Collins, Jacob

    2008-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation is a review of the career paths for chemicals engineer at NASA (specifically NASA Johnson Space Center.) The author uses his personal experience and history as an example of the possible career options.

  18. NASA 2010 Pharmacology Evidence Review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steinberg, Susan

    2011-01-01

    In 2008, the Institute of Medicine reviewed NASA's Human Research Program Evidence in assessing the Pharmacology risk identified in NASA's Human Research Program Requirements Document (PRD). Since this review there was a major reorganization of the Pharmacology discipline within the HRP, as well as a re-evaluation of the Pharmacology evidence. This panel is being asked to review the latest version of the Pharmacology Evidence Report. Specifically, this panel will: (1) Appraise the descriptions of the human health-related risk in the HRP PRD. (2) Assess the relevance and comprehensiveness of the evidence in identifying potential threats to long-term space missions. (3) Assess the associated gaps in knowledge and identify additional areas for research as necessary.

  19. Pre-Service Teachers Institute

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-01-01

    The Pre-Service Teachers Institute sponsored by Jackson (Miss.) State University participated in an agencywide Hubble Space Telescope workshop at Stennis Space Center on July 18. Twenty-five JSU junior education majors participated in the workshop, a site tour and educational presentations by Karma Snyder of the NASA SSC Engineering & Safety Center and Anne Peek of the NASA SSC Deputy Science & Technology Division.

  20. The NASA computer science research program plan

    Science.gov (United States)

    1983-01-01

    A taxonomy of computer science is included, one state of the art of each of the major computer science categories is summarized. A functional breakdown of NASA programs under Aeronautics R and D, space R and T, and institutional support is also included. These areas were assessed against the computer science categories. Concurrent processing, highly reliable computing, and information management are identified.

  1. NASA's EOSDIS, Trust and Certification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramapriyan, H. K.

    2017-01-01

    NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) has been in operation since August 1994, managing most of NASA's Earth science data from satellites, airborne sensors, filed campaigns and other activities. Having been designated by the Federal Government as a project responsible for production, archiving and distribution of these data through its Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs), the Earth Science Data and Information System Project (ESDIS) is responsible for EOSDIS, and is legally bound by the Office of Management and Budgets circular A-130, the Federal Records Act. It must follow the regulations of the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) and National Archive and Records Administration (NARA). It must also follow the NASA Procedural Requirement 7120.5 (NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management). All these ensure that the data centers managed by ESDIS are trustworthy from the point of view of efficient and effective operations as well as preservation of valuable data from NASA's missions. Additional factors contributing to this trust are an extensive set of internal and external reviews throughout the history of EOSDIS starting in the early 1990s. Many of these reviews have involved external groups of scientific and technological experts. Also, independent annual surveys of user satisfaction that measure and publish the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), where EOSDIS has scored consistently high marks since 2004, provide an additional measure of trustworthiness. In addition, through an effort initiated in 2012 at the request of NASA HQ, the ESDIS Project and 10 of 12 DAACs have been certified by the International Council for Science (ICSU) World Data System (WDS) and are members of the ICSUWDS. This presentation addresses questions such as pros and cons of the certification process, key outcomes and next steps regarding certification. Recently, the ICSUWDS and Data Seal of Approval (DSA) organizations

  2. Antarctic Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKay, Christopher P.

    2003-01-01

    Stars may be cold and dry today but there is compelling evidence that earlier in its history Mars did have liquid water. This evidence comes from the images taken from orbital spacecraft. The dry valleys of Antarctica comprise the largest ice-free region on that continent. The valleys are a cold desert environment with mean annual temperatures of -20 C. The lakes in the dry valleys of Antarctica provide an example of the physical processes that can maintain large bodies of liquid water under mean annual temperatures well below freezing. Biologically these lakes are also important analogs because of the plankton and benthic communities of microorganisms that thrive there. Life could have existed in lakes on Mars an ecological similar conditions.

  3. The Formation of Organic Compounds of Astrobiological Interest by the Irradiation Processing of Astrophysical Ices

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandford, Scott A.

    2015-01-01

    Many environments in space contain very low temperature mixed molecular ices that are exposed to ionizing radiation in the form of cosmic rays and high-energy photons. While traditional chemistry would not be expected to occur at the temperatures typical of these ices (T organic compounds. Many of these new products are of direct interest to astrobiology. For example, the irradiation of mixed molecular ices has been shown to produce amino acids, amphiphiles, quinones, sugars, heterocyclic compounds, and nucleobases, all molecular building blocks used by terrestrial life. Insofar as the presence of these materials plays a role in the origin of life on planets, this has profound implications for the potential abundance of life in the universe since these experiments simulate universal conditions that are expected to be found wherever new stars and planets form.

  4. Assessing the Ecophysiology of Methanogens in the Context of Recent Astrobiological and Planetological Studies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ruth-Sophie Taubner

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Among all known microbes capable of thriving under extreme and, therefore, potentially extraterrestrial environmental conditions, methanogens from the domain Archaea are intriguing organisms. This is due to their broad metabolic versatility, enormous diversity, and ability to grow under extreme environmental conditions. Several studies revealed that growth conditions of methanogens are compatible with environmental conditions on extraterrestrial bodies throughout the Solar System. Hence, life in the Solar System might not be limited to the classical habitable zone. In this contribution we assess the main ecophysiological characteristics of methanogens and compare these to the environmental conditions of putative habitats in the Solar System, in particular Mars and icy moons. Eventually, we give an outlook on the feasibility and the necessity of future astrobiological studies concerning methanogens.

  5. Pulsed neutron generator system for astrobiological and geochemical exploration of planetary bodies

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Akkurt, Hatice [Schlumberger Princeton Technology Center, 20 Wallace Road, Princeton Junction, NJ 07605 (United States); Groves, Joel L. [Schlumberger Princeton Technology Center, 20 Wallace Road, Princeton Junction, NJ 07605 (United States)]. E-mail: groves@princeton.oilfield.slb.com; Trombka, Jacob [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Starr, Richard [The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064 (United States); Evans, Larry [Computer Sciences Corporation, 7700 Hubble Drive, Lanham-Seabrook, MD 20706 (United States); Floyd, Samuel [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Hoover, Richard [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); Lim, Lucy [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); McClanahan, Timothy [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States); James, Ralph [Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973 (United States); McCoy, Timothy [National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560 (United States); Schweitzer, Jeffrey [University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269 (United States)

    2005-12-15

    A pulsed neutron/gamma-ray detection system for use on rovers to survey the elemental concentrations of Martian and Lunar surface and subsurface materials is evaluated. A robotic survey system combining a pulsed neutron generator (PNG) and detectors (gamma ray and neutron) can measure the major constituents to a depth of about 30 cm. Scanning mode measurements can give the major elemental concentrations while the rover is moving; analyzing mode measurements can give a detailed elemental analysis of the adjacent material when the rover is stationary. A detailed map of the subsurface elemental concentrations will provide invaluable information relevant to some of the most fundamental astrobiological questions including the presence of water, biogenic activity, life habitability and deposition processes.

  6. The Formation of Complex Organic Compounds in Astrophysical Ices and their Implications for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandford, Scott A.

    2015-01-01

    Ices in astrophysical environments are generally dominated by very simple molecules like H2O, CH3OH, CH4, NH3, CO, CO2, etc, although they likely contain PAHs as well. These molecules, particularly H2O, are of direct interest to astrobiology in-and-of themselves since they represent some of the main carriers of the biogenic elements C, H, O, and N. In addition, these compounds are present in the dense interstellar clouds in which new stars and planetary systems are formed and may play a large role in the delivery of volatiles and organics to the surfaces of new planets. However, these molecules are all far simpler than the more complex organic compounds found in living systems.

  7. On the formation of polyacetylenes and cyanopolyacetylenes in Titan's atmosphere and their role in astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaiser, Ralf I; Mebel, Alexander M

    2012-08-21

    This tutorial review compiles recent experimental and theoretical studies on the formation of polyacetylenes (H(C≡C)(n)H) and cyanopolyacetylenes (H(C≡C)(n)CN) together with their methyl-substituted counterparts (CH(3)(C≡C)(n)H, CH(3)(C≡C)(n)CN) as probed under single collision conditions in crossed beam studies via the elementary reactions of ethynyl (CCH) and cyano radicals (CN) with unsaturated hydrocarbons. The role of these key reaction classes in the chemical evolution of Titan's orange-brownish haze layers is also discussed. We further comment on astrobiological implications of our findings with respect to proto-Earth and present a brief outlook on future research directions.

  8. Astrobiology outreach and the nature of science: the role of creativity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fergusson, Jennifer; Oliver, Carol; Walter, Malcolm R

    2012-12-01

    There is concern in many developed countries that school students are turning away from science. However, students may be choosing not to study science and dismissing the possibility of a scientific career because, in the junior secondary years, they gain a false view of science and the work of scientists. There is a disparity between science as it is portrayed at school and science as it is practiced. This paper describes a study to explore whether engaging in science through astrobiology outreach activities may improve students' understanding of the nature and processes of science, and how this may influence their interest in a career in science. The results suggest that the students attending these Mars research-related outreach activities are more interested in science than the average student but are lacking in understanding of aspects of the nature of science. A significant difference was detected between pre- and posttest understandings of some concepts of the nature of science.

  9. The Astrobiology of the Subsurface: Exploring Cave Habitats on Earth, Mars and Beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boston, Penelope Jane

    2016-01-01

    We are using the spectacular underground landscapes of Earth caves as models for the subsurfaces of other planets. Caves have been detected on the Moon and Mars and are strongly suspected for other bodies in the Solar System including some of the ice covered Ocean Worlds that orbit gas giant planets. The caves we explore and study include many extreme conditions of relevance to planetary astrobiology exploration including high and low temperatures, gas atmospheres poisonous to humans but where exotic microbes can flourish, highly acidic or salty fluids, heavy metals, and high background radiation levels. Some cave microorganisms eat their way through bedrock, some live in battery acid conditions, some produce unusual biominerals and rare cave formations, and many produce compounds of potential pharmaceutical and industrial significance. We study these unique lifeforms and the physical and chemical biosignatures that they leave behind. Such traces can be used to provide a "Field Guide to Unknown Organisms" for developing life detection space missions.

  10. NASA Climate Adaptation Science Investigators (CASI) Workgroup

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenzweig, C.; Horton, R.

    2011-12-01

    The Climate Adaptation Science Investigators (CASI) Workgroup is comprised of NASA Earth scientists, applications researchers and institutional stewards, tasked with assisting the development of Climate Change Adaptation strategies for NASA as a whole as well as at individual Centers. In an Executive Order dated October 5, 2009, titled "Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance" the President mandates that all agencies "evaluate agency climate-change risks and vulnerabilities to manage the effects of climate change on the agency's operations and mission in both the short and long-term." To further these goals, the CASI Workgroup contributes to the scientific advancement of relevant climate and impacts studies at the Center-scale, contributes to a body of knowledge on how to apply Earth science in decision-making and ensures that NASA institutional stewards' decision-making process benefits from the best available scientific information. Climate variability and climate change pose a range of hazards to the NASA Centers located throughout the country. These changing climate hazards may challenge key NASA missions by threatening operations and damaging critical infrastructure. Studying and understanding these hazards are essential to ensuring effective risk management for the centers. By developing climate change adaptation strategies tailored to the specific impacts that are anticipated, NASA decision makers will be able to minimize negative effects of climate and climate change, while leveraging positive outcomes. The NASA CASI Workgroup will perform a variety of tasks including development of climate projections for each Center, inventory of climate and climate impact data and project activities within NASA, assessment of adaption approaches and Center-level planning strategies, recommendations for future research initiatives, and leading of thematic and region-specific workshops.

  11. Science applications of a multispectral microscopic imager for the astrobiological exploration of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nunez, Jorge; Farmer, Jack; Sellar, R. Glenn; Swayze, Gregg A.; Blaney, Diana L.

    2014-01-01

    Future astrobiological missions to Mars are likely to emphasize the use of rovers with in situ petrologic capabilities for selecting the best samples at a site for in situ analysis with onboard lab instruments or for caching for potential return to Earth. Such observations are central to an understanding of the potential for past habitable conditions at a site and for identifying samples most likely to harbor fossil biosignatures. The Multispectral Microscopic Imager (MMI) provides multispectral reflectance images of geological samples at the microscale, where each image pixel is composed of a visible/shortwave infrared spectrum ranging from 0.46 to 1.73 μm. This spectral range enables the discrimination of a wide variety of rock-forming minerals, especially Fe-bearing phases, and the detection of hydrated minerals. The MMI advances beyond the capabilities of current microimagers on Mars by extending the spectral range into the infrared and increasing the number of spectral bands. The design employs multispectral light-emitting diodes and an uncooled indium gallium arsenide focal plane array to achieve a very low mass and high reliability. To better understand and demonstrate the capabilities of the MMI for future surface missions to Mars, we analyzed samples from Mars-relevant analog environments with the MMI. Results indicate that the MMI images faithfully resolve the fine-scale microtextural features of samples and provide important information to help constrain mineral composition. The use of spectral endmember mapping reveals the distribution of Fe-bearing minerals (including silicates and oxides) with high fidelity, along with the presence of hydrated minerals. MMI-based petrogenetic interpretations compare favorably with laboratory-based analyses, revealing the value of the MMI for future in situ rover-mediated astrobiological exploration of Mars.

  12. Science applications of a multispectral microscopic imager for the astrobiological exploration of Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Núñez, Jorge I; Farmer, Jack D; Sellar, R Glenn; Swayze, Gregg A; Blaney, Diana L

    2014-02-01

    Future astrobiological missions to Mars are likely to emphasize the use of rovers with in situ petrologic capabilities for selecting the best samples at a site for in situ analysis with onboard lab instruments or for caching for potential return to Earth. Such observations are central to an understanding of the potential for past habitable conditions at a site and for identifying samples most likely to harbor fossil biosignatures. The Multispectral Microscopic Imager (MMI) provides multispectral reflectance images of geological samples at the microscale, where each image pixel is composed of a visible/shortwave infrared spectrum ranging from 0.46 to 1.73 μm. This spectral range enables the discrimination of a wide variety of rock-forming minerals, especially Fe-bearing phases, and the detection of hydrated minerals. The MMI advances beyond the capabilities of current microimagers on Mars by extending the spectral range into the infrared and increasing the number of spectral bands. The design employs multispectral light-emitting diodes and an uncooled indium gallium arsenide focal plane array to achieve a very low mass and high reliability. To better understand and demonstrate the capabilities of the MMI for future surface missions to Mars, we analyzed samples from Mars-relevant analog environments with the MMI. Results indicate that the MMI images faithfully resolve the fine-scale microtextural features of samples and provide important information to help constrain mineral composition. The use of spectral endmember mapping reveals the distribution of Fe-bearing minerals (including silicates and oxides) with high fidelity, along with the presence of hydrated minerals. MMI-based petrogenetic interpretations compare favorably with laboratory-based analyses, revealing the value of the MMI for future in situ rover-mediated astrobiological exploration of Mars.

  13. The Co-Evolution of Life & Environment, and the Astrobiological Quest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cabrol, N. A.

    2016-12-01

    Physicochemical and environmental conditions determine the range of possible biogeochemistries on planets and moons. Yet, the Earth shows that as soon as life took hold, it modified its environment, from the mineralogy of sediments to the global composition of the atmosphere. In their evolution, life and environment are intertwined and cannot be separated. This coevolution is one of the most fundamental concepts in astrobiology, one that is central to our understanding of what, where, and how to search for life beyond Earth. In that quest, Mars will be the first destination for planetary missions seeking biosignatures. Both Earth and Mars had shared traits during the Archean/Noachian period. However, for Mars, the impact of a different environmental evolution on the development of life and the preservation of biosignatures remains unclear. In addition to an irreversible global climate change, Mars always had greater environmental variability than Earth due to its astronomical characteristics. Biological evolution, if any, would have had to proceed in this distinct context. If parallels can be drawn, the major metabolisms supporting Earth's biogeochemical cycles had evolved early. Understanding the succession of physical and environmental processes and their combination in the first 700 million years of Mars history is, therefore, essential to envision possible metabolisms, adaptation strategies life would have required to survive changes, and the biosignatures that could still be preserved today. Ultimately, the astrobiological significance of exploring Mars is also about teaching us invaluable lessons about the uniqueness of each planetary experiment, regardless of similarities. Beyond the Solar System, this notion can be expanded to the search for earth-like exoplanets, and for what it means to search for life as we know it, simple or complex.

  14. NASA Hazard Analysis Process

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deckert, George

    2010-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews The NASA Hazard Analysis process. The contents include: 1) Significant Incidents and Close Calls in Human Spaceflight; 2) Subsystem Safety Engineering Through the Project Life Cycle; 3) The Risk Informed Design Process; 4) Types of NASA Hazard Analysis; 5) Preliminary Hazard Analysis (PHA); 6) Hazard Analysis Process; 7) Identify Hazardous Conditions; 8) Consider All Interfaces; 9) Work a Preliminary Hazard List; 10) NASA Generic Hazards List; and 11) Final Thoughts

  15. NASA's Missions for Exoplanet Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Unwin, Stephen

    2014-05-01

    Exoplanets are detected and characterized using a range of observational techniques - including direct imaging, astrometry, transits, microlensing, and radial velocities. Each technique illuminates a different aspect of exoplanet properties and statistics. This diversity of approach has contributed to the rapid growth of the field into a major research area in only two decades. In parallel with exoplanet observations, major efforts are now underway to interpret the physical and atmospheric properties of exoplanets for which spectroscopy is now possible. In addition, comparative planetology probes questions of interest to both exoplanets and solar system studies. In this talk I describe NASA's activities in exoplanet research, and discuss plans for near-future missions that have reflected-light spectroscopy as a key goal. The WFIRST-AFTA concept currently under active study includes a major microlensing survey, and now includes a visible light coronagraph for exoplanet spectroscopy and debris disk imaging. Two NASA-selected community-led teams are studying probe-scale (spectroscopy. These concepts complement existing NASA missions that do exoplanet science (such as transit spectroscopy and debris disk imaging with HST and Spitzer) or are under development (survey of nearby transiting exoplanets with TESS, and followup of the most important targets with transit spectroscopy on JWST), and build on the work of ground-based instruments such as LBTI and observing with HIRES on Keck. This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Copyright 2014. California Institute of Technology. Government sponsorship acknowledged.

  16. Ultra reliability at NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shapiro, Andrew A.

    2006-01-01

    Ultra reliable systems are critical to NASA particularly as consideration is being given to extended lunar missions and manned missions to Mars. NASA has formulated a program designed to improve the reliability of NASA systems. The long term goal for the NASA ultra reliability is to ultimately improve NASA systems by an order of magnitude. The approach outlined in this presentation involves the steps used in developing a strategic plan to achieve the long term objective of ultra reliability. Consideration is given to: complex systems, hardware (including aircraft, aerospace craft and launch vehicles), software, human interactions, long life missions, infrastructure development, and cross cutting technologies. Several NASA-wide workshops have been held, identifying issues for reliability improvement and providing mitigation strategies for these issues. In addition to representation from all of the NASA centers, experts from government (NASA and non-NASA), universities and industry participated. Highlights of a strategic plan, which is being developed using the results from these workshops, will be presented.

  17. The NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hudgins, Douglas M.; Blackwood, Gary H.; Gagosian, John S.

    2015-12-01

    The NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP) is chartered to implement the NASA space science goals of detecting and characterizing exoplanets and to search for signs of life. The ExEP manages space missions, future studies, technology investments, and ground-based science that either enables future missions or completes mission science. The exoplanet science community is engaged by the Program through Science Definition Teams and through the Exoplanet Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG). The ExEP includes the space science missions of Kepler, K2 , and the proposed WFIRST-AFTA that includes dark energy science, a widefield infrared survey, a microlensing survey for outer-exoplanet demographics, and a coronagraph for direct imaging of cool outer gas- and ice-giants around nearby stars. Studies of probe-scale (medium class) missions for a coronagraph (internal occulter) and starshade (external occulter) explore the trades of cost and science and provide motivation for a technology investment program to enable consideration of missions at the next decadal survey for NASA Astrophysics. Program elements include follow-up observations using the Keck Observatory, which contribute to the science yield of Kepler and K2, and include mid-infrared observations of exo-zodiacal dust by the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer which provide parameters critical to the design and predicted science yield of the next generation of direct imaging missions. ExEP includes the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute which provides archives, tools, and professional education for the exoplanet community. Each of these program elements contribute to the goal of detecting and characterizing earth-like planets orbiting other stars, and seeks to respond to rapid evolution in this discovery-driven field and to ongoing programmatic challenges through engagement of the scientific and technical communities.

  18. Institutional advantage

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Martin, Xavier

    Is there such a thing as institutional advantage—and what does it mean for the study of corporate competitive advantage? In this article, I develop the concept of institutional competitive advantage, as distinct from plain competitive advantage and from comparative institutional advantage. I first

  19. Institutional advantage

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Martin, Xavier

    2014-01-01

    Is there such a thing as institutional advantage—and what does it mean for the study of corporate competitive advantage? In this article, I develop the concept of institutional competitive advantage, as distinct from plain competitive advantage and from comparative institutional advantage. I first i

  20. Confucius Institute

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2009-01-01

    @@ Confucius Institute(simplified Chinese:孔子学院;traditional Chinese:孔子學院;pinyin:kǒngzǐ xuéyuàn)is a non-profit public institute which aims at promoting Chinese language and culture and supporting local Chinese teaching internationally through affiliated Confucius Institutes.

  1. Institutional advantage

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Martin, Xavier

    2014-01-01

    Is there such a thing as institutional advantage—and what does it mean for the study of corporate competitive advantage? In this article, I develop the concept of institutional competitive advantage, as distinct from plain competitive advantage and from comparative institutional advantage. I first i

  2. NASA Facts, Voyager.

    Science.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC. Educational Programs Div.

    This document is one of a series of publications of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on facts about the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn. This NASA mission consists of two unmanned Voyager spacecrafts launched in August and September of 1977, and due to arrive at Jupiter in 1979. An account of the scientific equipment…

  3. Overview of military technology at NASA Langley

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawyer, Wallace C.; Jackson, Charlie M., Jr.

    1989-01-01

    The Langley Research Center began addressing major research topics pertinent to the design of military aircraft under the egis of The National Advisory Council on Aeronautics in 1917, until 1958, when it passed under the control of the newly-instituted NASA research facilities system. A historical account is presented of NASA-Langley's involvement in the experimental investigation of twin-engined jet aircraft nozzle interfairings, thrust reversers, high-efficiency supersonic cruise configurations, high-alpha aerodynamics, air-to-air combat handling qualities, wing/stores flutter suppression, and store carriage and separation characteristics.

  4. The Effect of High-Dose Ionizing Radiation on the Isolated Photobiont of the Astrobiological Model Lichen Circinaria gyrosa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meeßen, Joachim; Backhaus, Theresa; Brandt, Annette; Raguse, Marina; Böttger, Ute; de Vera, Jean-Pierre; de la Torre, Rosa

    2017-02-01

    Lichen symbioses between fungi and algae represent successful life strategies to colonize the most extreme terrestrial habitats. Consequently, space exposure and simulation experiments have demonstrated lichens' high capacity for survival, and thus, they have become models in astrobiological research with which to discern the limits and limitations of terrestrial life. In a series of ground-based irradiation experiments, the STARLIFE campaign investigated the resistance of astrobiological model organisms to galactic cosmic radiation, which is one of the lethal stressors of extraterrestrial environments. Since previous studies have identified that the alga is the more sensitive lichen symbiont, we chose the isolated photobiont Trebouxia sp. of the astrobiological model Circinaria gyrosa as a subject in the campaign. Therein, γ radiation was used to exemplify the deleterious effects of low linear energy transfer (LET) ionizing radiation at extremely high doses up to 113 kGy in the context of astrobiology. The effects were analyzed by chlorophyll a fluorescence of photosystem II (PSII), cultivation assays, live/dead staining and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), and Raman laser spectroscopy (RLS). The results demonstrate dose-dependent impairment of photosynthesis, the cessation of cell proliferation, cellular damage, a decrease in metabolic activity, and degradation of photosynthetic pigments. While previous investigations on other extraterrestrial stressors have demonstrated a high potential of resistance, results of this study reveal the limits of photobiont resistance to ionizing radiation and characterize γ radiation-induced damages. This study also supports parallel STARLIFE studies on the lichens Circinaria gyrosa and Xanthoria elegans, both of which harbor a Trebouxia sp. photobiont.

  5. 14 CFR 1275.103 - Role of awardee institutions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    ... 14 Aeronautics and Space 5 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Role of awardee institutions. 1275.103... § 1275.103 Role of awardee institutions. (a) The awardee institutions have the primary responsibility for... research misconduct alleged to have occurred in association with their own institutions, although NASA...

  6. Extremotolerance and resistance of lichens: comparative studies on five species used in astrobiological research II. Secondary lichen compounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meessen, J; Sánchez, F J; Sadowsky, A; de la Torre, R; Ott, S; de Vera, J-P

    2013-12-01

    Lichens, which are symbioses of a fungus and one or two photoautotrophs, frequently tolerate extreme environmental conditions. This makes them valuable model systems in astrobiological research to fathom the limits and limitations of eukaryotic symbioses. Various studies demonstrated the high resistance of selected extremotolerant lichens towards extreme, non-terrestrial abiotic factors including space exposure, hypervelocity impact simulations as well as space and Martian parameter simulations. This study focusses on the diverse set of secondary lichen compounds (SLCs) that act as photo- and UVR-protective substances. Five lichen species used in present-day astrobiological research were compared: Buellia frigida, Circinaria gyrosa, Rhizocarpon geographicum, Xanthoria elegans, and Pleopsidium chlorophanum. Detailed investigation of secondary substances including photosynthetic pigments was performed for whole lichen thalli but also for axenically cultivated mycobionts and photobionts by methods of UV/VIS-spectrophotometry and two types of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Additionally, a set of chemical tests is presented to confirm the formation of melanic compounds in lichen and mycobiont samples. All investigated lichens reveal various sets of SLCs, except C. gyrosa where only melanin was putatively identified. Such studies will help to assess the contribution of SLCs on lichen extremotolerance, to understand the adaptation of lichens to prevalent abiotic stressors of the respective habitat, and to form a basis for interpreting recent and future astrobiological experiments. As most of the identified SLCs demonstrated a high capacity in absorbing UVR, they may also explain the high resistance of lichens towards non-terrestrial UVR.

  7. Energy Exchange NASA Opening Plenary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marrs, Rick

    2017-01-01

    Rick Marrs, Deputy Assistant Administrator Office of Strategic Infrastructure NASA Headquarters will be speaking during the 2017 Energy Exchange opening plenary. His presentation showcases the NASA mission, sustainability at NASA, NASA's strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, Existing PV Partnerships, and NASA funded Solar Initiatives at KSC.

  8. Circinaria gyrosa, a new astrobiological model system for studying the effects of heavy ion irradiation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martín, María Luisa; Moeller, Ralf; De la Torre Noetzel, Rosa; Raguse, M. Marina

    Up to date, most astrobiological experiments performed on space have been carried out on board of Earth-orbiting spacecrafts (e.g., Foton satellites), or on board of human-tended spacecrafts, (space shuttles and space stations). Organisms included in these experiments have been exposed to harsh space conditions: vacuum, doses of UV and ionizing radiation as well as extreme temperature fluctuations. Space radiation that arrived on these organisms is related with different sources: (e.g. solar particle events, galactic cosmic rays and electromagnetic radiation) [1]. More information on biological effects of cosmic radiation is needed to understand the possible risks for biological systems exposed to space conditions and to broaden our knowledge on the limits of terrestrial life. This study is focused on Circinaria gyrosa (from Aspicilia fruticulosa, ren. see Sohrabi, M., 2012), a vagrant lichen species collected at the steppic highlands of Central Spain. C. gyrosa. has been previously used in various space experiments, e.g., LITHOPANSPERMIA experiment, BIOPAN-6, FOTON M3, 2007, and in ground-based laboratory studies [2]. For example, after intensive UV-C exposure (7.2 x 107J/m2), C. gyrosa showed the highest PS-II activity of all lichens species tested [3]. Based on this high resistance to UV radiation C. gyrosa has been included in the next EXPOSE-R2 ISS experiment called “BIOMEX” (Biology and Mars-Experiment), in which different biological systems will be exposed to space and Martian conditions for nearly one and a half year. Here, we will present our first results of C.gyrosa, which have been obtained in frame of the STARLIFE project, an intercomparison project testing the effects of space-relevant ionizing radiation, i.e., heavy ions and X-rays, on different astrobiological model systems. For C. gyrosa we tested the organism metabolism through pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorescence analysis prior and after the each irradiation experiment. This new data

  9. NASA Image Exchange (NIX)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) provides access to aerospace-related citations, full-text online documents, and images and videos. The types of information...

  10. My NASA Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — MY NASA DATA (MND) is a tool that allows anyone to make use of satellite data that was previously unavailable.Through the use of MND’s Live Access Server (LAS) a...

  11. NASA Techport API

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The NASA TechPort system provides a RESTful web services API to make technology project data available in a machine-readable format. This API can be used to export...

  12. NASA Earth Exchange (NEX)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) represents a new platform for the Earth science community that provides a mechanism for scientific collaboration and knowledge sharing....

  13. NASA Space Sounds API

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — NASA has released a series of space sounds via sound cloud. We have abstracted away some of the hassle in accessing these sounds, so that developers can play with...

  14. NASA Water Resources Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toll, David L.

    2011-01-01

    With increasing population pressure and water usage coupled with climate variability and change, water issues are being reported by numerous groups as the most critical environmental problems facing us in the 21st century. Competitive uses and the prevalence of river basins and aquifers that extend across boundaries engender political tensions between communities, stakeholders and countries. In addition to the numerous water availability issues, water quality related problems are seriously affecting human health and our environment. The potential crises and conflicts especially arise when water is competed among multiple uses. For example, urban areas, environmental and recreational uses, agriculture, and energy production compete for scarce resources, not only in the Western U.S. but throughout much of the U.S. and also in numerous parts of the world. Mitigating these conflicts and meeting water demands and needs requires using existing water resources more efficiently. The NASA Water Resources Program Element works to use NASA products and technology to address these critical water issues. The primary goal of the Water Resources is to facilitate application of NASA Earth science products as a routine use in integrated water resources management for the sustainable use of water. This also includes the extreme events of drought and floods and the adaptation to the impacts from climate change. NASA satellite and Earth system observations of water and related data provide a huge volume of valuable data in both near-real-time and extended back nearly 50 years about the Earth's land surface conditions such as precipitation, snow, soil moisture, water levels, land cover type, vegetation type, and health. NASA Water Resources Program works closely to use NASA and Earth science data with other U.S. government agencies, universities, and non-profit and private sector organizations both domestically and internationally. The NASA Water Resources Program organizes its

  15. NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hosler, E. Ramon (Editor); Valdes, Carol (Editor); Brown, Tom (Editor)

    1993-01-01

    This document is a collection of technical reports on research conducted by the participants in the 1993 NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program at KSC. The basic common objectives of the Program are: to further the professional knowledge of qualified engineering and science faculty members; to stimulate an exchange of ideas between participants and NASA; to enrich and refresh the research and teaching activities of participants' institutions; and to contribute to the research objectives of the NASA centers. 1993 topics include wide band fiber optic communications, a prototype expert/information system for examining environmental risks of KSC activities, alternatives to premise wiring using ATM and microcellular technologies, rack insertion end effector (RIEE) automation, FTIR quantification of industrial hydraulic fluids in perchloroethylene, switch configuration for migration to optical fiber network, and more.

  16. Implementing DSpace at NASA Langley Research Center

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lowe, Greta

    2007-01-01

    This presentation looks at the implementation of the DSpace institutional repository system at the NASA Langley Technical Library. NASA Langley Technical Library implemented DSpace software as a replacement for the Langley Technical Report Server (LTRS). DSpace was also used to develop the Langley Technical Library Digital Repository (LTLDR). LTLDR contains archival copies of core technical reports in the aeronautics area dating back to the NACA era and other specialized collections relevant to the NASA Langley community. Extensive metadata crosswalks were created to facilitate moving data from various systems and formats to DSpace. The Dublin Core metadata screens were also customized. The OpenURL standard and Ex Libris Metalib are being used in this environment to assist our customers with either discovering full-text content or with initiating a request for the item.

  17. The Difficult Birth of NASA's Pluto Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neufeld, Michael J.

    2016-10-01

    The complex and contested origins of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, launched by NASA in 2006, provides a window on how space science policy has been formulated in the United States before and after the turn of the twenty-first century, and how the shifting network of institutions that support and shape space science have changed since 1989. Those decades that have so far been little studied except by policy scholars seeking lessons from the NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin's attempt to force a small-spacecraft technological revolution on space science in the 1990s. The New Horizons case study reveals a shift in the balance of power around 2000 among the important players in the field, increasing the influence of non-NASA actors—notably Congress, science groups and planetary-exploration lobbies. In addition, the origins of New Horizons reveals how contingent the emergence of a particular space science mission can be.

  18. NASA thesaurus aeronautics vocabulary

    Science.gov (United States)

    1991-01-01

    The controlled vocabulary used by the NASA Scientific and Technical Information effort to index documents in the area of aeronautics is presented. The terms comprise a subset of the 1988 edition of the NASA Thesaurus and its supplements issued through the end of 1990. The Aeronautics Vocabulary contains over 4700 terms presented in a hierarchical display format. In addition to aeronautics per se, the vocabulary covers supporting terminology from areas such as fluid dynamics, propulsion engineering, and test facilities and instrumentation.

  19. NASA thesaurus: Astronomy vocabulary

    Science.gov (United States)

    1988-01-01

    A terminology of descriptors used by the NASA Scientific and Technical information effort to index documents in the area of astronomy is presented. The terms are listed in hierarchical format derived from the 1988 edition of the NASA Thesaurus Volume 1 -- Hierarchical Listing. Over 1600 terms are included. In addition to astronomy, space sciences covered include astrophysics, cosmology, lunar flight and exploration, meteors and meteorites, celestial mechanics, planetary flight and exploration, and planetary science.

  20. Institutional ethnography

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lund, Rebecca; Tienari, Janne

    2016-01-01

    . In institutional ethnography the notion of objectification is applied to describe research processes like those that have been found to dominate in scholarly work on M&As. In this chapter, we offer an outline of Smiths critique of objectification, elucidate how institutional ethnography seeks to address it...

  1. Colonial Institutions

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    McAtackney, Laura; Palmer, Russell

    2016-01-01

    and the USA which reveal that the study of colonial institutions should not be limited to the functional life of these institutions—or solely those that take the form of monumental architecture—but should include the long shadow of “imperial debris” (Stoler 2008) and immaterial institutions....

  2. Institutional actorhood

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Madsen, Christian Uhrenholdt

    In this paper I describe the changing role of intra-organizational experts in the face of institutional complexity of their field. I do this through a qualitative investigation of the institutional and organizational roles of actors in Danish organizations who are responsible for the efforts to c...... to comply with the Danish work environment regulation. And by doing so I also describe how institutional complexity and organizational responses to this complexity are particular important for the changing modes of governance that characterizes contemporary welfare states.......In this paper I describe the changing role of intra-organizational experts in the face of institutional complexity of their field. I do this through a qualitative investigation of the institutional and organizational roles of actors in Danish organizations who are responsible for the efforts...

  3. Institutional upbringing

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gulløv, Eva

    2008-01-01

    In the chapter, I discuss the role day care institutions play in the construction of the idea of proper childhood in Denmark. Drawing on findings from research on ethnic minority children in two Danish day care institutions, I begin with a discussion of how childcare institutions act as civilising...... agents, empowered with the legitimate right to define and control normality and proper ways of behaving oneself. I aim to show how institutions come to define the normal child and proper childhood in accordance with current efforts toward reinventing national culture, exemplified by legislation requiring...... current testing of Danish language fluency levels among pre-school minority children. Testing language skills marks and defines distinctions that reinforce images of deviance that, in turn, legitimize initiatives to enrol children, specifically minority children, in child care institutions....

  4. The astrobiological mission EXPOSE-R on board of the International Space Station

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rabbow, Elke; Rettberg, Petra; Barczyk, Simon; Bohmeier, Maria; Parpart, Andre; Panitz, Corinna; Horneck, Gerda; Burfeindt, Jürgen; Molter, Ferdinand; Jaramillo, Esther; Pereira, Carlos; Weiß, Peter; Willnecker, Rainer; Demets, René; Dettmann, Jan

    2015-01-01

    EXPOSE-R flew as the second of the European Space Agency (ESA) EXPOSE multi-user facilities on the International Space Station. During the mission on the external URM-D platform of the Zvezda service module, samples of eight international astrobiology experiments selected by ESA and one Russian guest experiment were exposed to low Earth orbit space parameters from March 10th, 2009 to January 21st, 2011. EXPOSE-R accommodated a total of 1220 samples for exposure to selected space conditions and combinations, including space vacuum, temperature cycles through 273 K, cosmic radiation, solar electromagnetic radiation at >110, >170 or >200 nm at various fluences up to GJ m-2. Samples ranged from chemical compounds via unicellular organisms and multicellular mosquito larvae and seeds to passive radiation dosimeters. Additionally, one active radiation measurement instrument was accommodated on EXPOSE-R and commanded from ground in accordance with the facility itself. Data on ultraviolet radiation, cosmic radiation and temperature were measured every 10 s and downlinked by telemetry and data carrier every few months. The EXPOSE-R trays and samples returned to Earth on March 9th, 2011 with Shuttle flight, Space Transportation System (STS)-133/ULF 5, Discovery, after successful total mission duration of 27 months in space. The samples were analysed in the individual investigators laboratories. A parallel Mission Ground Reference experiment was performed on ground with a parallel set of hardware and samples under simulated space conditions following to the data transmitted from the flight mission.

  5. On the Formation of Astrobiologically Important Molecules in Outer Solar System Ices

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaiser, Ralf-Ingo

    2012-05-01

    The prime directive of our research project is to comprehend the chemical evolution of the Solar System and how life began and developed on Earth. This will be achieved by understanding the formation of carbon-, hydrogen-, oxygen-, and nitrogen-bearing (CHON) molecules in ices of Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and on comets by reproducing the space environment in laboratory experiments. A study of these KBOs is important because they resemble natural ‘time capsules’ at a frozen stage before life developed on Earth. We follow the methodology that a comparison of the molecules formed in the experiments with the current composition of KBOs provides an exceptional potential to reconstruct the composition of icy, outer Solar System bodies at the time of their formation billions of years ago. Here, we present resent results of laboratory experiments simulating the interaction of ionizing radiation with low temperatures ices and mixtures relevant to the chemistry of KBOs and comets. Special attention is given to the reaction mechanisms on the synthesis of astrobiologically important molecules; amino acids, sugars, amines, carboxylic acids, and dipeptides

  6. Density Functional Theory Study of Cyanoetheneselenol: A Molecule of Astrobiological Interest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Surajbali, P.; Ramanah, D. Kodi; Rhyman, L.; Alswaidan, I. A.; Fun, H.-K.; Somanah, R.; Ramasami, P.

    2015-12-01

    The interstellar medium has a rich chemistry which involves a wide variety of molecules. Of particular interest are molecules that have a link to prebiotic chemistry which hold the key to understanding of our origins. On the basis of suggestions that selenium may have been involved in the origin and evolution of life, we have studied the selenium analogue of cyanoethenethiol, namely the novel cyanoetheneselenol. Cyanoetheneselenol exhibits conformational and geometrical isomerism. This theoretical work deals with the study of four forms of cyanoetheneselenol in terms of their structural, spectroscopic and thermodynamic parameters. All computations were performed using density functional theory method with the B3LYP functional and the Pople basis set, 6-311 + G(d,p), for all atoms. The relative stability of the four isomers of cyanoetheneselenol was obtained and interpreted. The infrared spectra were generated and assignment of the normal modes of vibration was performed. Probable regions of detection, proposed on the basis of parameters obtained from this study for the four isomers, include comets, the molecular cloud: Sagittarius B2(N), and planetary atmospheres. The molecular and spectroscopic parameters should be useful for future identification of the astrobiological molecule cyanoetheneselenol and the development of the Square Kilometre Array.

  7. Density Functional Theory Study of Cyanoetheneselenol: A Molecule of Astrobiological Interest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Surajbali, P; Ramanah, D Kodi; Rhyman, L; Alswaidan, I A; Fun, H-K; Somanah, R; Ramasami, P

    2015-12-01

    The interstellar medium has a rich chemistry which involves a wide variety of molecules. Of particular interest are molecules that have a link to prebiotic chemistry which hold the key to understanding of our origins. On the basis of suggestions that selenium may have been involved in the origin and evolution of life, we have studied the selenium analogue of cyanoethenethiol, namely the novel cyanoetheneselenol. Cyanoetheneselenol exhibits conformational and geometrical isomerism. This theoretical work deals with the study of four forms of cyanoetheneselenol in terms of their structural, spectroscopic and thermodynamic parameters. All computations were performed using density functional theory method with the B3LYP functional and the Pople basis set, 6-311 + G(d,p), for all atoms. The relative stability of the four isomers of cyanoetheneselenol was obtained and interpreted. The infrared spectra were generated and assignment of the normal modes of vibration was performed. Probable regions of detection, proposed on the basis of parameters obtained from this study for the four isomers, include comets, the molecular cloud: Sagittarius B2(N), and planetary atmospheres. The molecular and spectroscopic parameters should be useful for future identification of the astrobiological molecule cyanoetheneselenol and the development of the Square Kilometre Array. Graphical Abstract E and Z isomers of cyanoetheneselenol.

  8. Reduced and oxidised scytonemin: theoretical protocol for Raman spectroscopic identification of potential key biomolecules for astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Varnali, Tereza; Edwards, Howell G M

    2014-01-03

    Scytonemin is an important UV-radiation protective biomolecule synthesised by extremophilic cyanobacteria in stressed terrestrial environments. Scytonemin and its reduced form have been both isolated experimentally and the Raman spectrum for scytonemin has been assigned and characterised experimentally both in extracts and in living extremophilic cyanobacterial colonies. Scytonemin is recognised as a key biomarker molecule for terrestrial organisms in stressed environments. We propose a new, theoretically plausible structure for oxidised scytonemin which has not been mentioned in the literature hitherto. DFT calculations for scytonemin, reduced scytonemin and the new structure modelled and proposed for oxidised scytonemin are reported along with their Raman spectroscopic data and λmax UV-absorption data obtained theoretically. Comparison of the vibrational spectroscopic assignments allows the three forms of scytonemin to be detected and identified and assist not only in the clarification of the major features in the experimentally observed Raman spectral data for the parent scytonemin but also support a protocol proposed for their analytical discrimination. The results of this study provide a basis for the search for molecules of this type in future astrobiological missions of exploration and the search for extinct and extant life terrestrially.

  9. Resistance of Microorganisms to Extreme Environmental Conditions and Its Contribution to Astrobiology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pabulo Henrique Rampelotto

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available In the last decades, substantial changes have occurred regarding what scientists consider the limits of habitable environmental conditions. For every extreme environmental condition investigated, a variety of microorganisms have shown that not only can they tolerate these conditions, but that they also often require these extreme conditions for survival. Microbes can return to life even after hundreds of millions of years. Furthermore, a variety of studies demonstrate that microorganisms can survive under extreme conditions, such as ultracentrifugation, hypervelocity, shock pressure, high temperature variations, vacuums, and different ultraviolet and ionizing radiation intensities, which simulate the conditions that microbes could experience during the ejection from one planet, the journey through space, as well as the impact in another planet. With these discoveries, our knowledge about the biosphere has grown and the putative boundaries of life have expanded. The present work examines the recent discoveries and the principal advances concerning the resistance of microorganisms to extreme environmental conditions, and analyzes its contributions to the development of the main themes of astrobiology: the origins of life, the search for extraterrestrial life, and the dispersion of life in the Universe.

  10. Introduction to NASA's Academy of Aerospace Quality

    OpenAIRE

    Smith, Alice; Smith, Jeffrey

    2016-01-01

    The NASA Academy of Aerospace Quality (AAQ) is an internet-based public domain forum of quality assurance-related educational modules for students and faculty at academic institutions targeting those involved in aerospace research, technology development, and payload design and development including Cube Sats, Small Sats, Nano Sats, Rockets and High Altitude Balloons. The target users are university project and research teams but the academy has also been used by K-12 teams, independent space...

  11. Transparent Institutions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Javier Fombona

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this project is to create sets of media-based imagery that illustrate the internal workings of public institutions to the common citizen. This is an important need in countries that are seeking to open up their public and private institutions and bring them closer to their users. Method: There is a clear need to carry out proposals that tackle organizational lack of transparency; to this end, through an interdisciplinary approach, we propose the creation of a freeaccess Web-based portal that shows the interior of the institutions at hand, learning institutions to start with, this scope will be broadened later to institutions of health and public safety. The project chooses and shows a core selection of features capable of becoming international models for each kind of institutions, elementary schools in this phase. These features are shown in short videos, depicting every core element found: installations, governing bodies, documentation, samples of learning and teaching methodologies in use, etc. Results: the propossed project succeeds in getting institutions closer to their users. It has been developed in Spain, and translated to other Latin-American countries and the United States.

  12. Transparent Institutions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Javier Fombona

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this project is to create sets of media-based imagery that illustrate the internal workings of public institutions to the common citizen. This is an important need in countries that are seeking to open up their public and private institutions and bring them closer to their users. Method: There is a clear need to carry out proposals that tackle organizational lack of transparency; to this end, through an interdisciplinary approach, we propose the creation of a freeaccess Web-based portal that shows the interior of the institutions at hand, learning institutions to start with, this scope will be broadened later to institutions of health and public safety. The project chooses and shows a core selection of features capable of becoming international models for each kind of institutions, elementary schools in this phase. These features are shown in short videos, depicting every core element found: installations, governing bodies, documentation, samples of learning and teaching methodologies in use, etc. Results: the propossed project succeeds in getting institutions closer to their users. It has been developed in Spain, and translated to other Latin-American countries and the United States.

  13. NASA Planetary Visualization Tool

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hogan, P.; Kim, R.

    2004-12-01

    NASA World Wind allows one to zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth, leveraging the combination of high resolution LandSat imagery and SRTM elevation data to experience Earth in visually rich 3D, just as if they were really there. NASA World Wind combines LandSat 7 imagery with Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) elevation data, for a dramatic view of the Earth at eye level. Users can literally fly across the world's terrain from any location in any direction. Particular focus was put into the ease of usability so people of all ages can enjoy World Wind. All one needs to control World Wind is a two button mouse. Additional guides and features can be accessed though a simplified menu. Navigation is automated with single clicks of a mouse as well as the ability to type in any location and automatically zoom to it. NASA World Wind was designed to run on recent PC hardware with the same technology used by today's 3D video games. NASA World Wind delivers the NASA Blue Marble, spectacular true-color imagery of the entire Earth at 1-kilometer-per-pixel. Using NASA World Wind, you can continue to zoom past Blue Marble resolution to seamlessly experience the extremely detailed mosaic of LandSat 7 data at an impressive 15-meters-per-pixel resolution. NASA World Wind also delivers other color bands such as the infrared spectrum. The NASA Scientific Visualization Studio at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has produced a set of visually intense animations that demonstrate a variety of subjects such as hurricane dynamics and seasonal changes across the globe. NASA World Wind takes these animations and plays them directly on the world. The NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) produces a set of time relevant planetary imagery that's updated every day. MODIS catalogs fires, floods, dust, smoke, storms and volcanic activity. NASA World Wind produces an easily customized view of this information and marks them directly on the globe. When one

  14. NASA Systems Engineering Handbook

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hirshorn, Steven R.; Voss, Linda D.; Bromley, Linda K.

    2017-01-01

    The update of this handbook continues the methodology of the previous revision: a top-down compatibility with higher level Agency policy and a bottom-up infusion of guidance from the NASA practitioners in the field. This approach provides the opportunity to obtain best practices from across NASA and bridge the information to the established NASA systems engineering processes and to communicate principles of good practice as well as alternative approaches rather than specify a particular way to accomplish a task. The result embodied in this handbook is a top-level implementation approach on the practice of systems engineering unique to NASA. Material used for updating this handbook has been drawn from many sources, including NPRs, Center systems engineering handbooks and processes, other Agency best practices, and external systems engineering textbooks and guides. This handbook consists of six chapters: (1) an introduction, (2) a systems engineering fundamentals discussion, (3) the NASA program project life cycles, (4) systems engineering processes to get from a concept to a design, (5) systems engineering processes to get from a design to a final product, and (6) crosscutting management processes in systems engineering. The chapters are supplemented by appendices that provide outlines, examples, and further information to illustrate topics in the chapters. The handbook makes extensive use of boxes and figures to define, refine, illustrate, and extend concepts in the chapters.

  15. Burn Institute

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... Now Help keep local seniors safe from fire! Burn Survivor Support If you are reading this, chances ... year – a burn injury. Learn more Fire and Burn Prevention Each year, the Burn Institute provides fire ...

  16. CSCAPES Institute

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Alex Pothen

    2008-10-26

    We report on the progress made by researchers of the CSCAPES Institute at Old Dominion University for the years 2007 and 2008 in the areas of research, software creation, education and training, and outreach activities.

  17. Institutional Controls

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — This dataset consists of institutional control data from multiple Superfund sites in U.S. EPA Region 8. These data were acquired from multiple sources at different...

  18. Technological Innovations from NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pellis, Neal R.

    2006-01-01

    The challenge of human space exploration places demands on technology that push concepts and development to the leading edge. In biotechnology and biomedical equipment development, NASA science has been the seed for numerous innovations, many of which are in the commercial arena. The biotechnology effort has led to rational drug design, analytical equipment, and cell culture and tissue engineering strategies. Biomedical research and development has resulted in medical devices that enable diagnosis and treatment advances. NASA Biomedical developments are exemplified in the new laser light scattering analysis for cataracts, the axial flow left ventricular-assist device, non contact electrocardiography, and the guidance system for LASIK surgery. Many more developments are in progress. NASA will continue to advance technologies, incorporating new approaches from basic and applied research, nanotechnology, computational modeling, and database analyses.

  19. On Beyond Star Trek, the Role of Synthetic Biology in Nasa's Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    2016-01-01

    The time has come to for NASA to exploit the nascent field of synthetic biology in pursuit of its mission, including aeronautics, earth science, astrobiology and notably, human exploration. Conversely, NASA advances the fundamental technology of synthetic biology as no one else can because of its unique expertise in the origin of life and life in extreme environments, including the potential for alternate life forms. This enables unique, creative "game changing" advances. NASA's requirement for minimizing upmass in flight will also drive the field toward miniaturization and automation. These drivers will greatly increase the utility of synthetic biology solutions for military, health in remote areas and commercial purposes. To this end, we have begun a program at NASA to explore the use of synthetic biology in NASA's missions, particularly space exploration. As part of this program, we began hosting an iGEM team of undergraduates drawn from Brown and Stanford Universities to conduct synthetic biology research at NASA Ames Research Center. The 2011 team (http://2011.igem.org/Team:Brown-Stanford) produced an award-winning project on using synthetic biology as a basis for a human Mars settlement and the 2012 team has expanded the use of synthetic biology to estimate the potential for life in the clouds of other planets (http://2012.igem.org/Team:Stanford-Brown; http://www.calacademy.org/sciencetoday/igem-competition/). More recent projects from the Stanford-Brown team have expanded our ideas of how synthetic biology can aid NASA's missions from "Synthetic BioCommunication" (http://2013.igem.org/Team:Stanford-Brown) to a "Biodegradable UAS (drone)" in collaboration with Spelman College (http://2014.igem.org/Team:StanfordBrownSpelman#SBS%20iGEM) and most recently, "Self-Folding Origami" (http://2015.igem.org/Team:Stanford-Brown), the winner of the 2015 award for Manufacturing.

  20. The Science@NASA Websites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koczor, Ronald J.; Phillips. Tony; Rose, M. Franklin (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    The Science@NASA websites represent a significant stride forward in communicating NASA science to the general public via the Internet. Using a family of websites aimed at science-attentive adults, high school students, middle school students and educators, the Science@NASA activity presents selected stories of on-going NASA science, giving context to otherwise dry press releases and scientific reports.

  1. NASA Technology Applications Team: Commercial applications of aerospace technology

    Science.gov (United States)

    1994-01-01

    The Research Triangle Institute (RTI) Team has maintained its focus on helping NASA establish partnerships with U.S. industry for dual use development and technology commercialization. Our emphasis has been on outcomes, such as licenses, industry partnerships and commercialization of technologies, that are important to NASA in its mission of contributing to the improved competitive position of U.S. industry. The RTI Team has been successful in the development of NASA/industry partnerships and commercialization of NASA technologies. RTI ongoing commitment to quality and customer responsiveness has driven our staff to continuously improve our technology transfer methodologies to meet NASA's requirements. For example, RTI has emphasized the following areas: (1) Methodology For Technology Assessment and Marketing: RTI has developed and implemented effective processes for assessing the commercial potential of NASA technologies. These processes resulted from an RTI study of best practices, hands-on experience, and extensive interaction with the NASA Field Centers to adapt to their specific needs. (2) Effective Marketing Strategies: RTI surveyed industry technology managers to determine effective marketing tools and strategies. The Technology Opportunity Announcement format and content were developed as a result of this industry input. For technologies with a dynamic visual impact, RTI has developed a stand-alone demonstration diskette that was successful in developing industry interest in licensing the technology. And (3) Responsiveness to NASA Requirements: RTI listened to our customer (NASA) and designed our processes to conform with the internal procedures and resources at each NASA Field Center and the direction provided by NASA's Agenda for Change. This report covers the activities of the Research Triangle Institute Technology Applications Team for the period 1 October 1993 through 31 December 1994.

  2. Backward Planetary Protection Issues and Possible Solutions for Icy Plume Sample Return Missions from Astrobiological Targets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yano, Hajime; McKay, Christopher P.; Anbar, Ariel; Tsou, Peter

    The recent report of possible water vapor plumes at Europa and Ceres, together with the well-known Enceladus plume containing water vapor, salt, ammonia, and organic molecules, suggests that sample return missions could evolve into a generic approach for outer Solar System exploration in the near future, especially for the benefit of astrobiology research. Sampling such plumes can be accomplished via fly-through mission designs, modeled after the successful Stardust mission to capture and return material from Comet Wild-2 and multiple, precise trajectory controls of the Cassini mission to fly through Enceladus’ plume. The proposed LIFE (Life Investigation For Enceladus) mission to Enceladus, which would sample organic molecules from the plume of that apparently habitable world, provides one example of the appealing scientific return of such missions. Beyond plumes, the upper atmosphere of Titan could also be sampled in this manner. The SCIM mission to Mars, also inspired by Stardust, would sample and return aerosol dust in the upper atmosphere of Mars and thus extends this concept even to other planetary bodies. Such missions share common design needs. In particular, they require large exposed sampler areas (or sampler arrays) that can be contained to the standards called for by international planetary protection protocols that COSPAR Planetary Protection Policy (PPP) recommends. Containment is also needed because these missions are driven by astrobiologically relevant science - including interest in organic molecules - which argues against heat sterilization that could destroy scientific value of samples. Sample containment is a daunting engineering challenge. Containment systems must be carefully designed to appropriate levels to satisfy the two top requirements: planetary protection policy and the preserving the scientific value of samples. Planning for Mars sample return tends to center on a hermetic seal specification (i.e., gas-tight against helium escape

  3. Extremotolerance and resistance of lichens: comparative studies on five species used in astrobiological research I. Morphological and anatomical characteristics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meeßen, J; Sánchez, F J; Brandt, A; Balzer, E-M; de la Torre, R; Sancho, L G; de Vera, J-P; Ott, S

    2013-06-01

    Lichens are symbioses of two organisms, a fungal mycobiont and a photoautotrophic photobiont. In nature, many lichens tolerate extreme environmental conditions and thus became valuable models in astrobiological research to fathom biological resistance towards non-terrestrial conditions; including space exposure, hypervelocity impact simulations as well as space and Martian parameter simulations. All studies demonstrated the high resistance towards non-terrestrial abiotic factors of selected extremotolerant lichens. Besides other adaptations, this study focuses on the morphological and anatomical traits by comparing five lichen species-Circinaria gyrosa, Rhizocarpon geographicum, Xanthoria elegans, Buellia frigida, Pleopsidium chlorophanum-used in present-day astrobiological research. Detailed investigation of thallus organization by microscopy methods allows to study the effect of morphology on lichen resistance and forms a basis for interpreting data of recent and future experiments. All investigated lichens reveal a common heteromerous thallus structure but diverging sets of morphological-anatomical traits, as intra-/extra-thalline mucilage matrices, cortices, algal arrangements, and hyphal strands. In B. frigida, R. geographicum, and X. elegans the combination of pigmented cortex, algal arrangement, and mucilage seems to enhance resistance, while subcortex and algal clustering seem to be crucial in C. gyrosa, as well as pigmented cortices and basal thallus protrusions in P. chlorophanum. Thus, generalizations on morphologically conferred resistance have to be avoided. Such differences might reflect the diverging evolutionary histories and are advantageous by adapting lichens to prevalent abiotic stressors. The peculiar lichen morphology demonstrates its remarkable stake in resisting extreme terrestrial conditions and may explain the high resistance of lichens found in astrobiological research.

  4. Extremotolerance and Resistance of Lichens: Comparative Studies on Five Species Used in Astrobiological Research I. Morphological and Anatomical Characteristics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meeßen, J.; Sánchez, F. J.; Brandt, A.; Balzer, E.-M.; de la Torre, R.; Sancho, L. G.; de Vera, J.-P.; Ott, S.

    2013-06-01

    Lichens are symbioses of two organisms, a fungal mycobiont and a photoautotrophic photobiont. In nature, many lichens tolerate extreme environmental conditions and thus became valuable models in astrobiological research to fathom biological resistance towards non-terrestrial conditions; including space exposure, hypervelocity impact simulations as well as space and Martian parameter simulations. All studies demonstrated the high resistance towards non-terrestrial abiotic factors of selected extremotolerant lichens. Besides other adaptations, this study focuses on the morphological and anatomical traits by comparing five lichen species— Circinaria gyrosa, Rhizocarpon geographicum, Xanthoria elegans, Buellia frigida, Pleopsidium chlorophanum—used in present-day astrobiological research. Detailed investigation of thallus organization by microscopy methods allows to study the effect of morphology on lichen resistance and forms a basis for interpreting data of recent and future experiments. All investigated lichens reveal a common heteromerous thallus structure but diverging sets of morphological-anatomical traits, as intra-/extra-thalline mucilage matrices, cortices, algal arrangements, and hyphal strands. In B. frigida, R. geographicum, and X. elegans the combination of pigmented cortex, algal arrangement, and mucilage seems to enhance resistance, while subcortex and algal clustering seem to be crucial in C. gyrosa, as well as pigmented cortices and basal thallus protrusions in P. chlorophanum. Thus, generalizations on morphologically conferred resistance have to be avoided. Such differences might reflect the diverging evolutionary histories and are advantageous by adapting lichens to prevalent abiotic stressors. The peculiar lichen morphology demonstrates its remarkable stake in resisting extreme terrestrial conditions and may explain the high resistance of lichens found in astrobiological research.

  5. Germination of Spores of Astrobiologically Relevant Bacillus Species in High-Salinity Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagler, Katja; Julius, Christina; Moeller, Ralf

    2016-07-01

    In times of increasing space exploration and search for extraterrestrial life, new questions and challenges for planetary protection, aiming to avoid forward contamination of different planets or moons with terrestrial life, are emerging. Spore-forming bacteria such as Bacillus species have a high contamination potential due to their spores' extreme resistance, enabling them to withstand space conditions. Spores require liquid water for their conversion into a growing cell (i.e., spore germination and subsequent growth). If present, water on extraterrestrial planets or moons is likely to be closely associated with salts (e.g., in salty oceans or brines), thus constituting high-salinity environments. Spores of Bacillus subtilis can germinate despite very high salt concentrations, although salt stress does exert negative effects on this process. In this study, germination and metabolic reactivation ("outgrowth") of spores of five astrobiologically relevant Bacillus species (B. megaterium, B. pumilus SAFR-032, B. nealsonii, B. mojavensis, and B. vallismortis) in high salinity (≤3.6 M NaCl) were investigated. Spores of different species exhibited different germination and outgrowth capabilities in high salinity, which strongly depended on germination conditions, especially the exact composition of the medium. In this context, a new "universal" germination trigger for Bacillus spores, named KAGE (KCl, L-alanine, D-glucose, ectoine), was identified, which will be very useful for future comparative germination and outgrowth studies on different Bacillus species. Overall, this study yielded interesting new insights on salt stress effects on spore germination and points out the difficulty of predicting the potential of spores to contaminate salty environments on extraterrestrial celestial bodies.

  6. The Effect of High-Dose Ionizing Radiation on the Astrobiological Model Lichen Circinaria gyrosa

    Science.gov (United States)

    de la Torre, Rosa; Zélia Miller, Ana; Cubero, Beatriz; Martín-Cerezo, M. Luisa; Raguse, Marina; Meeßen, Joachim

    2017-02-01

    The lichen Circinaria gyrosa is an astrobiological model defined by its high capacity of resistance to space conditions and to a simulated martian environment. Therefore, it became part of the currently operated BIOMEX experiment on board the International Space Station and the recent STARLIFE campaign to study the effects of four types of space-relevant ionizing radiation. The samples were irradiated with helium and iron ions at doses up to 2 kGy, with X-rays at doses up to 5 kGy and with γ rays at doses from 6 to 113 kGy. Results on C. gyrosa's resistance to simulated space ionizing radiation and its post-irradiation viability were obtained by (i) chlorophyll a fluorescence of photosystem II (PSII), (ii) epifluorescence microscopy, (iii) confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), and (iv) field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM). Results of photosynthetic activity and epifluorescence show no significant changes up to a dose of 1 kGy (helium ions), 2 kGy (iron ions), 5 kGy (X-rays) - the maximum doses applied for those radiation qualities - as well as a dose of 6 kGy of γ irradiation, which was the lowest dose applied for this low linear energy transfer (LET) radiation. Significant damage in a dose-related manner was observed only at much higher doses of γ irradiation (up to 113 kGy). These data corroborate the findings of the parallel STARLIFE studies on the effects of ionizing radiation on the lichen Circinaria gyrosa, its isolated photobiont, and the lichen Xanthoria elegans.

  7. EXPOSE-R2: The Astrobiological ESA Mission on Board of the International Space Station.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rabbow, Elke; Rettberg, Petra; Parpart, Andre; Panitz, Corinna; Schulte, Wolfgang; Molter, Ferdinand; Jaramillo, Esther; Demets, René; Weiß, Peter; Willnecker, Rainer

    2017-01-01

    On July 23, 2014, the Progress cargo spacecraft 56P was launched from Baikonur to the International Space Station (ISS), carrying EXPOSE-R2, the third ESA (European Space Agency) EXPOSE facility, the second EXPOSE on the outside platform of the Russian Zvezda module, with four international astrobiological experiments into space. More than 600 biological samples of archaea, bacteria (as biofilms and in planktonic form), lichens, fungi, plant seeds, triops eggs, mosses and 150 samples of organic compounds were exposed to the harsh space environment and to parameters similar to those on the Mars surface. Radiation dosimeters distributed over the whole facility complemented the scientific payload. Three extravehicular activities later the chemical samples were returned to Earth on March 2, 2016, with Soyuz 44S, having spent 588 days in space. The biological samples arrived back later, on June 18, 2016, with 45S, after a total duration in space of 531 days. The exposure of the samples to Low Earth Orbit vacuum lasted for 531 days and was divided in two parts: protected against solar irradiation during the first 62 days, followed by exposure to solar radiation during the subsequent 469 days. In parallel to the space mission, a Mission Ground Reference (MGR) experiment with a flight identical Hardware and a complete flight identical set of samples was performed at the premises of DLR (German Aerospace Center) in Cologne by MUSC (Microgravity User Support Center), according to the mission data either downloaded from the ISS (temperature data, facility status, inner pressure status) or provided by RedShift Design and Engineering BVBA, Belgium (calculated ultra violet radiation fluence data). In this paper, the EXPOSE-R2 facility, the experimental samples, mission parameters, environmental parameters, and the overall mission and MGR sequences are described, building the background for the research papers of the individual experiments, their analysis and results.

  8. EXPOSE-R2: The Astrobiological ESA Mission on Board of the International Space Station

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elke Rabbow

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available On July 23, 2014, the Progress cargo spacecraft 56P was launched from Baikonur to the International Space Station (ISS, carrying EXPOSE-R2, the third ESA (European Space Agency EXPOSE facility, the second EXPOSE on the outside platform of the Russian Zvezda module, with four international astrobiological experiments into space. More than 600 biological samples of archaea, bacteria (as biofilms and in planktonic form, lichens, fungi, plant seeds, triops eggs, mosses and 150 samples of organic compounds were exposed to the harsh space environment and to parameters similar to those on the Mars surface. Radiation dosimeters distributed over the whole facility complemented the scientific payload. Three extravehicular activities later the chemical samples were returned to Earth on March 2, 2016, with Soyuz 44S, having spent 588 days in space. The biological samples arrived back later, on June 18, 2016, with 45S, after a total duration in space of 531 days. The exposure of the samples to Low Earth Orbit vacuum lasted for 531 days and was divided in two parts: protected against solar irradiation during the first 62 days, followed by exposure to solar radiation during the subsequent 469 days. In parallel to the space mission, a Mission Ground Reference (MGR experiment with a flight identical Hardware and a complete flight identical set of samples was performed at the premises of DLR (German Aerospace Center in Cologne by MUSC (Microgravity User Support Center, according to the mission data either downloaded from the ISS (temperature data, facility status, inner pressure status or provided by RedShift Design and Engineering BVBA, Belgium (calculated ultra violet radiation fluence data. In this paper, the EXPOSE-R2 facility, the experimental samples, mission parameters, environmental parameters, and the overall mission and MGR sequences are described, building the background for the research papers of the individual experiments, their analysis and results.

  9. The Mojave Desert: A Martian Analog Site for Future Astrobiology Themed Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salas, E.; Abbey, W.; Bhartia, R.; Beegle, L. W.

    2011-01-01

    Astrobiological interest in Mars is highlighted by evidence that Mars was once warm enough to have liquid water present on its surface long enough to create geologic formations that could only exist in the presense of extended fluvial periods. These periods existed at the same time life on Earth arose. If life began on Mars as well during this period, it is reasonable to assume it may have adapted to the subsurface as environments at the surface changed into the inhospitable state we find today. If the next series of Mars missions (Mars Science Laboratory, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter proposed for launch in 2016, and potential near surface sample return) fail to discover either extinct or extant life on Mars, a subsurface mission would be necessary to attempt to "close the book" on the existence of martian life. Mars is much colder and drier than Earth, with a very low pressure CO2 environment and no obvious habitats. Terrestrial regions with limited precipitation, and hence reduced active biota, are some of the best martian low to mid latitude analogs to be found on Earth, be they the Antarctic dry valleys, the Atacama or Mojave Deserts. The Mojave Desert/Death Valley region is considered a Mars analog site by the Terrestrial Analogs Panel of the NSF-sponsored decadal survey; a field guide was even developed and a workshop was held on its applicability as a Mars analog. This region has received a great deal of attention due to its accessibility and the variety of landforms and processes observed relevant to martian studies.

  10. 天体生物学概要%Outline of Astrobiology

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    李一良

    2011-01-01

    Are we alone? Is our Earth, the tiny blue planet in this infinite Universe, the only harbor for life? Astrobiology concerns the study of the origin, evolution and destiny of life in the Universe and touches almost all the fundamental questions asked by mankind. The emergence of this science is the natural outcome of the great advances in astronomy, biology, and geology. The development of molecular biology has revealed the unitary origin and DNA-coding of all life on Earth in despite of the great diversity after a long Darwinian evolution. Geologists dated the origin of life back to almost 3.8 billion years ago. Planetary explorations in our solar system have indicated abundant life materials being stored in the planetesimal zone and beyond. Furthermore, the detection of exoplanets has practically extended life exploration into the deep Universe. The astrobiological studies can be classified into cosmic, planetary, ecosystematic scales on a space dimension and stellar and interstellar evolution, chemical evolution of prelife on Earth, and modem ecosystem on a time dimension. Stellar nucleosynthesis and the evolution of galactic chemistry tell us about the formation of life-essential elements, such as H-C-O-N-S-P and Fe-peaked transition metals. The breakthrough in exoplanet detection is a great step in searching a second life and scientists began to develop techniques to examine the atmosphere composition of Earth-like exoplanets. Based on our understanding of life origin on Earth, a body of liquid water, enough carbon and a silicate crust on a planet with a right distance to its sun are sufficient premiss to make a planet habitable. When those conditions are met, life might start in hundred million years or even shorter time period. It is understood now that life deeply changes the surface spheres of Earth and our current atmosphere is pretty much the result of biological respiration. It is also wondered that the great events happened on Earth, such as the

  11. Doing business with NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    1995-01-01

    Because many U.S. businesses and companies want to do business with NASA, the Agency sends out procurement specialists to trade shows and conferences and organizes seminars to educate the business public on how to get on procurement lists to become product and service providers to the federal government.

  12. NASA Bioreactor Schematic

    Science.gov (United States)

    2001-01-01

    The schematic depicts the major elements and flow patterns inside the NASA Bioreactor system. Waste and fresh medium are contained in plastic bags placed side-by-side so the waste bag fills as the fresh medium bag is depleted. The compliance vessel contains a bladder to accommodate pressure transients that might damage the system. A peristolic pump moves fluid by squeezing the plastic tubing, thus avoiding potential contamination. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC). NASA-sponsored bioreactor research has been instrumental in helping scientists to better understand normal and cancerous tissue development. In cooperation with the medical community, the bioreactor design is being used to prepare better models of human colon, prostate, breast and ovarian tumors. Cartilage, bone marrow, heart muscle, skeletal muscle, pancreatic islet cells, liver and kidney are just a few of the normal tissues being cultured in rotating bioreactors by investigators.

  13. My Career at NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dibley, Ryan P.

    2009-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the work of the presenter at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. He describes what he does, the projects that he has worked on and the background that led him to his position. The presentation has many pictures of aircraft in flight

  14. NASA Facts, Solar Cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC.

    The design and function of solar cells as a source of electrical power for unmanned space vehicles is described in this pamphlet written for high school physical science students. The pamphlet is one of the NASA Facts Science Series (each of which consists of four pages) and is designed to fit in the standard size three-ring notebook. Review…

  15. NASA Ames ATM Research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Denery, Dallas G.

    2000-01-01

    The NASA Ames research Center, in cooperation with the FAA and the industry, has a series of major research efforts underway that are aimed at : 1) improving the flow of traffic in the national airspace system; and 2) helping to define the future air traffic management system. The purpose of this presentation will be to provide a brief summary of some of these activities.

  16. NASA Bioreactor Schematic

    Science.gov (United States)

    2001-01-01

    The schematic depicts the major elements and flow patterns inside the NASA Bioreactor system. Waste and fresh medium are contained in plastic bags placed side-by-side so the waste bag fills as the fresh medium bag is depleted. The compliance vessel contains a bladder to accommodate pressure transients that might damage the system. A peristolic pump moves fluid by squeezing the plastic tubing, thus avoiding potential contamination. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC). NASA-sponsored bioreactor research has been instrumental in helping scientists to better understand normal and cancerous tissue development. In cooperation with the medical community, the bioreactor design is being used to prepare better models of human colon, prostate, breast and ovarian tumors. Cartilage, bone marrow, heart muscle, skeletal muscle, pancreatic islet cells, liver and kidney are just a few of the normal tissues being cultured in rotating bioreactors by investigators.

  17. NASA trend analysis procedures

    Science.gov (United States)

    1993-01-01

    This publication is primarily intended for use by NASA personnel engaged in managing or implementing trend analysis programs. 'Trend analysis' refers to the observation of current activity in the context of the past in order to infer the expected level of future activity. NASA trend analysis was divided into 5 categories: problem, performance, supportability, programmatic, and reliability. Problem trend analysis uncovers multiple occurrences of historical hardware or software problems or failures in order to focus future corrective action. Performance trend analysis observes changing levels of real-time or historical flight vehicle performance parameters such as temperatures, pressures, and flow rates as compared to specification or 'safe' limits. Supportability trend analysis assesses the adequacy of the spaceflight logistics system; example indicators are repair-turn-around time and parts stockage levels. Programmatic trend analysis uses quantitative indicators to evaluate the 'health' of NASA programs of all types. Finally, reliability trend analysis attempts to evaluate the growth of system reliability based on a decreasing rate of occurrence of hardware problems over time. Procedures for conducting all five types of trend analysis are provided in this publication, prepared through the joint efforts of the NASA Trend Analysis Working Group.

  18. NASA and Me

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wong, Douglas T.

    2010-01-01

    Topics in this student project report include: biography, NASA history and structure, overview of Johnson Space Center facilities and major projects, and an overview of the Usability Testing and Analysis Facility (UTAF). The UTAF section slides include space habitat evaluations with mockups, crew space vehicle evaluations, and human factors research.

  19. Status of a NASA Standard and Three NASA Handbooks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kern, Dennis L.

    2011-01-01

    NASA-STD-7003 Pyroshock Test Criteria, May 18, 1999, has been revised per direction of NASA Headquarters to make it a mandatory standard and to update it for advances in the discipline since it's initial release. NASA-HDBK-7004B Force Limited Vibration Testing, January 31, 2003, and NASA-HDBK-7005 Dynamic Environmental Criteria, March 13, 2001, are being updated to reflect advances in the disciplines since their last release. Additionally, a new NASA handbook, NASA-HDBK-7008 Spacecraft Structural Dynamics Testing is currently being prepared. This paper provides an overview of each document, summarizes the major revisions for the documents undergoing update, and provides the development schedules.

  20. Unimagined Institutions

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zangenberg, Mikkel Bruun

    2007-01-01

    In this paper it is argued that war contains inherent and thus necessary aesthetic traits (ranging from sensory data to narrative features), but that existing research institutions throughout the West have failed to address this issue adequately, in terms of research policy, recruitment and metho......In this paper it is argued that war contains inherent and thus necessary aesthetic traits (ranging from sensory data to narrative features), but that existing research institutions throughout the West have failed to address this issue adequately, in terms of research policy, recruitment...... and methodology. Accordingly, it is suggested that scholars from the humanities in particular aggressively seek to develop new types of research institutions and methods in order to deal with the manifold forms of overlap between warfare and aesthetics. In empirical terms, focus is limited to the current...

  1. Institutional Awareness

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ahlvik, Carina; Boxenbaum, Eva

    Drawing on dual-process theory and mindfulness research this article sets out to shed light on the conditions that need to be met to create “a reflexive shift in consciousness” argued to be a key foundational mechanism for agency in institutional theory. Although past research has identified diff...... in consciousness to emerge and argue for how the varying levels of mindfulness in the form of internal and external awareness may manifest as distinct responses to the institutional environment the actor is embedded in....

  2. NASA Announces 2009 Astronomy and Astrophysics Fellows

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-02-01

    WASHINGTON -- NASA has selected fellows in three areas of astronomy and astrophysics for its Einstein, Hubble, and Sagan Fellowships. The recipients of this year's post-doctoral fellowships will conduct independent research at institutions around the country. "The new fellows are among the best and brightest young astronomers in the world," said Jon Morse, director of the Astrophysics Division in NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "They already have contributed significantly to studies of how the universe works, the origin of our cosmos and whether we are alone in the cosmos. The fellowships will serve as a springboard for scientific leadership in the years to come, and as an inspiration for the next generation of students and early career researchers." Each fellowship provides support to the awardees for three years. The fellows may pursue their research at any host university or research center of their choosing in the United States. The new fellows will begin their programs in the fall of 2009. "I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to spending the next few years conducting research in the U.S., thanks to the fellowships," said Karin Oberg, a graduate student in Leiden, The Netherlands. Oberg will study the evolution of water and ices during star formation when she starts her fellowship at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. People Who Read This Also Read... Milky Way's Super-efficient Particle Accelerators Caught in The Act Cosmic Heavyweights in Free-for-all Galaxies Coming of Age in Cosmic Blobs Cassiopeia A Comes Alive Across Time and Space A diverse group of 32 young scientists will work on a wide variety of projects, such as understanding supernova hydrodynamics, radio transients, neutron stars, galaxy clusters and the intercluster medium, supermassive black holes, their mergers and the associated gravitational waves, dark energy, dark matter and the reionization process. Other research topics include

  3. Heart tissue grown in NASA Bioreactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    2001-01-01

    Lisa Freed and Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, both of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have taken the first steps toward engineering heart muscle tissue that could one day be used to patch damaged human hearts. Cells isolated from very young animals are attached to a three-dimensional polymer scaffold, then placed in a NASA bioreactor. The cells do not divide, but after about a week start to cornect to form a functional piece of tissue. Functionally connected heart cells that are capable of transmitting electrical signals are the goal for Freed and Vunjak-Novakovic. Electrophysiological recordings of engineered tissue show spontaneous contractions at a rate of 70 beats per minute (a), and paced contractions at rates of 80, 150, and 200 beats per minute respectively (b, c, and d). The NASA Bioreactor provides a low turbulence culture environment which promotes the formation of large, three-dimensional cell clusters. The Bioreactor is rotated to provide gentle mixing of fresh and spent nutrient without inducing shear forces that would damage the cells. Due to their high level of cellular organization and specialization, samples constructed in the bioreactor more closely resemble the original tumor or tissue found in the body. NASA-sponsored bioreactor research has been instrumental in helping scientists to better understand normal and cancerous tissue development. In cooperation with the medical community, the bioreactor design is being used to prepare better models of human colon, prostate, breast and ovarian tumors. Cartilage, bone marrow, heart muscle, skeletal muscle, pancreatic islet cells, liver and kidney are just a few of the normal tissues being cultured in rotating bioreactors by investigators. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC). Credit: NASA and MIT.

  4. European Institutions?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Meacham, Darian

    2016-01-01

    The aim of this article is to sketch a phenomenological theory of political institutions and to apply it to some objections and questions raised by Pierre Manent about the project of the European Union and more specifically the question of “European Construction”, i.e. what is the aim of the Europea

  5. Institution Morphisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goguen, Joseph; Rosu, Grigore; Norvig, Peter (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Institutions formalize the intuitive notion of logical system, including both syntax and semantics. A surprising number of different notions of morphisim have been suggested for forming categories with institutions as objects, and a surprising variety of names have been proposed for them. One goal of this paper is to suggest a terminology that is both uniform and informative to replace the current rather chaotic nomenclature. Another goal is to investigate the properties and interrelations of these notions. Following brief expositions of indexed categories, twisted relations, and Kan extensions, we demonstrate and then exploit the duality between institution morphisms in the original sense of Goguen and Burstall, and the 'plain maps' of Meseguer, obtaining simple uniform proofs of completeness and cocompleteness for both resulting categories; because of this duality, we prefer the name 'comorphism' over 'plain map.' We next consider 'theoroidal' morphisms and comorphisims, which generalize signatures to theories, finding that the 'maps' of Meseguer are theoroidal comorphisms, while theoroidal morphisms are a new concept. We then introduce 'forward' and 'semi-natural' morphisms, and appendices discuss institutions for hidden algebra, universal algebra, partial equational logic, and a variant of order sorted algebra supporting partiality.

  6. Institutional Paralysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yarmolinsky, Adam

    1975-01-01

    Institutional paralysis of higher education is the result of the disjunction between faculty and administration; the disjunction between substantive planning and bugetary decision-making; the disjunction between departmental structures and functional areas of university concern; and the disjunction between the theory of direct democracy and its…

  7. Partnering with NASA: An Overview

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin, Gary

    2017-01-01

    Partnerships is an important part of doing business at NASA. NASA partners with external organizations to access capabilities under collaborative agreements; enters into agreements for partner access to NASA capabilities; expand overall landscape of space activity; and spurring innovation. NASA partnerships consist of Reimbursable and Non-Reimbursable Space Act Agreements. Partnerships at Ames aligns with Ames' core competencies, and Partners often office in the NASA Research Park, which is an established regional innovation cluster that facilitates commercialization and services as a technology accelerator via onsite collaborations between NASA and its partners.

  8. NASA/ASEE Faculty Fellowship Program: 2003 Research Reports

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kotnour, Tim (Editor); LopezdeCastillo, Eduardo (Editor)

    2003-01-01

    This document is a collection of technical reports on research conducted by the participants in the 2003 NASA/ASEE Faculty Fellowship Program at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC). This was the nineteenth year that a NASA/ASEE program has been conducted at KSC. The 2003 program was administered by the University of Central Florida (UCF) in cooperation with KSC. The program was operated under the auspices of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Education Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. The KSC program was one of nine such Aeronautics and Space Research Programs funded by NASA Headquarters in 2003. The basic common objectives of the NASA/ASEE Faculty Fellowship Program are: A) To further the professional knowledge of qualified engineering and science faculty members; B) To stimulate an exchange of ideas between teaching participants and employees of NASA; C) To enrich and refresh the research and teaching activities of participants institutions; D) To contribute to the research objectives of the NASA center. The KSC Faculty Fellows spent ten weeks (May 19 through July 25, 2003) working with NASA scientists and engineers on research of mutual interest to the university faculty member and the NASA colleague. The editors of this document were responsible for selecting appropriately qualified faculty to address some of the many research areas of current interest to NASA/KSC. A separate document reports on the administrative aspects of the 2003 program. The NASA/ASEE program is intended to be a two-year program to allow in-depth research by the university faculty member. In many cases a faculty member has developed a close working relationship with a particular NASA group that had provided funding beyond the two-year limit.

  9. NASA Benefits Earth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Julie A.

    2009-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews several ways in which NASA research has benefited Earth and made life on Earth better. These innovations include: solar panels, recycled pavement, thermometer pill, invisible braces for straightening teeth, LASIK, aerodynamic helmets and tires for bicycles, cataract detection, technology that was used to remove Anthrax spores from mail handling facilities, study of atomic oxygen erosion of materials has informed the restoration of artwork, macroencapsulation (a potential mechanism to deliver anti cancer drugs to specific sites), and research on a salmonella vaccine. With research on the International Space Station just beginning, there will be opportunities for entrepreneurs and other government agencies to access space for their research and development. As well as NASA continuing its own research on human health and technology development.

  10. NASA's Astrophysics Data Archives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hasan, H.; Hanisch, R.; Bredekamp, J.

    2000-09-01

    The NASA Office of Space Science has established a series of archival centers where science data acquired through its space science missions is deposited. The availability of high quality data to the general public through these open archives enables the maximization of science return of the flight missions. The Astrophysics Data Centers Coordinating Council, an informal collaboration of archival centers, coordinates data from five archival centers distiguished primarily by the wavelength range of the data deposited there. Data are available in FITS format. An overview of NASA's data centers and services is presented in this paper. A standard front-end modifyer called `Astrowbrowse' is described. Other catalog browsers and tools include WISARD and AMASE supported by the National Space Scince Data Center, as well as ISAIA, a follow on to Astrobrowse.

  11. The NASA Exoplanet Archive

    Science.gov (United States)

    Akeson, Rachel L.; Christiansen, Jessie; Ciardi, David R.; Ramirez, Solange; Schlieder, Joshua; Van Eyken, Julian C.; NASA Exoplanet Archive Team

    2017-01-01

    The NASA Exoplanet Archive supports research and mission planning by the exoplanet community by operating a service providing confirmed and candidate planets, numerous project and contributed data sets and integrated analysis tools. We present the current data contents and functionality of the archive including: interactive tables of confirmed and candidate planetary and stellar properties; Kepler planet candidates, threshold-crossing events, data validation and occurrence rate products; light curves from Kepler, CoRoT, SuperWASP, KELT and other ground-based projects; and spectra and radial velocity data from the literature. Tools provided include a transit ephemeris predictor, light curve viewing utilities, a periodogram service and user-configurable interactive tables. The NASA Exoplanet Archive is funded by NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program.

  12. NASA head sworn in

    Science.gov (United States)

    James C. Fletcher was sworn in on May 12, 1986, as administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). At a news conference after he was sworn in, Fletcher said that NASA would deal with both its technical problems and its procedural problems before the shuttle will fly again. According to press accounts, he stressed that funds should be made available to replace the Challenger orbiter, which was lost in an explosion on January 28.Fletcher, who had also headed the agency from 1971 to 1977, succeeds James M. Beggs, who was indicted in December 1985 for conspiring to defraud the federal government while serving as a senior executive at the General Dynamics Corporation.

  13. Research Institute for Technical Careers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glenn, Ronald L.

    1996-01-01

    The NASA research grant to Wilberforce University enabled us to establish the Research Institute for Technical Careers (RITC) in order to improve the teaching of science and engineering at Wilberforce. The major components of the research grant are infrastructure development, establishment of the Wilberforce Intensive Summer Experience (WISE), and Joint Research Collaborations with NASA Scientists. (A) Infrastructure Development. The NASA grant has enabled us to improve the standard of our chemistry laboratory and establish the electronics, design, and robotics laboratories. These laboratories have significantly improved the level of instruction at Wilberforce University. (B) Wilberforce Intensive Summer Experience (WISE). The WISE program is a science and engineering bridge program for prefreshman students. It is an intensive academic experience designed to strengthen students' knowledge in mathematics, science, engineering, computing skills, and writing. (C) Joint Collaboration. Another feature of the grant is research collaborations between NASA Scientists and Wilberforce University Scientists. These collaborations have enabled our faculty and students to conduct research at NASA Lewis during the summer and publish research findings in various journals and scientific proceedings.

  14. Enhancing a Person, Enhancing a Civilization: A Research Program at the Intersection of Bioethics, Future Studies, and Astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ćirković, Milan M

    2017-07-01

    There are manifold intriguing issues located within largely unexplored borderlands of bioethics, future studies (including global risk analysis), and astrobiology. Human enhancement has for quite some time been among the foci of bioethical debates, but the same cannot be said about its global, transgenerational, and even cosmological consequences. In recent years, discussions of posthuman and, in general terms, postbiological civilization(s) have slowly gained a measure of academic respect, in parallel with the renewed interest in the entire field of future studies and the great strides made in understanding of the origin and evolution of life and intelligence in their widest, cosmic context. These developments promise much deeper synergic answers to questions regarding the long-term future of enhancement: how far can it go? Is human enhancement a further step toward building a true postbiological civilization? Should we actively participate and help shape this process? Is the future of humanity "typical" in the same Copernican sense as our location in space and time is typical in the galaxy, and if so, can we derive important insights about the evolutionary pathways of postbiological evolution from astrobiological and Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) studies? These and similar questions could be understood as parts of a possible unifying research program attempting to connect cultural and moral evolution with what we know and understand about their cosmological and biological counterparts.

  15. Using Astrobiology case studies to bring science decision making into the classroom: Mars sample return, exobiology and SETI

    Science.gov (United States)

    Race, Margaret

    As citizens and decision makers of the future, today's students need to understand the nature of science and the implications of scientific discoveries and activities in a broad societal context. Astrobiology provides an opportunity to introduce students to real world decision-making involving cutting edge, multidisciplinary research topics that involve Earth, the solar system and beyond. Although textbooks and curricular materials may take years to develop, teachers can easily bring the latest astrobiological discoveries and hypotheses into the classroom in the form of case studies to complement science classes. For example, using basic biological, geological and chemical information from Earth and other planets, students can discuss the same questions that experts consider when planning a Mars Sample Return mission. How would you recognize extraterrestrial life? What would be the impact of bringing martian life to Earth? How should martian samples be handled and tested to determine whether they pose hazards to Earth's biota and ecosystems? If truly martian life exists, what are the implications for future human missions or colonies on the planet? What are the ethical and societal implications of discovering extraterrestrial life, whether in the solar system or beyond? What difference world it make if the extraterrestrial life is microbial and simple vs. intelligent and advanced? By integrating basic science concepts, up-to-date research findings, and information about laws, societal concerns, and public decision making, students can experience first-hand the kind of questions and challenges we're likely to face in the years ahead.

  16. A Rich Morphological Diversity of Biosaline Drying Patterns Is Generated by Different Bacterial Species, Different Salts and Concentrations: Astrobiological Implications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gómez Gómez, José María; Medina, Jesús; Rull, Fernando

    2016-07-01

    Biosaline formations (BSFs) are complex self-organized biomineral patterns formed by "hibernating" bacteria as the biofilm that contains them dries out. They were initially described in drying biofilms of Escherichia coli cells + NaCl. Due to their intricate 3-D morphology and anhydrobiosis, these biomineralogical structures are of great interest in astrobiology. Here we report experimental data obtained with various alkali halide salts (NaF, NaCl, NaBr, LiCl, KCl, CsCl) on BSF formation with E. coli and Bacillus subtilis bacteria at two saline concentrations: 9 and 18 mg/mL. Our results indicate that, except for LiCl, which is inactive, all the salts assayed are active during BSF formation and capable of promoting the generation of distinctive drying patterns at each salt concentration. Remarkably, the BSFs produced by these two bacterial species produce characteristic architectural hallmarks as the BSF dries. The potential biogenicity of these biosaline drying patterns is studied, and the astrobiological implications of these findings are discussed.

  17. Establishment of a Rearing System of the Extremotolerant Tardigrade Ramazzottius varieornatus: A New Model Animal for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horikawa, Daiki D.; Kunieda, Takekazu; Abe, Wataru; Watanabe, Masahiko; Nakahara, Yuichi; Yukuhiro, Fumiko; Sakashita, Tetsuya; Hamada, Nobuyuki; Wada, Seiichi; Funayama, Tomoo; Katagiri, Chihiro; Kobayashi, Yasuhiko; Higashi, Seigo

    2008-06-01

    Studies on the ability of multicellular organisms to tolerate specific environmental extremes are relatively rare compared to those of unicellular microorganisms in extreme environments. Tardigrades are extremotolerant animals that can enter an ametabolic dry state called anhydrobiosis and have high tolerance to a variety of extreme environmental conditions, particularly while in anhydrobiosis. Although tardigrades have been expected to be a potential model animal for astrobiological studies due to their excellent anhydrobiotic and extremotolerant abilities, few studies of tolerance with cultured tardigrades have been reported, possibly due to the absence of a model species that can be easily maintained under rearing conditions. We report the successful rearing of the herbivorous tardigrade, Ramazzottius varieornatus, by supplying the green alga Chlorella vulgaris as food. The life span was 35 ± 16.4 d, deposited eggs required 5.7 ± 1.1 d to hatch, and animals began to deposit eggs 9 d after hatching. The reared individuals of this species had an anhydrobiotic capacity throughout their life cycle in egg, juvenile, and adult stages. Furthermore, the reared adults in an anhydrobiotic state were tolerant of temperatures of 90°C and -196°C, and exposure to 99.8% acetonitrile or irradiation with 4000 Gy 4He ions. Based on their life history traits and tolerance to extreme stresses, R. varieornatus may be a suitable model for astrobiological studies of multicellular organisms.

  18. Establishment of a rearing system of the extremotolerant tardigrade Ramazzottius varieornatus: a new model animal for astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horikawa, Daiki D; Kunieda, Takekazu; Abe, Wataru; Watanabe, Masahiko; Nakahara, Yuichi; Yukuhiro, Fumiko; Sakashita, Tetsuya; Hamada, Nobuyuki; Wada, Seiichi; Funayama, Tomoo; Katagiri, Chihiro; Kobayashi, Yasuhiko; Higashi, Seigo; Okuda, Takashi

    2008-06-01

    Studies on the ability of multicellular organisms to tolerate specific environmental extremes are relatively rare compared to those of unicellular microorganisms in extreme environments. Tardigrades are extremotolerant animals that can enter an ametabolic dry state called anhydrobiosis and have high tolerance to a variety of extreme environmental conditions, particularly while in anhydrobiosis. Although tardigrades have been expected to be a potential model animal for astrobiological studies due to their excellent anhydrobiotic and extremotolerant abilities, few studies of tolerance with cultured tardigrades have been reported, possibly due to the absence of a model species that can be easily maintained under rearing conditions. We report the successful rearing of the herbivorous tardigrade, Ramazzottius varieornatus, by supplying the green alga Chlorella vulgaris as food. The life span was 35 +/- 16.4 d, deposited eggs required 5.7 +/- 1.1 d to hatch, and animals began to deposit eggs 9 d after hatching. The reared individuals of this species had an anhydrobiotic capacity throughout their life cycle in egg, juvenile, and adult stages. Furthermore, the reared adults in an anhydrobiotic state were tolerant of temperatures of 90 degrees C and -196 degrees C, and exposure to 99.8% acetonitrile or irradiation with 4000 Gy (4)He ions. Based on their life history traits and tolerance to extreme stresses, R. varieornatus may be a suitable model for astrobiological studies of multicellular organisms.

  19. NASA Super Pressure Balloon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fairbrother, Debbie

    2017-01-01

    NASA is in the process of qualifying the mid-size Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) to provide constant density altitude flight for science investigations at polar and mid-latitudes. The status of the development of the 18.8 million cubic foot SPB capable of carrying one-tone of science to 110,000 feet, will be given. In addition, the operating considerations such as launch sites, flight safety considerations, and recovery will be discussed.

  20. NASA Photo One

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, James C.

    2013-01-01

    This is a photographic record of NASA Dryden flight research aircraft, spanning nearly 25 years. The author has served as a Dryden photographer, and now as its chief photographer and airborne photographer. The results are extraordinary images of in-flight aircraft never seen elsewhere, as well as pictures of aircraft from unusual angles on the ground. The collection is the result of the agency required documentation process for its assets.

  1. NASA/AHS rotorcraft noise reduction program - NASA Langley Acoustics Division contributions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin, Ruth M.

    1989-01-01

    An account is given of the contributions made by NASA-Langley's rotorcraft noise research programs over the last five years. Attention has been given to the broadband and blade-vortex interaction noise sources; both analytical and empirical noise-prediction codes have been developed and validated for several rotor noise sources, and the 'Rotonet' comprehensive system-noise prediction capability has been instituted. Among the technologies explored for helicopter noise reduction have been higher harmonic control and active vibration-suppression.

  2. Workforce Information Cubes for NASA

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Workforce Information Cubes for NASA, sourced from NASA's personnel/payroll system, gives data about who is working where and on what. Includes records for every...

  3. Commercialization in NASA Space Operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilbert, Charlene E.

    1998-01-01

    Various issues associated with commercialization in NASA space operations are presented in viewgraph form. Specific topics include: 1) NASA's financial outlook; 2) Space operations; 3) Space operations technology; and 4) Strategies associated with these operations.

  4. NASA Engineering Network Lessons Learned

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The NASA Lessons Learned system provides access to official, reviewed lessons learned from NASA programs and projects. These lessons have been made available to the...

  5. NASA Altix 512P SSI

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chan, Davin

    2004-01-01

    This paper presents a general overview of NASA Advances Supercomputing (NAS). The topics include: 1) About NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS); 2) System Configuration; 3) Our Experience with the Altix; and 4) Future Plans.

  6. Electrical properties of saline ices and ice-silicate mixtures: geophysical and astrobiological consequences (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grimm, R. E.; Stillman, D.

    2009-12-01

    -understood losses caused by trace impurities of acid or salt in relatively pure ice, we are now able to quantify additional absorption in subfreezing materials caused by salt hydrates, and, in the presence of silicates, unfrozen interfacial water. The latter has been suggested to be suitable to support subfreezing microbial life (Jakosky et al., Astrobiology, 3, 343, 2003; Mohlman, op cit, 5, 770, 2005). However, the DC electrical conductivity of interfacial water is many decades smaller than nominal fresh water, so the total rate of charge transport through interfacial water must be negligible compared to fresh water. Furthermore, a few monolayers of H2O (freezing-point depression of salt-rich ice, and not interfacial water.

  7. Investigating Changes in Students’ Attitudes Towards Science During an Adaptive Online Astrobiology Course

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perera, Viranga; Buxner, Sanlyn R.; Horodyskyj, Lev; Anbar, Ariel; Semken, Steven; Mead, Chris; Lopatto, David

    2015-11-01

    Online education is an emergent sector of formal education and Arizona State University (ASU) is a leader in offering online courses. One that garners very strong positive feedback on student surveys is Habitable Worlds, which is an interdisciplinary online science course offered every semester since Fall 2011. Primary goals of this course are to teach understanding of scientific reasoning and practices by using principles from trans-disciplinary research in astrobiology. To examine course outcomes we administered the Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) survey, which has been previously developed to measure student experiences. Here we use the survey for the first time for an online course. The survey was taken before and after completing the course during the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters (N = 544). Here, we present students’ views of science represented by 22 questions on the survey. For the questions, students responded either "not applicable," "strongly disagree," "disagree," "neutral," "agree," or "strongly agree." In order to interpret the data, we divided the questions into three broader categories for analysis: students’ understanding of the scientific process, students’ scientific self-efficacy and students’ views on science teaching. We study how the sample of students changed their responses to each of the questions as a group by using a paired-samples sign test to gauge the statistical significance of the difference between pre and post responses. We further analyze how individual students changed their responses. For example, we designated a change from “strongly disagree” to “disagree” differently than a change from “agree” to “disagree” since the latter indicated a notable change in the student’s opinion. We found statistically significant changes on 12 of the 22 questions. These early results indicate that there are measurable changes on several identified course objectives. By measuring changes that

  8. NASA Space Radiation Transport Code Development Consortium.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Townsend, Lawrence W

    2005-01-01

    Recently, NASA established a consortium involving the University of Tennessee (lead institution), the University of Houston, Roanoke College and various government and national laboratories, to accelerate the development of a standard set of radiation transport computer codes for NASA human exploration applications. This effort involves further improvements of the Monte Carlo codes HETC and FLUKA and the deterministic code HZETRN, including developing nuclear reaction databases necessary to extend the Monte Carlo codes to carry out heavy ion transport, and extending HZETRN to three dimensions. The improved codes will be validated by comparing predictions with measured laboratory transport data, provided by an experimental measurements consortium, and measurements in the upper atmosphere on the balloon-borne Deep Space Test Bed (DSTB). In this paper, we present an overview of the consortium members and the current status and future plans of consortium efforts to meet the research goals and objectives of this extensive undertaking.

  9. NASA's Earth Science Data Systems Standards Process

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ullman, R.; Enloe, Y.

    2006-12-01

    Starting in January 2004, NASA instituted a set of internal working groups to develop ongoing recommendations for the continuing broad evolution of Earth Science Data Systems development and management within NASA. One of these Data Systems Working Groups is called the Standards Process Group (SPG). This group's goal is to facilitate broader use of standards that have proven implementation and operational benefit to NASA Earth science by facilitating the approval of proposed standards and directing the evolution of standards. We have found that the candidate standards that self defined communities are proposing for approval to the SPG are one of 3 types: (1) A NASA community developed standard used within at least one self defined community where the proposed standard has not been approved or adopted by an external standards organization and where new implementations are expected to be developed from scratch, using the proposed standard as the implementation specification; (2) A NASA community developed standard used within at least one self defined community where the proposed standard has not been approved or adopted by an external standards organization and where new implementations are not expected to be developed from scratch but use existing software libraries or code;. (3) A standard already approved by an external standards organization but is being proposed for use for the NASA Earth science community. There are 3 types of reviews potentially needed to evaluate a proposed standard: (1) A detailed technical review to determine the quality, accuracy, and clarity of the proposed specification and where a detailed technical review ensures that implementers can use the proposed standard as an implementation specification for any future implementations with confidence; (2) A "usefulness" user review that determines if the proposed standard is useful or helpful or necessary to the user to carry out his work; (3) An operational review that evaluates if the

  10. NASA Space Human Factors Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    1992-01-01

    This booklet briefly and succinctly treats 23 topics of particular interest to the NASA Space Human Factors Program. Most articles are by different authors who are mainly NASA Johnson or NASA Ames personnel. Representative topics covered include mental workload and performance in space, light effects on Circadian rhythms, human sleep, human reasoning, microgravity effects and automation and crew performance.

  11. NASA Product Peer Review Process

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jenks, Ken

    2009-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation describes NASA's product peer review process. The contents include: 1) Inspection/Peer Review at NASA; 2) Reasons for product peer reviews; 3) Different types of peer reviews; and 4) NASA requirements for peer reviews. This presentation also includes a demonstration of an actual product peer review.

  12. Tanpopo: Astrobiology Exposure and Micrometeoroid Capture, a Sample Return Experiment to Test Quasi-Panspermia Hypothesis Onboard the ISS-Kibo Exposed Facility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yano, H.; Yamagishi, A.; Hashimoto, H.; Yokobori, S.; Kobayashi, K.; Yabuta, H.; Mita, H.; Tabata, M.; Kawai, H.; Higashide, M.; Okudaira, K.; Sasaki, S.; Imai, E.; Kawaguchi, Y.; Uchibori, Y.; Kodaira, S.; Tanpopo Project Team

    2013-11-01

    As the first Japanese astrobiology experiment in space, the Tanpopo will test key concepts of the quasi-panspermia hypothesis by sample returns of microbe and bio-orgaincs exposure and micrometeoroid capture onboard ISS-Kibo Exposed Facility ExHAM.

  13. NASA Handbook for Models and Simulations: An Implementation Guide for NASA-STD-7009

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steele, Martin J.

    2013-01-01

    The purpose of this Handbook is to provide technical information, clarification, examples, processes, and techniques to help institute good modeling and simulation practices in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As a companion guide to NASA-STD- 7009, Standard for Models and Simulations, this Handbook provides a broader scope of information than may be included in a Standard and promotes good practices in the production, use, and consumption of NASA modeling and simulation products. NASA-STD-7009 specifies what a modeling and simulation activity shall or should do (in the requirements) but does not prescribe how the requirements are to be met, which varies with the specific engineering discipline, or who is responsible for complying with the requirements, which depends on the size and type of project. A guidance document, which is not constrained by the requirements of a Standard, is better suited to address these additional aspects and provide necessary clarification. This Handbook stems from the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation (2003), which called for Agency-wide improvements in the "development, documentation, and operation of models and simulations"' that subsequently elicited additional guidance from the NASA Office of the Chief Engineer to include "a standard method to assess the credibility of the models and simulations."2 General methods applicable across the broad spectrum of model and simulation (M&S) disciplines were sought to help guide the modeling and simulation processes within NASA and to provide for consistent reporting ofM&S activities and analysis results. From this, the standardized process for the M&S activity was developed. The major contents of this Handbook are the implementation details of the general M&S requirements ofNASA-STD-7009, including explanations, examples, and suggestions for improving the credibility assessment of an M&S-based analysis.

  14. Atacama Rover Astrobiology Drilling Studies: Roving to Find Subsurface Preserved Biomarkers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glass, B.; Davila, A.; Parro, V.; Quinn, R.; Willis, P.; Brinckerhoff, W.; DiRuggiero, J.; Williams, M.; Bergman, D.; Stoker, C.

    2016-05-01

    The ARADS project is a NASA PSTAR that will drill into a Mars analog site in search of biomarkers. Leading to a field test of an integrated rover-drill system with four prototype in-situ instruments for biomarker detection and analysis.

  15. NASA Robotics for Space Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, RIchard T.

    2007-01-01

    This presentation focuses on NASA's use of robotics in support of space exploration. The content was taken from public available websites in an effort to minimize any ITAR or EAR issues. The agenda starts with an introduction to NASA and the "Vision for Space Exploration" followed by NASA's major areas of robotic use: Robotic Explorers, Astronaut Assistants, Space Vehicle, Processing, and In-Space Workhorse (space infrastructure). Pictorials and movies of NASA robots in use by the major NASA programs: Space Shuttle, International Space Station, current Solar Systems Exploration and Mars Exploration, and future Lunar Exploration are throughout the presentation.

  16. NASA RFID Applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fink, Patrick, Ph.D.; Kennedy, Timothy, Ph.D; Powers, Anne; Haridi, Yasser; Chu, Andrew; Lin, Greg; Yim, Hester; Byerly, Kent, Ph.D.; Barton, Richard, Ph.D.; Khayat, Michael, Ph.D.; Studor, George; Brocato, Robert; Ngo, Phong; Arndt, G. D., Ph.D.; Gross, Julia; Phan, Chau; Ni, David, Ph.D.; Dusl, John; Dekome, Kent

    2007-01-01

    This viewgraph document reviews some potential uses for Radio Frequency Identification in space missions. One of these is inventory management in space, including the methods used in Apollo, the Space Shuttle, and Space Station. The potential RFID uses in a remote human outpost are reviewed. The use of Ultra-Wideband RFID for tracking are examined such as that used in Sapphire DART The advantages of RFID in passive, wireless sensors in NASA applications are shown such as: Micrometeoroid impact detection and Sensor measurements in environmental facilities The potential for E-textiles for wireless and RFID are also examined.

  17. NASA Lunar Impact Monitoring

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suggs, Robert M.; Moser, D. E.

    2015-01-01

    The MSFC lunar impact monitoring program began in 2006 in support of environment definition for the Constellation (return to Moon) program. Work continued by the Meteoroid Environment Office after Constellation cancellation. Over 330 impacts have been recorded. A paper published in Icarus reported on the first 5 years of observations and 126 calibrated flashes. Icarus: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019103514002243; ArXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.6458 A NASA Technical Memorandum on flash locations is in press

  18. NASA space life sciences research and education support program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Terri K.

    1995-01-01

    USRA's Division of Space Life Sciences (DSLS) was established in 1983 as the Division of Space Biomedicine to facilitate participation of the university community in biomedical research programs at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). The DSLS is currently housed in the Center for Advanced Space Studies (CASS), sharing quarters with the Division of Educational Programs and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. The DSLS provides visiting scientists for the Johnson Space Center; organizes conferences, workshops, meetings, and seminars; and, through subcontracts with outside institutions, supports NASA-related research at more than 25 such entities. The DSLS has considerable experience providing visiting scientists, experts, and consultants to work in concert with NASA Life Sciences researchers to define research missions and goals and to perform a wide variety of research administration and program management tasks. The basic objectives of this contract have been to stimulate, encourage, and assist research and education in the NASA life sciences. Scientists and experts from a number of academic and research institutions in this country and abroad have been recruited to support NASA's need to find a solution to human physiological problems associated with living and working in space and on extraterrestrial bodies in the solar system.

  19. Institutional Awareness

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ahlvik, Carina; Boxenbaum, Eva

    Drawing on dual-process theory and mindfulness research this article sets out to shed light on the conditions that need to be met to create “a reflexive shift in consciousness” argued to be a key foundational mechanism for agency in institutional theory. Although past research has identified...... different exogenous triggers to evoke shifts in consciousness, such as conflicting logics or socio-economic shocks, we argue that a reflexive shift in consciousness can also be cultivated by developing mindfulness. We develop a typology to depict conditions that need to be met to enable a reflexive shift...

  20. Institutional Investors

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Birkmose, Hanne Søndergaard; Strand, Therese

    Research Question/Issue: Institutional investors are facing increased pressure and threats of legislation from the European Union to abandon passive ownership strategies. This study investigates the prerequisites for – and potential dissimilarities in the practice of, active ownership among......, as such a setup transfers power from the board to the owners. Presumably, this reduces the impact of free rider and collective action problems, and increases the shareholders’ inclination to make proposals, which is also what we find. Theoretical/Academic Implications: We contribute to literature by investigating...

  1. The NASA SETI program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billingham, J.; Brocker, D. H.

    1991-01-01

    In 1959, it was proposed that a sensible way to conduct interstellar communication would be to use radio at or near the frequency of hydrogen. In 1960, the first Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) was conducted using a radiotelescope at Green Bank in West Virginia. Since 1970, NASA has systematically developed a definitive program to conduct a sophisticated search for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligent life. The basic hypothesis is that life may be widespread in the univers, and that in many instances extraterrestrial life may have evolved into technological civilizations. The underlying scientific arguments are based on the continuously improving knowledge of astronomy and astrophysics, especially star system formation, and of planetary science, chemical evolution, and biological evolution. If only one in a million sun-like stars in our galaxy harbors species with cognitive intelligence, then there are 100,000 civilizations in the Milky Way alone. The fields of radioastronomy digital electronic engineering, spectrum analysis, and signal detection have advanced rapidly in the last twenty years and now allow for sophisticated systems to be built in order to attempt the detection of extraterrestrial intelligence signals. In concert with the scientific and engineering communities, NASA has developed, over the last several years, a Microwave Observing Project whose goal is to design, build, and operate SETI systems during the decade of the nineties in pursuit of the goal signal detection. The Microwave Observing Project is now approved and underway. There are two major components in the project: the Target Search Element and the Sky Survey Element.

  2. NASA Classroom Bioreactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scully, Robert

    2004-01-01

    Exploration of space provides a compelling need for cell-based research into the basic mechanisms that underlie the profound changes that occur in terrestrial life that is transitioned to low gravity environments. Toward that end, NASA developed a rotating bioreactor in which cells are cultured while continuously suspended in a cylinder in which the culture medium rotates with the cylinder. The randomization of the gravity vector accomplished by the continuous rotation, in a low shear environment, provides an analog of microgravity. Because cultures grown in bioreactors develop structures and functions that are much closer to those exhibited by native tissue than can be achieved with traditional culture methods, bioreactors have contributed substantially to advancing research in the fields of cancer, diabetes, infectious disease modeling for vaccine production, drug efficacy, and tissue engineering. NASA has developed a Classroom Bioreactor (CB) that is built from parts that are easily obtained and assembled, user-friendly and versatile. It can be easily used in simple school settings to examine the effect cultures of seeds or cells. An educational brief provides assembly instructions and lesson plans that describes activities in science, math and technology that explore free fall, microgravity, orbits, bioreactors, structure-function relationships and the scientific method.

  3. NASA Classroom Bioreactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scully, Robert

    2004-01-01

    Exploration of space provides a compelling need for cell-based research into the basic mechanisms that underlie the profound changes that occur in terrestrial life that is transitioned to low gravity environments. Toward that end, NASA developed a rotating bioreactor in which cells are cultured while continuously suspended in a cylinder in which the culture medium rotates with the cylinder. The randomization of the gravity vector accomplished by the continuous rotation, in a low shear environment, provides an analog of microgravity. Because cultures grown in bioreactors develop structures and functions that are much closer to those exhibited by native tissue than can be achieved with traditional culture methods, bioreactors have contributed substantially to advancing research in the fields of cancer, diabetes, infectious disease modeling for vaccine production, drug efficacy, and tissue engineering. NASA has developed a Classroom Bioreactor (CB) that is built from parts that are easily obtained and assembled, user-friendly and versatile. It can be easily used in simple school settings to examine the effect cultures of seeds or cells. An educational brief provides assembly instructions and lesson plans that describes activities in science, math and technology that explore free fall, microgravity, orbits, bioreactors, structure-function relationships and the scientific method.

  4. Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gross, Anthony R. (Technical Monitor); Leiner, Barry M.

    2000-01-01

    The Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS) carries out basic research and technology development in computer science, in support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's missions. RIACS is located at the NASA Ames Research Center. It currently operates under a multiple year grant/cooperative agreement that began on October 1, 1997 and is up for renewal in the year 2002. Ames has been designated NASA's Center of Excellence in Information Technology. In this capacity, Ames is charged with the responsibility to build an Information Technology Research Program that is preeminent within NASA. RIACS serves as a bridge between NASA Ames and the academic community, and RIACS scientists and visitors work in close collaboration with NASA scientists. RIACS has the additional goal of broadening the base of researchers in these areas of importance to the nation's space and aeronautics enterprises. RIACS research focuses on the three cornerstones of information technology research necessary to meet the future challenges of NASA missions: (1) Automated Reasoning for Autonomous Systems. Techniques are being developed enabling spacecraft that will be self-guiding and self-correcting to the extent that they will require little or no human intervention. Such craft will be equipped to independently solve problems as they arise, and fulfill their missions with minimum direction from Earth; (2) Human-Centered Computing. Many NASA missions require synergy between humans and computers, with sophisticated computational aids amplifying human cognitive and perceptual abilities; (3) High Performance Computing and Networking. Advances in the performance of computing and networking continue to have major impact on a variety of NASA endeavors, ranging from modeling and simulation to data analysis of large datasets to collaborative engineering, planning and execution. In addition, RIACS collaborates with NASA scientists to apply information technology research to a

  5. NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Backman, D. E.; Harman, P. K.; Clark, C.

    2016-12-01

    NASA's Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA) is a three-part professional development (PD) program for high school physics and astronomy teachers. The AAA experience consists of: (1) blended-learning professional development composed of webinars, asynchronous content learning, and a series of hands-on workshops (2) a STEM immersion experience at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center's B703 science research aircraft facility in Palmdale, California, and (3) ongoing participation in the AAA community of practice (CoP) connecting participants with astrophysics and planetary science Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The SETI Institute (SI) is partnering with school districts in Santa Clara and Los Angeles Counties during the AAA program's "incubation" period, calendar years 2016 through 2018. AAAs will be selected by the school districts based on criteria developed during spring 2016 focus group meetings led by the program's external evaluator, WestEd.. Teachers with 3+ years teaching experience who are assigned to teach at least 2 sections in any combination of the high school courses Physics (non-AP), Physics of the Universe (California integrated model), Astronomy, or Earth & Space Sciences are eligible. Partner districts will select at least 48 eligible applicants with SI oversight. WestEd will randomly assign selected AAAs to group A or group B. Group A will complete PD in January - June of 2017 and then participate in SOFIA science flights during fall 2017 (SOFIA Cycle 5). Group B will act as a control during the 2017-18 school year. Group B will then complete PD in January - June of 2018 and participate in SOFIA science flights in fall 2018 (Cycle 6). Under the current plan, opportunities for additional districts to seek AAA partnerships with SI will be offered in 2018 or 2019. A nominal two-week AAA curriculum component will be developed by SI for classroom delivery that will be aligned with selected California Draft Science Framework Disciplinary Core Ideas

  6. Institute news

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-11-01

    Joining the team A new member of staff has recently joined the Institute of Physics Education Department (Schools and Colleges) team. (Dr) Steven Chapman will have managerial responsibility for physics education issues in the 11 - 16 age range, particularly on the policy side. He will work closely with Mary Wood, who spends much of her time out and about doing the practical things to support physics education pre-16. Catherine Wilson will be spending more of her time working to support the Post-16 Physics Initiative but retains overall responsibility for the department. Steven graduated in Physics and Astronomy and then went on to do his doctorate at Sussex University. He stayed in the research field for a while, including a period at NPL. Then, having decided to train as a teacher, he taught for the last five years, most recently at a brand new school in Sutton where he was Head of Physics. Physics update Dates for `Physics Update' courses in 2000, intended for practising science teachers, are as follows: 1 - 3 April: Malvern College 9 - 10 June: Stirling University 8 - 10 July: York University 8 - 10 December: Oxford University The deadline for applications for the course to be held on 11 - 13 December 1999 at the School of Physics, Exeter University, is 12 November, so any late enquiries should be sent to Leila Solomon at The Institute of Physics, 76 Portland Place, London W1N 3DH (tel: 020 7470 4821) right away. Name that teacher! Late nominations are still welcome for the Teachers of Physics/Teachers of Primary Science awards for the year 2000. Closing date for nominations is `the last week in November'. Further details can be obtained from Catherine Wilson or Barbara Hill in the Institute's Education Department. Forward and back! The Education Group's one-day meeting on 13 November is accepting bookings until almost the last minute, so don't delay your application! The day is entitled `Post-16 physics: Looking forward, learning from the past' and it aims to

  7. A geoethical approach to the geological and astrobiological exploration and research of the Moon and Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martinez-Frias, Jesus; Horneck, Gerda; de La Torre Noetzel, Rosa; Rull, Fernando

    Lunar and Mars exploration and research require not only scientific and technological inter-disciplinary cooperation, but also the consideration of budding ethical and scientific integrity issues. COSPAR's planetary protection policy (in coordination with the United Nations Com-mittee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space as well as various other bilateral and multilateral organizations) serves as the consensus standard for biological contamination prevention under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty1 . Space agencies Planetary Protection Policies are mostly consis-tent with the COSPAR policy. Geoethics was formerly promoted in 1991 as a new discipline, involving scientific and societal aspects2 , and its institutionalization was officially established in 2004 with the backing of the Association of Geoscientists for International Development, AGID3 (IUGS/ICSU). Recently, it has been proposed that the integration of geoethical issues in studies on planetary geology and astrobiology would enrich their methodological and con-ceptual character4-6 . The incorporation through geoethics of new questions and approaches associated to the "abiotic world" would involve: 1) extrapolating to space the recently defined and approved IUCN/UNESCO guidelines and recommendations on geodiversity7 as "planetary geodiversity", and 2) widening the classical concept of Planetary Protection, giving an addi-tional "abiotic" dimension to the exploration and research of the Moon and Mars. Given the geological characteristics and planetary evolution of the Moon and Mars, it is obvious that they require tailored geoethical approaches. Some fundamental aspects include, among others: the interrelation with bioethics and organics vs. inorganic contamination in Planetary Protection, the appropriate regulations of some necessary natural disturbances (e.g. on the Moon) dur-ing robotic and manned planetary missions, wilderness/planetary parks8,9 , the correct use of mineralogical and geochemical analytical

  8. Dormant state in bacteria: Conceptions and implications for terrestrial biogeoscience and astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mulyukin, A.

    2003-04-01

    Gaining insight into strategies and mechanisms that ensure long term-preservation of microorganisms in various environments, including cold habitats, is a very important issue for terrestrial biogeoscience and astrobiology. This communication has a focus on the analysis of the published and our experimental data regarding the dormant state of different microorganisms, with an emphasis on non-spore-forming bacteria, which are widely spread in numerous ecological niches (e.g. permafrost sediments). Albeit it is recognized that one of the strategies to endure environmental stresses is entering of non-spore-forming bacteria into the viable-but-non-culturable state, a question of whether these microorganisms have the resting stage remains unclear. However, our previous studies showed that non-spore-forming bacteria and yeast could form cyst-like cells that possess many attributes of constitutively resting cells. As applied to the survival strategy of non-spore-forming bacteria in permafrost sediments, recognizing a very important role of the viable-but-nonculturable state in asporogenous bacteria, we however believe that their long-term maintenance in such habitats is due to the formation of cyst-like cells. Interestingly, bacterial isolates from permafrost sediments showed a greater productivity of autoregulatory factors, favoring the transition of cells into the resting state, and a more elevated resistance to some stresses than closely related collection strains. This suggests a greater potentiality of the permafrost isolates to enter the resting stage and thereby to survive for millennia years in natural habitats. However, it is known that only a little part of microorganisms that are present in environmental samples can be enumerated by standard plating on agar media, and a discrepancy between the total number of cells and those capable of forming colonies is a rather common case. Such a discrepancy can be due to either the actual non-culturability of microbial

  9. Multidisciplinary integrated field campaign to an acidic Martian Earth analogue with astrobiological interest: Rio Tinto

    OpenAIRE

    Gómez, F.; Walter, N.; Amils, R; Rull, F.; Klingelhöfer, A.K.; Kviderova, J.; Sarrazin, P.; Foing, B.; Behar, A.; Fleischer, I.; Parro, V; Garcia-Villadangos, M.; Balke, D.; Martin Ramos, J.D.; Direito, S.

    2011-01-01

    Recently reported results from latest Mars Orbiters and Rovers missions are transforming our opinion about the red planet. That dry and inhospitable planet reported in the past is becoming a wetter planet with high probabilities of water existence in the past. Nowadays, some results seem to indicate the presence of water beneath the Mars surface. But also mineralogy studies by NASA Opportunity Rover report iron oxides and hydroxides precipitates on Endurance Crater. Sedimentary deposits have ...

  10. The NASA Fireball Network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooke, William J.

    2013-01-01

    In the summer of 2008, the NASA Meteoroid Environments Office (MEO) began to establish a video fireball network, based on the following objectives: (1) determine the speed distribution of cm size meteoroids, (2) determine the major sources of cm size meteoroids (showers/sporadic sources), (3) characterize meteor showers (numbers, magnitudes, trajectories, orbits), (4) determine the size at which showers dominate the meteor flux, (5) discriminate between re-entering space debris and meteors, and 6) locate meteorite falls. In order to achieve the above with the limited resources available to the MEO, it was necessary that the network function almost fully autonomously, with very little required from humans in the areas of upkeep or analysis. With this in mind, the camera design and, most importantly, the ASGARD meteor detection software were adopted from the University of Western Ontario's Southern Ontario Meteor Network (SOMN), as NASA has a cooperative agreement with Western's Meteor Physics Group. 15 cameras have been built, and the network now consists of 8 operational cameras, with at least 4 more slated for deployment in calendar year 2013. The goal is to have 15 systems, distributed in two or more groups east of automatic analysis; every morning, this server also automatically generates an email and a web page (http://fireballs.ndc.nasa.gov) containing an automated analysis of the previous night's events. This analysis provides the following for each meteor: UTC date and time, speed, start and end locations (longitude, latitude, altitude), radiant, shower identification, light curve (meteor absolute magnitude as a function of time), photometric mass, orbital elements, and Tisserand parameter. Radiant/orbital plots and various histograms (number versus speed, time, etc) are also produced. After more than four years of operation, over 5,000 multi-station fireballs have been observed, 3 of which potentially dropped meteorites. A database containing data on all

  11. NASA Lunar Dust Filtration and Separations Workshop Report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agui, Juan H.; Stocker, Dennis P.

    2009-01-01

    NASA Glenn Research Center hosted a 2.5-day workshop, entitled "NASA Lunar Dust Filtration and Separations Workshop" at the Ohio Aerospace Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 18 to 20, 2008. The purpose of the workshop was to address the issues and challenges of particulate matter removal from the cabin atmospheres in the Altair lunar lander, lunar habitats, and in pressurized rovers. The presence of lunar regolith dust inside the pressurized volumes was a theme of particular interest. The workshop provided an opportunity for NASA, industry experts, and academia to identify and discuss the capabilities of current and developing air and gas particulate matter filtration and separations technologies as they may apply to NASA s needs. A goal of the workshop was to provide recommendations for strategic research areas in cabin atmospheric particulate matter removal and disposal technologies that will advance and/or supplement the baseline approach for these future lunar surface exploration missions.

  12. NASA Astrophysics EPO Community: Enhancing STEM Experience of Undergraduates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manning, J.; Meinke, B. K.; Lawton, B.; Smith, D. A.; Bartolone, L.; Schultz, G.; NASA Astrophysics EPO Community

    2015-11-01

    The NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Astrophysics Education and Public Outreach (EPO) community and Forum work together to capitalize on the cutting-edge discoveries of NASA Astrophysics missions to enhance the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) experience of undergraduates. The NASA SMD Astrophysics EPO community has proven expertise in providing both professional development and resources to faculty at two- and four-year institutions and in offering internships and student collaboration opportunities. These mission- and grant-based EPO programs are uniquely poised to foster collaboration between scientists with content expertise and educators with pedagogy expertise. We present examples of how the NASA Astrophysics EPO community and Forum engage the higher education community in these ways, including associated metrics and evaluation findings.

  13. Protoplanetary Disks in the Orion Nebula An H$\\alpha$ Fabry-Perot study and Astrobiological Aspects

    CERN Document Server

    De la Fuente-Acosta, E; Arias, L; Throop, H B; Ambrocio-Cruz, P; Fuente, Eduardo de la; Rosado, Margarita; Arias, Lorena; Throop, Patricia Ambrocio-Cruz & Henry B.

    2002-01-01

    In this paper, we present a briefly overview of the protoplanetary disks in the Orion Nebula, incluiding some astrobiological aspects and an H$\\alpha$ Fabry-Perot study of 16 of them. We found that Fabry-Perot interferometry constitutes an effective technique for the detection of proplyds. We also report heliocentric systemic velocities for the proplyds 82-336, 158-323, 158-326, 159-350, 161-314, 161-324, 163-317, 166-316, 167-317, 168-326, 170-337, 176-325, 177-341, 180-331, 197-427 and 244-440. The velocities were measured between 22-38 km s$^{-1}$.

  14. Protecting and Expanding the Richness and Diversity of Life, An Ethic for Astrobiology Research and Space Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Randolph, Richard O.; McKay, Chris P.

    2011-01-01

    The ongoing search for life on other worlds and the prospects of eventual human exploration of the Moon and Mars indicate the need for new ethical guidelines to direct our actions as we search and how we respond if we discover microbial life on other worlds. Here we review how life on other worlds presents a novel question in environmental ethics. We propose a principle of protecting and expanding the richness and diversity of life as the basis of an ethic for astrobiology research and space exploration. There are immediate implications for the operational policies governing how we conduct the search for life on Mars and how we plan for human exploration throughout the Solar System.

  15. The 2004 NASA Faculty Fellowship Program Research Reports

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pruitt, J. R.; Karr, G.; Freeman, L. M.; Hassan, R.; Day, J. B. (Compiler)

    2005-01-01

    This is the administrative report for the 2004 NASA Faculty Fellowship Program (NFFP) held at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) for the 40th consecutive year. The NFFP offers science and engineering faculty at U.S. colleges and universities hands-on exposure to NASA s research challenges through summer research residencies and extended research opportunities at participating NASA research Centers. During this program, fellows work closely with NASA colleagues on research challenges important to NASA's strategic enterprises that are of mutual interest to the fellow and the Center. The nominal starting and .nishing dates for the 10-week program were June 1 through August 6, 2004. The program was sponsored by NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, and operated under contract by The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Alabama A&M University. In addition, promotion and applications are managed by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and assessment is completed by Universities Space Research Association (USRA). The primary objectives of the NFFP are to: Increase the quality and quantity of research collaborations between NASA and the academic community that contribute to the Agency s space aeronautics and space science mission. Engage faculty from colleges, universities, and community colleges in current NASA research and development. Foster a greater public awareness of NASA science and technology, and therefore facilitate academic and workforce literacy in these areas. Strengthen faculty capabilities to enhance the STEM workforce, advance competition, and infuse mission-related research and technology content into classroom teaching. Increase participation of underrepresented and underserved faculty and institutions in NASA science and technology.

  16. The NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin, Germany

    OpenAIRE

    Pieth, Susanne; Jaumann, R.; Weiland, Marianne; Eichentopf, Karin

    2016-01-01

    The DLR/NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility (RPIF) was founded in 1985 in cooperation with NASA and is located at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin-Adlershof. This library of planetary photographs and maps keeps on file all the image data transmitted by many NASA and ESA space probes and makes them accessible to the public in Europe and mainly in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

  17. NASA/American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program, 1990

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spencer, John H. (Compiler)

    1990-01-01

    Since 1964, NASA has supported a program of summer faculty fellowships for engineering and science educators. The objectives are to further the professional knowledge of qualified engineering and science members; to stimulate and exchange ideas between participants and NASA; to enrich and refresh the research and teaching activities of participants' institutions; and to contribute to the research objectives of the NASA center. The study program consists of lectures and seminars on topics of interest or that are directly relevant to the research topics.

  18. NASA, the Fisherman's Friend

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    Every angler has his secrets, whether it be an old family recipe for stink bait, a midnight worm-hunting ritual, or the most coveted of all, the no-fail fishing hole. Most of these secrets are lore and legend, passed through generations, and coveted more than the family s best tableware. Each of these kernels of wisdom promises the fisherman a bite at the end of the line, but very few are rooted in fact and science. There is one, though.... NASA partnered with a company on the bayous of Mississippi and Louisiana to use satellite data to create a marine information system, a space-age fish finder. This product provides up-to-date information about the location of a variety of fish, including yellowfin tuna, bluefish, blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, blackfin tuna, little tunny, and swordfish. The system shows peaked catch rates, and may be the only true fish-finding product on the market.

  19. NASA, Building Tomorrow's Future

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mango, Edward

    2011-01-01

    We, as NASA, continue to Dare Mighty Things. Here we are in October. In my country, the United States of America, we celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas, which occurred on October 12, 1492. His story, although happening over 500 years ago, is still very valid today. It is a part of the American spirit; part of the international human spirit. Columbus is famous for discovering the new world we now call America, but he probably never envisioned what great discoveries would be revealed many generations later. But in order for Columbus to begin his great adventure, he needed a business plan. Ho would he go about obtaining the funds and support necessary to build, supply, and man the ships required for his travels? He had a lot of obstacles and distractions. He needed a strong, internal drive to achieve his plans and recruit a willing crew of explorers also ready to risk their all for the unknown journey ahead. As Columbus set sail, he said "By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination." Columbus may not have known he was on a journey for all human exploration. Recently, Charlie Bolden, the NASA Administrator, said, "Human exploration is and has always been about making life better for humans on Earth." Today, NASA and the U.S. human spaceflight program hold many of the same attributes as did Columbus and his contemporaries - a willing, can-do spirit. We are on the threshold of exciting new times in space exploration. Like Columbus, we need a business plan to take us into the future. We need to design the best ships and utilize the best designers, with their past knowledge and experience, to build those ships. We need funding and support from governments to achieve these goals of space exploration into the unknown. NASA does have that business plan, and it is an ambitious plan for human spaceflight and exploration. Today, we have a magnificent spaceflight

  20. NASA: Biomedical applications team

    Science.gov (United States)

    1981-01-01

    The status of projects involving the adaptation of NASA technologies for medical purposes is reviewed. Devices for the measurement of joint deformation of arthritic hands, the development of an artificial pancreas, provision of an auditory signal to avert epileptic seizures, are described along with the control of medication levels, a compressed air tank to supply power for field dentistry, and an electroencephalogram monitor. The use of the Lixiscope as a portable fluoroscope, thermal laminates for hand and foot warmers for patients with Raynaud's syndrome, and the use of absorptive coatings for instruments for controlling medication levels are described. The applicability of occupation health and safety practices to industry, computerized patient scheduling, impregnation of the common facial tissue with an agent for killing respiratory viruses, commercial applications of anthropometric data, and multispectral image analysis of the skin as a diagnostic tool are reviewed.

  1. NASA priority technologies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sadin, S. R.; Slone, H. O.

    1983-01-01

    Significant research areas deserving of attention within the NASA Space Research and Technology program are discussed, noting that the program is pursed to strengthen the U.S. technology base, improve low-cost access to space, and to aid in the expanded use of space, including a space station. Study areas being pursued include new Orbiter thermal protection system materials, developing longer-life reusable engines, and providing the technology for orbital transfer vehicle propulsion and aeroassisted braking. Attention is also being given to CFD techniques for entry body and rocket engine design, verifying the feasibility of advanced sensor concepts, defining the technology for large deployable RF antennas, and improving on-board data management systems. Of particular concern is to establish technologies which will enhance and extend a permanent manned presence in space.

  2. NASA Space Life Sciences

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayes, Judith

    2009-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the requirements that NASA has for the medical service of a crew returning to earth after long duration space flight. The scenarios predicate a water landing. Two scenarios are reviewed that outline the ship-board medical operations team and the ship board science reseach team. A schedule for the each crew upon landing is posited for each of scenarios. The requirement for a heliport on board the ship is reviewed and is on the requirement for a helicopter to return the Astronauts to the Baseline Data Collection Facility (BDCF). The ideal is to integrate the medical and science requirements, to minimize the risks and Inconveniences to the returning astronauts. The medical support that is required for all astronauts returning from long duration space flight (30 days or more) is reviewed. The personnel required to support the team is outlined. The recommendations for medical operations and science research for crew support are stated.

  3. NASA Technology Benefits Orthotics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myers, Neill; Shadoan, Michael

    1998-01-01

    Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama have designed a knee brace to aid in the rehabilitation of medical patients. The device, called the Selectively Lockable Knee Brace, was designed for knee injury and stroke patients but may potentially serve in many more patient applications. Individuals with sports related injuries, spinal cord injuries and birth defects, such as spina bifida, may also benefit from the device. The Selectively Lockable Knee Brace is designed to provide secure support to the patient when weight is applied to the leg; however; when the leg is not supporting weight, the device allows free motion of the knee joint. Braces currently on the market lock the knee in a rigid, straight or bent position, or by manually pulling a pin, allow continuous free joint motion.

  4. Configuration Management at NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doreswamy, Rajiv

    2013-01-01

    NASA programs are characterized by complexity, harsh environments and the fact that we usually have one chance to get it right. Programs last decades and need to accept new hardware and technology as it is developed. We have multiple suppliers and international partners Our challenges are many, our costs are high and our failures are highly visible. CM systems need to be scalable, adaptable to new technology and span the life cycle of the program (30+ years). Multiple Systems, Contractors and Countries added major levels of complexity to the ISS program and CM/DM and Requirements management systems center dot CM Systems need to be designed for long design life center dot Space Station Design started in 1984 center dot Assembly Complete in 2012 center dot Systems were developed on a task basis without an overall system perspective center dot Technology moves faster than a large project office, try to make sure you have a system that can adapt

  5. NASA Bluetooth Wireless Communications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Robert D.

    2007-01-01

    NASA has been interested in wireless communications for many years, especially when the crew size of the International Space Station (ISS) was reduced to two members. NASA began a study to find ways to improve crew efficiency to make sure the ISS could be maintained with limited crew capacity and still be a valuable research testbed in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). Currently the ISS audio system requires astronauts to be tethered to the audio system, specifically a device called the Audio Terminal Unit (ATU). Wireless communications would remove the tether and allow astronauts to freely float from experiment to experiment without having to worry about moving and reconnecting the associated cabling or finding the space equivalent of an extension cord. A wireless communication system would also improve safety and reduce system susceptibility to Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). Safety would be improved because a crewmember could quickly escape a fire while maintaining communications with the ground and other crewmembers at any location. In addition, it would allow the crew to overcome the volume limitations of the ISS ATU. This is especially important to the Portable Breathing Apparatus (PBA). The next generation of space vehicles and habitats also demand wireless attention. Orion will carry up to six crewmembers in a relatively small cabin. Yet, wireless could become a driving factor to reduce launch weight and increase habitable volume. Six crewmembers, each tethered to a panel, could result in a wiring mess even in nominal operations. In addition to Orion, research is being conducted to determine if Bluetooth is appropriate for Lunar Habitat applications.

  6. NASA Integrated Network COOP

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Michael L.; Wright, Nathaniel; Tai, Wallace

    2012-01-01

    Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, civil unrest, and other events have the potential of disrupting mission-essential operations in any space communications network. NASA's Space Communications and Navigation office (SCaN) is in the process of studying options for integrating the three existing NASA network elements, the Deep Space Network, the Near Earth Network, and the Space Network, into a single integrated network with common services and interfaces. The need to maintain Continuity of Operations (COOP) after a disastrous event has a direct impact on the future network design and operations concepts. The SCaN Integrated Network will provide support to a variety of user missions. The missions have diverse requirements and include anything from earth based platforms to planetary missions and rovers. It is presumed that an integrated network, with common interfaces and processes, provides an inherent advantage to COOP in that multiple elements and networks can provide cross-support in a seamless manner. The results of trade studies support this assumption but also show that centralization as a means of achieving integration can result in single points of failure that must be mitigated. The cost to provide this mitigation can be substantial. In support of this effort, the team evaluated the current approaches to COOP, developed multiple potential approaches to COOP in a future integrated network, evaluated the interdependencies of the various approaches to the various network control and operations options, and did a best value assessment of the options. The paper will describe the trade space, the study methods, and results of the study.

  7. Letting The Nasa Press Engine Work For You

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weaver, Kimberly A.

    2006-09-01

    You have an amazing result based on NASA data or a NASA mission, you have written your seminal paper and submitted it to your favorite journal. You believe it has press potential and maybe you've even gotten help from your PR folks in writing a press release. Now you would really like NASA to issue this as a press release. But how do you do that? This presentation will illustrate the steps required to engage NASA in helping promote your story. What are NASA's requirements for newsworthiness? Should your news be released as a web feature story or in the local media? Does your news rise to the level of a full-blown press conference or will it be a media teleconference? How do you obtain approval for a NASA press event? Once your result is scheduled to be issued as a press release, how can you improve your chances of getting the best possible coverage for your story? I will discuss the NASA press process and suggest how to consider factors like timing, working with your collaborating institutions in an efficient way, and not letting the cat out of the bag until the press event.

  8. NASA and The Semantic Web

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ashish, Naveen

    2005-01-01

    We provide an overview of several ongoing NASA endeavors based on concepts, systems, and technology from the Semantic Web arena. Indeed NASA has been one of the early adopters of Semantic Web Technology and we describe ongoing and completed R&D efforts for several applications ranging from collaborative systems to airspace information management to enterprise search to scientific information gathering and discovery systems at NASA.

  9. NASA space biology accomplishments, 1982

    Science.gov (United States)

    Halstead, T. W.; Pleasant, L. G.

    1983-01-01

    Summaries of NASA's Space Biology Program projects are provided. The goals, objectives, accomplishments, and future plans of each project are described in this publication as individual technical summaries.

  10. Instituting Commoning

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    . STEALTH.unlimited

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Starting from the origins of the notion of management, this paper explores how commons governance is constituted by the earlier influential research of Elinor Ostrom, and pursues this with reference to scholars such as Saki Bailey, who emphasises that the choice of regulatory frame is ultimately a political one. We then argue that commons have to be ‘instituted’ in an open manner in order to remain accessible. This demands a set of scripts, rules or agreements that keep the process of commoning in place, and, simultaneously, keep commoning in a constant process of reproduction. We examine this tension and look at the shift in understanding about what ‘institutions of the commons’ have entailed in practice over the course of the last century and a half. Finally, we return to the political dimension to touch upon the question of whether, with the disappearance of the welfare state, a coherent concept of society can emerge from the current upsurge of commons initiatives.

  11. NASA's Universe of Learning: Engaging Learners in Discovery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meinke, Bonnie K.; Smith, Denise A.; Lestition, Kathleen; Squires, Gordon K.; Greene, W. Michael; Cominsky, Lynn R.; Universe of Learning Team

    2016-10-01

    NASA's Universe of Learning is one of 27 competitively awarded education programs selected by NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) to enable scientists and engineers to more effectively engage with learners of all ages. The NASA's Universe of Learning program is created through a partnership between the Space Telescope Science Institute, Chandra X-ray Center, IPAC at Caltech, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Exoplanet Exploration Program, and Sonoma State University. The program will connect the scientists, engineers, science, technology and adventure of NASA Astrophysics (which includes exoplanets) with audience needs, proven infrastructure, and a network of over 500 partners to advance the objectives of SMD's newly restructured education program. The multi-institutional team will develop and deliver a unified, consolidated suite of education products, programs, and professional development offerings that spans the full spectrum of NASA Astrophysics, including the Exoplanet Exploration theme. Program elements include enabling educational use of Astrophysics mission data and offering participatory experiences; creating multimedia and immersive experiences; designing exhibits and community programs; providing professional development for pre-service educators, undergraduate instructors, and informal educators; and, producing resources for special needs and underserved/underrepresented audiences. This presentation will provide an overview of the program and process for mapping discoveries to products and programs for informal, lifelong, and self-directed learning environments.

  12. NASA's Universe of Learning: Engaging Learners in Discovery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cominsky, L.; Smith, D. A.; Lestition, K.; Greene, M.; Squires, G.

    2016-12-01

    NASA's Universe of Learning is one of 27 competitively awarded education programs selected by NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) to enable scientists and engineers to more effectively engage with learners of all ages. The NASA's Universe of Learning program is created through a partnership between the Space Telescope Science Institute, Chandra X-ray Center, IPAC at Caltech, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Exoplanet Exploration Program, and Sonoma State University. The program will connect the scientists, engineers, science, technology and adventure of NASA Astrophysics with audience needs, proven infrastructure, and a network of over 500 partners to advance the objectives of SMD's newly restructured education program. The multi-institutional team will develop and deliver a unified, consolidated suite of education products, programs, and professional development offerings that spans the full spectrum of NASA Astrophysics, including the Exoplanet Exploration theme. Program elements include enabling educational use of Astrophysics mission data and offering participatory experiences; creating multimedia and immersive experiences; designing exhibits and community programs; providing professional development for pre-service educators, undergraduate instructors, and informal educators; and, producing resources for special needs and underserved/underrepresented audiences. This presentation will provide an overview of the program and process for mapping discoveries to products and programs for informal, lifelong, and self-directed learning environments.

  13. Non-uniform thickness in Europa's icy shell: implications for astrobiology mission design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fairén, A.; Amils, R.

    zero shell thickness [12]) with liquid water at shallow depths [5], allowing for bolide penetration, diapirism and the extrusion of water to the surface. The heterogeneity in shell's thickness may be originated in spatial variations in tidal heating [13] and/or warm water upwellings from the silicate interior capable of melt-through the ice from below [12,14]. This thickness heterogeneity can be embedded in a general equatorward thickening trending, due to tidal dissipation and surface temperature variations [15]. A major constraint must be addressed at this point: the dynamism of ductile ice near the base of the shell may drive to decay in lateral thickness contrasts. But this effect has been examined both assuming ice as a Newtonian [16,17,18] and a non-Newtonian material [19], broadly reaching to similar conclusions: global shell thickness variations may survive for up to 100 Myr. In addition, lateral pressure gradients may not decay if they comprise only shallow depths [19]. Therefore, our results point to a dynamic non-uniform Europa's icy shell, displaying some regional and temporal heterogeneity in thickness. As thin/thick ice distribution is as time dependent as the surface ice features are (both are reshaped in periods ˜ 100 Myr), the analysis performed here offers an estimation of the current thickness distribution in the ice shell, estimation that cannot be extrapolated to ancient (e.g., >100 Myr) times. The astrobiological potential the shell and ocean below possess is highlighted by these results: a somewhere thin outer crust allows the possibility for some exogenous materials delivered by asteroids and comets to reach the inner liquid water ocean by breaching the brittle lithosphere [20], and so join to those generated in the interior of Europa via volcanic and hydrothermal activity [21]. In addition, pressure gradients driving the ductile ice at the base of the shell to flow laterally may help to redistribute such materials among the inner ice shell and

  14. NASA System Engineering Design Process

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roman, Jose

    2011-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews NASA's use of systems engineering for the complete life cycle of a project. Systems engineering is a methodical, disciplined approach for the design, realization, technical management, operations, and retirement of a system. Each phase of a NASA project is terminated with a Key decision point (KDP), which is supported by major reviews.

  15. NASA information resources management handbook

    Science.gov (United States)

    1992-01-01

    This National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Handbook (NHB) implements recent changes to Federal laws and regulations involving the acquisition, management, and use of Federal Information Processing (FIP) resources. This document defines NASA's Information Resources Management (IRM) practices and procedures and is applicable to all NASA personnel. The dynamic nature of the IRM environment requires that the controlling management practices and procedures for an Agency at the leading edge of technology, such as NASA, must be periodically updated to reflect the changes in this environment. This revision has been undertaken to accommodate changes in the technology and the impact of new laws and regulations dealing with IRM. The contents of this document will be subject to a complete review annually to determine its continued applicability to the acquisition, management, and use of FIP resources by NASA. Updates to this document will be accomplished by page changes. This revision cancels NHB 2410.1D, dated April 1985.

  16. NASA's university program: Active grants and research contracts, fiscal year 1974

    Science.gov (United States)

    1974-01-01

    Each entry includes institution and location, brief description of project, period of performance, principal investigator at institution, NASA technical officer (monitor), sponsoring NASA installation, interagency field of science or engineering classification C.A.S.E. category, grant or contract number, FY 74 obligations, cumulative obligations, and most recent RTOP coding. Entries are arranged alphabetically within state or country. Four cross indices are presented: (1) grant or contract number; (2) C.A.S.E. field or science or engineering; (3) NASA technical officer location; and (4) RTOP code.

  17. NASA Work Experience

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frandsen, Athela F.

    2015-01-01

    I have had the opportunity to support the analytical laboratories in chemical analysis of unknown samples, using Optical Microscopy (OM), Polarizing Light Microscopy (PLM), Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR), Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEMEDS), and X-ray Powder Diffraction (XPD). I have assisted in characterizing fibers pulled from a spacecraft, a white fibrous residue discovered in a jet refueler truck, brown residue from a plant habitat slated for delivery to the ISS (International Space Station), corrosion on a pipe from a sprinkler, and air filtration material brought back from the ISS. I also conducted my own fiber study in order to practice techniques and further my understanding of background concepts. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to participate in diverse work assignments, where I was assigned to work with other branches of the engineering department for 1-2 days each. The first was in the Materials Science branch where I participated in the construction of the plant habitat intended for use in research aboard the ISS. The second was in the Testing Design branch where I assisted with tensile and hardness testing of over 40 samples. In addition, I have had the privilege to attend multiple tours of the NASA KSC campus, including to the Astronaut Crew Quarters, the VAB (the main area, the Columbia room, and the catwalk), the Visitor Center housing the shuttle Atlantis, the Saturn-V exhibit, the Prototype laboratory, SWAMP WORKS, the Shuttle Landing Facility, the Crawler, and the Booster Fabrication Facility (BFF). Lastly, much of my coursework prepared me for this experience, including numerous laboratory courses with topics diverse as chemistry, physics, and biology.

  18. NASA Robotic Neurosurgery Testbed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mah, Robert

    1997-01-01

    The detection of tissue interface (e.g., normal tissue, cancer, tumor) has been limited clinically to tactile feedback, temperature monitoring, and the use of a miniature ultrasound probe for tissue differentiation during surgical operations, In neurosurgery, the needle used in the standard stereotactic CT or MRI guided brain biopsy provides no information about the tissue being sampled. The tissue sampled depends entirely upon the accuracy with which the localization provided by the preoperative CT or MRI scan is translated to the intracranial biopsy site. In addition, no information about the tissue being traversed by the needle (e.g., a blood vessel) is provided. Hemorrhage due to the biopsy needle tearing a blood vessel within the brain is the most devastating complication of stereotactic CT/MRI guided brain biopsy. A robotic neurosurgery testbed has been developed at NASA Ames Research Center as a spin-off of technologies from space, aeronautics and medical programs. The invention entitled "Robotic Neurosurgery Leading to Multimodality Devices for Tissue Identification" is nearing a state ready for commercialization. The devices will: 1) improve diagnostic accuracy and precision of general surgery, with near term emphasis on stereotactic brain biopsy, 2) automate tissue identification, with near term emphasis on stereotactic brain biopsy, to permit remote control of the procedure, and 3) reduce morbidity for stereotactic brain biopsy. The commercial impact from this work is the potential development of a whole new generation of smart surgical tools to increase the safety, accuracy and efficiency of surgical procedures. Other potential markets include smart surgical tools for tumor ablation in neurosurgery, general exploratory surgery, prostate cancer surgery, and breast cancer surgery.

  19. NASA Robotic Neurosurgery Testbed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mah, Robert

    1997-01-01

    The detection of tissue interface (e.g., normal tissue, cancer, tumor) has been limited clinically to tactile feedback, temperature monitoring, and the use of a miniature ultrasound probe for tissue differentiation during surgical operations, In neurosurgery, the needle used in the standard stereotactic CT or MRI guided brain biopsy provides no information about the tissue being sampled. The tissue sampled depends entirely upon the accuracy with which the localization provided by the preoperative CT or MRI scan is translated to the intracranial biopsy site. In addition, no information about the tissue being traversed by the needle (e.g., a blood vessel) is provided. Hemorrhage due to the biopsy needle tearing a blood vessel within the brain is the most devastating complication of stereotactic CT/MRI guided brain biopsy. A robotic neurosurgery testbed has been developed at NASA Ames Research Center as a spin-off of technologies from space, aeronautics and medical programs. The invention entitled "Robotic Neurosurgery Leading to Multimodality Devices for Tissue Identification" is nearing a state ready for commercialization. The devices will: 1) improve diagnostic accuracy and precision of general surgery, with near term emphasis on stereotactic brain biopsy, 2) automate tissue identification, with near term emphasis on stereotactic brain biopsy, to permit remote control of the procedure, and 3) reduce morbidity for stereotactic brain biopsy. The commercial impact from this work is the potential development of a whole new generation of smart surgical tools to increase the safety, accuracy and efficiency of surgical procedures. Other potential markets include smart surgical tools for tumor ablation in neurosurgery, general exploratory surgery, prostate cancer surgery, and breast cancer surgery.

  20. Research Reports: 2001 NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karr, G. (Editor); Pruitt, J. (Editor); Nash-Stevenson, S. (Editor); Freeman, L. M. (Editor); Karr, C. L. (Editor)

    2002-01-01

    For the thirty-seventh consecutive year, a NASA/ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program was conducted at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The program was conducted by The University of Alabama in Huntsville and MSFC during the period May 29 - August 3, 2001. Operated under the auspices of the American Society for Engineering Education, the MSFC program, as well as those at other NASA Centers, was sponsored by the University Affairs Office, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. The basic objectives of the programs, which are in the thirty-seventh year of operation nationally, are (1) to further the professional knowledge of qualified engineering and science faculty members; (2) to stimulate an exchange of ideas between participants and NASA; (3) to enrich and refresh the research and teaching activities of the participants' institutions; and (4) to contribute to the research objectives of the NASA Centers. The Faculty Fellows spent ten weeks at MSFC engaged in a research project compatible with their interests and background and worked in collaboration with a NASA MSFC colleague. This document is a compilation of Fellows' reports on their research during the summer of 2001.

  1. Research Reports: 1995 NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karr, G. R. (Editor); Chappell, C. R. (Editor); Six, F. (Editor); Freeman, L. M. (Editor)

    1996-01-01

    For the 31st consecutive year, a NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program was conducted at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The program was conducted by the University of Alabama in Huntsville and MSFC during the period 15 May 1995 - 4 Aug. 1995. Operated under the auspices of the American Society for Engineering Education, the MSFC program, as well as those at other NASA centers, was sponsored by the Higher Education Branch, Education Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. The basic objectives of the programs, which are in the 32nd year of operation nationally, are (1) to further the professional knowledge of qualified engineering and science faculty members; (2) to stimulate an exchange of ideas between participants and NASA; (3) to enrich and refresh the research and teaching activities of the participants' institutions; and (4) to contribute to the research objectives of the NASA centers. The Faculty Fellows spent 10 weeks at MSFC engaged in a research project compatible with their interests and background and worked in collaboration with a NASA/MSFC colleague. This document is a compilation of Fellows' reports on their research during the summer of 1995. The University of Alabama in Huntsville presents the Co-Directors' report on the administrative operations of the program. Further information can be obtained by contacting any of the editors.

  2. Research Reports: 1996 NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freeman, M. (Editor); Chappell, C. R. (Editor); Six, F. (Editor); Karr, G. R. (Editor)

    1996-01-01

    For the 32nd consecutive year, a NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program was conducted at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The program was conducted by the University of Alabama and MSFC during the period May 28, 1996 through August 2, 1996. Operated under the auspices of the American Society for Engineering Education, the MSFC program, as well as those at other NASA centers, was sponsored by the Higher Education Branch, Education Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. The basic objectives of the programs, which are in the 33rd year of operation nationally, are (1) to further the professional knowledge of qualified engineering and science faculty members; (2) to stimulate an exchange of ideas between participants and NASA; (3) to enrich and refresh the research and teaching activities of the participants' institutions; and (4) to contribute to the research objectives of the NASA centers. The Faculty Fellows spent 10 weeks at MSFC engaged in a research project compatible with their interests and background and worked in collaboration with a NASA/MSFC colleague. This document is a compilation of Fellows' reports on their research during the summer of 1996. The University of Alabama presents the Co-Directors' report on the administrative operations of the program. Further information can be obtained by contacting any of the editors.

  3. NASA and Public Libraries: Enhancing STEM Literacy in Underserved Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dusenbery, P.; LaConte, K.; Harold, J. B.; Randall, C.

    2016-12-01

    NASA research programs are helping humanity understand the origin and evolution of galaxies, stars, and planets, and defining the conditions necessary to support life beyond Earth. The Space Science Institute's (SSI) National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) was recently funded by NASA`s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) to develop and implement a project called NASA@ My Library: A National Earth and Space Science Initiative That Connects NASA, Public Libraries and Their Communities. As places that offer their services for free, public libraries have become the "public square" by providing a place where members of a community can gather for information, educational programming, and policy discussions. Libraries are developing new ways to engage their patrons in STEM learning, and NCIL's STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) has been supporting their efforts for the last eight years, including through a vibrant community of practice that serves both librarians and STEM professionals. Project stakeholders include public library staff, state libraries, the earth and space science education community at NASA, subject matter experts, and informal science educators. The project will leverage high-impact SMD and library events to catalyze partnerships through dissemination of SMD assets and professional development. It will also develop frameworks for public libraries to increase STEM interest pathways in their communities (with supports for reaching underserved audiences). This presentation will summarize the key activities and expected outcomes of the 5-year project.

  4. Astrobiology Exploration Strategies for the Mars Polar Regions Using Balloon Platforms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, P. R.; Atreya, S. A.; Fairbrother, D. A.; Farrell, W. M.; Gorevan, S.; Jones, J.; Mitrofanov, I.; Scott, J.

    2003-01-01

    Montgolfiere balloons can provide a unique near-surface platform for an extended traverse over the polar regions of Mars. During the polar summer, such solar powered balloons would remain in the constant sun of the polar summer and could remain airborne for many weeks or even months as the atmospheric circulation would drive the balloons around the polar region many times before the balloon would cross the terminator. Such a platform for scientific measurements could provide in situ sampling of the atmosphere for trace disequilibrium species that might be indicators of present geological or biological activity in this regon. It could furthermore provide high resolution imaging, deep electromagnetic (EM) sounding for subsurface stratigraphy and liquid water, and high spatial resolution neutron measurements of subsurface ice. Technologies for robust balloon deployment on entry and controlled encounters with the surface and near subsurface for sample acquisition in otherwise inaccessible regions are presently being studied and developed with support from NASA.

  5. 1994 NASA-HU American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spencer, John H. (Compiler); Young, Deborah B. (Compiler)

    1994-01-01

    Since 1964, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has supported a program of summer faculty fellowships for engineering and science educators. In a series of collaborations between NASA research and development centers and nearby universities, engineering faculty members spend 10 weeks working with professional peers on research. The Summer Faculty Program Committee of the American Society for Engineering Education supervises the programs. Objectives: (1) To further the professional knowledge of qualified engineering and science faculty members; (2) To stimulate and exchange ideas between participants and NASA; (3) To enrich and refresh the research and teaching activities of participants' institutions; (4) To contribute to the research objectives of the NASA center.

  6. NASA's Approach to Software Assurance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wetherholt, Martha

    2015-01-01

    NASA defines software assurance as: the planned and systematic set of activities that ensure conformance of software life cycle processes and products to requirements, standards, and procedures via quality, safety, reliability, and independent verification and validation. NASA's implementation of this approach to the quality, safety, reliability, security and verification and validation of software is brought together in one discipline, software assurance. Organizationally, NASA has software assurance at each NASA center, a Software Assurance Manager at NASA Headquarters, a Software Assurance Technical Fellow (currently the same person as the SA Manager), and an Independent Verification and Validation Organization with its own facility. An umbrella risk mitigation strategy for safety and mission success assurance of NASA's software, software assurance covers a wide area and is better structured to address the dynamic changes in how software is developed, used, and managed, as well as it's increasingly complex functionality. Being flexible, risk based, and prepared for challenges in software at NASA is essential, especially as much of our software is unique for each mission.

  7. Update on NASA Microelectronics Activities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Label, Kenneth A.; Sampson, Michael J.; Casey, Megan; Lauenstein, Jean-Marie

    2017-01-01

    Mission Statement: The NASA Electronic Parts and Packaging (NEPP) Program provides NASA's leadership for developing and maintaining guidance for the screening, qualification, test. and usage of EEE parts by NASA as well as in collaboration with other government Agencies and industry. NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) "STMD rapidly develops, demonstrates, and infuses revolutionary, high-payoff technologies through transparent, collaborative partnerships, expanding the boundaries of the aerospace enterprise." Mission Statement: The Space Environments Testing Management Office (SETMO) will identify, prioritize, and manage a select suite of Agency key capabilities/assets that are deemed to be essential to the future needs of NASA or the nation, including some capabilities that lack an adequate business base over the budget horizon. NESC mission is to perform value-added independent testing, analysis, and assessments of NASA's high-risk projects to ensure safety and mission success. NASA Space Environments and Avionics Fellows as well as Radiation and EEE Parts Community of Practice (CoP) leads.

  8. The europa initiative for esa's cosmic vision: a potential european contribution to nasa's Europa mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blanc, Michel; Jones, Geraint H.; Prieto-Ballesteros, Olga; Sterken, Veerle J.

    2016-04-01

    The assessment of the habitability of Jupiter's icy moons is considered of high priority in the roadmaps of the main space agencies, including the decadal survey and esa's cosmic vision plan. the voyager and galileo missions indicated that europa and ganymede may meet the requirements of habitability, including deep liquid aqueous reservoirs in their interiors. indeed, they constitute different end-terms of ocean worlds, which deserve further characterization in the next decade. esa and nasa are now both planning to explore these ice moons through exciting and ambitious missions. esa selected in 2012 the juice mission mainly focused on ganymede and the jupiter system, while nasa is currently studying and implementing the europa mission. in 2015, nasa invited esa to provide a junior spacecraft to be carried on board its europa mission, opening a collaboration scheme similar to the very successful cassini-huygens approach. in order to define the best contribution that can be made to nasa's europa mission, a europa initiative has emerged in europe. its objective is to elaborate a community-based strategy for the proposition of the best possible esa contribution(s) to nasa's europa mission, as a candidate for the upcoming selection of esa's 5th medium-class mission . the science returns of the different potential contributions are analysed by six international working groups covering complementary science themes: a) magnetospheric interactions; b) exosphere, including neutrals, dust and plumes; c) geochemistry; d) geology, including expressions of exchanges between layers; e) geophysics, including characterization of liquid water distribution; f) astrobiology. each group is considering different spacecraft options in the contexts of their main scientific merits and limitations, their technical feasibility, and of their interest for the development of esa-nasa collaborations. there are five options under consideration: (1) an augmented payload to the europa mission main

  9. The SOLID (Signs Of LIfe Detector) instrument concept: an antibody microarray-based biosensor for life detection in astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parro, V.; Rivas, L. A.; Rodríguez-Manfredi, J. A.; Blanco, Y.; de Diego-Castilla, G.; Cruz-Gil, P.; Moreno-Paz, M.; García-Villadangos, M.; Compostizo, C.; Herrero, P. L.

    2009-04-01

    Immunosensors have been extensively used since many years for environmental monitoring. Different technological platforms allow new biosensor designs and implementations. We have reported (Rivas et al., 2008) a shotgun approach for antibody production for biomarker detection in astrobiology and environmental monitoring, the production of 150 new polyclonal antibodies against microbial strains and environmental extracts, and the construction and validation of an antibody microarray (LDCHIP200, for "Life Detector Chip") containing 200 different antibodies. We have successfully used the LDCHIP200 for the detection of biological polymers in extreme environments in different parts of the world (e.g., a deep South African mine, Antarctica's Dry valleys, Yellowstone, Iceland, and Rio Tinto). Clustering analysis associated similar immunopatterns to samples from apparently very different environments, indicating that they indeed share similar universal biomarkers. A redundancy in the number of antibodies against different target biomarkers apart of revealing the presence of certain biomolecules, it renders a sample-specific immuno-profile, an "immnuno-fingerprint", which may constitute by itself an indirect biosignature. We will present a case study of immunoprofiling different iron-sulfur as well as phylosilicates rich samples along the Rio Tinto river banks. Based on protein microarray technology, we designed and built the concept instrument called SOLID (for "Signs Of LIfe Detector"; Parro et al., 2005; 2008a, b; http://cab.inta.es/solid) for automatic in situ analysis of soil samples and molecular biomarkers detection. A field prototype, SOLID2, was successfully tested for the analysis of grinded core samples during the 2005 "MARTE" campaign of a Mars drilling simulation experiment by a sandwich microarray immunoassay (Parro et al., 2008b). We will show the new version of the instrument (SOLID3) which is able to perform both sandwich and competitive immunoassays. SOLID3

  10. NASA Risk Management Handbook. Version 1.0

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dezfuli, Homayoon; Benjamin, Allan; Everett, Christopher; Maggio, Gaspare; Stamatelatos, Michael; Youngblood, Robert; Guarro, Sergio; Rutledge, Peter; Sherrard, James; Smith, Curtis; Williams, Rodney

    2011-01-01

    The purpose of this handbook is to provide guidance for implementing the Risk Management (RM) requirements of NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) document NPR 8000.4A, Agency Risk Management Procedural Requirements [1], with a specific focus on programs and projects, and applying to each level of the NASA organizational hierarchy as requirements flow down. This handbook supports RM application within the NASA systems engineering process, and is a complement to the guidance contained in NASA/SP-2007-6105, NASA Systems Engineering Handbook [2]. Specifically, this handbook provides guidance that is applicable to the common technical processes of Technical Risk Management and Decision Analysis established by NPR 7123.1A, NASA Systems Engineering Process and Requirements [3]. These processes are part of the \\Systems Engineering Engine. (Figure 1) that is used to drive the development of the system and associated work products to satisfy stakeholder expectations in all mission execution domains, including safety, technical, cost, and schedule. Like NPR 7123.1A, NPR 8000.4A is a discipline-oriented NPR that intersects with product-oriented NPRs such as NPR 7120.5D, NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements [4]; NPR 7120.7, NASA Information Technology and Institutional Infrastructure Program and Project Management Requirements [5]; and NPR 7120.8, NASA Research and Technology Program and Project Management Requirements [6]. In much the same way that the NASA Systems Engineering Handbook is intended to provide guidance on the implementation of NPR 7123.1A, this handbook is intended to provide guidance on the implementation of NPR 8000.4A. 1.2 Scope and Depth This handbook provides guidance for conducting RM in the context of NASA program and project life cycles, which produce derived requirements in accordance with existing systems engineering practices that flow down through the NASA organizational hierarchy. The guidance in this handbook is not meant

  11. Teacher Enhancement Institute

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall-Bradley, Tina

    1994-01-01

    During the 1980's, a period of intense concern over educational quality in the United States, few indicators of U.S. student achievement garnered the interest of policy makers and pundits as successfully as the results of international testing in mathematics and science. This concern was so great that as a part of the Goals 2000 initiative, President George Bush indicated that 'By the year 2000, U.S. students should be first in the world in mathematics and science.' The Clinton Administration is placing a major emphasis, not only on rigorous academic standards and creating a new system for assessing students' progress, but also including professional development as a major focus. The argument being that teachers need more sustained, intensive training to prepare them to teach to higher standards. Executive order 12821 mandates that national laboratories 'assist in the mathematics and science education of our Nation's students, teachers, parents and the public by establishing programs at their agency to provide for training elementary and secondary school teachers to improve their knowledge of mathematics and science'. These and other issues led to the development of ideas for a project that addresses the need for excellence in mathematics, science and technology instruction. In response to these initiatives the NASA/LaRC Teacher Enhancement Institute was proposed. The TEI incorporated systemic reform perspectives, enhanced content knowledge for teachers, and teacher preparation. Emphasis was also placed on recruiting those educators who teach in impoverished urban school districts with at-risk student populations who have been traditionally under represented in science, mathematics, technology and engineering. Participants in the Teacher Enhancement Institute were 37 teachers from grades K-8, teaching in Region 2 in the state of Virginia, as well as 2 preservice teachers from Norfolk State University and one teacher from Dublin, Virginia, where a Science

  12. An Overview of NASA Biotechnology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pusey, Marc L.

    1997-01-01

    Biotechnology research at NASA has comprised three separate areas; cell science and tissue culture, separations methods, and macromolecular crystal growth. This presentation will primarily focus on the macromolecular crystal growth.

  13. NASA_Airborne_Lidar_Flights

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Data from the 1982 NASA Langley Airborne Lidar flights following the eruption of El Chichon beginning in July 1982 and continuing to January 1984. Data in ASCII...

  14. NASA ASTER Level 1T

    Data.gov (United States)

    U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior — The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) is an advanced multispectral imager that was launched on board NASA's Terra spacecraft in...

  15. NASA 3D Models: Aquarius

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Aquarius is making NASA's first space-based global observations of ocean surface salinity, flying 657 kilometers (408 miles) above Earth in a sun-synchronous polar...

  16. NASA's approach to space commercialization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gillam, Isaac T., IV

    1986-01-01

    The NASA Office of Commercial Programs fosters private participation in commercially oriented space projects. Five Centers for the Commercial Development of Space encourage new ideas and perform research which may yield commercial processes and products for space ventures. Joint agreements allow companies who present ideas to NASA and provide flight hardware access to a free launch and return from orbit. The experimenters furnish NASA with sufficient data to demonstrate the significance of the results. Ground-based tests are arranged for smaller companies to test the feasibility of concepts before committing to the costs of developing hardware. Joint studies of mutual interest are performed by NASA and private sector researchers, and two companies have signed agreements for a series of flights in which launch costs are stretched out to meet projected income. Although Shuttle flights went on hold following the Challenger disaster, extensive work continues on the preparation of commercial research payloads that will fly when Shuttle flights resume.

  17. NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The NTRS is a valuable resource for researchers, students, educators, and the public to access NASA's current and historical technical literature and engineering...

  18. NASA 3D Models: Aqua

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Aqua, Latin for water, is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth's water...

  19. NASA 3D Models: Cassini

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Cassini spacecraft from SPACE rendering package, built by Michael Oberle under NASA contract at JPL. Includes orbiter only, Huygens probe detached. Accurate except...

  20. NASA 3D Models: Terra

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — NASA launched the Earth Observing System's flagship satellite Terra, named for Earth, on December 18, 1999. Terra has been collecting data about Earth's changing...

  1. NASA 3D Models: TRMM

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) designed to monitor and study...

  2. NASA 3D Models: SORCE

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) is a NASA-sponsored satellite mission that is providing state-of-the-art measurements of incoming x-ray,...

  3. Industrial and Systems Engineering Applications in NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shivers, Charles H.

    2006-01-01

    A viewgraph presentation on the many applications of Industrial and Systems Engineering used for safe NASA missions is shown. The topics include: 1) NASA Information; 2) Industrial Engineering; 3) Systems Engineering; and 4) Major NASA Programs.

  4. NASA's Plan for SDLS Testing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bailey, Brandon

    2015-01-01

    The Space Data Link Security (SDLS) Protocol is a Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) standard which extends the known Data Link protocols to secure data being sent over a space link by providing confidentiality and integrity services. This plan outlines the approach by National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) in performing testing of the SDLS protocol using a prototype based on an existing NASA missions simulator.

  5. NASA Day at the Capitol

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    Astronaut Rex Walheim (center) speaks to members of the Mississippi House of Representatives in chambers during NASA Day at the Capitol in Jackson on Feb. 19. Walheim was joined at the podium by members of the Mississippi House of Representatives Gulf Coast delegation, as well as Stennis Space Center Director Gene Goldman (astronaut's immediate right) and NASA's Shared Services Center Director Rick Arbuthnot and Partners for Stennis Executive Director Tish Williams (astronaut's immediate left).

  6. NASA's telemedicine testbeds: Commercial benefit

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doarn, Charles R.; Whitten, Raymond

    1998-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been developing and applying telemedicine to support space flight since the Agency's beginning. Telemetry of physiological parameters from spacecraft to ground controllers is critical to assess the health status of humans in extreme and remote environments. Requisite systems to support medical care and maintain readiness will evolve as mission duration and complexity increase. Developing appropriate protocols and procedures to support multinational, multicultural missions is a key objective of this activity. NASA has created an Agency-wide strategic plan that focuses on the development and integration of technology into the health care delivery systems for space flight to meet these challenges. In order to evaluate technology and systems that can enhance inflight medical care and medical education, NASA has established and conducted several testbeds. Additionally, in June of 1997, NASA established a Commercial Space Center (CSC) for Medical Informatics and Technology Applications at Yale University School of Medicine. These testbeds and the CSC foster the leveraging of technology and resources between government, academia and industry to enhance health care. This commercial endeavor will influence both the delivery of health care in space and on the ground. To date, NASA's activities in telemedicine have provided new ideas in the application of telecommunications and information systems to health care. NASA's Spacebridge to Russia, an Internet-based telemedicine testbed, is one example of how telemedicine and medical education can be conducted using the Internet and its associated tools. Other NASA activities, including the development of a portable telemedicine workstation, which has been demonstrated on the Crow Indian Reservation and in the Texas Prison System, show promise in serving as significant adjuncts to the delivery of health care. As NASA continues to meet the challenges of space flight, the

  7. Tissue grown in space in NASA Bioreactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Dr. Lisa E. Freed of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her colleagues have reported that initially disc-like specimens of cartilage tend to become spherical in space, demonstrating that tissues can grow and differentiate into distinct structures in microgravity. The Mir Increment 3 (Sept. 16, 1996 - Jan. 22, 1997) samples were smaller, more spherical, and mechanically weaker than Earth-grown control samples. These results demonstrate the feasibility of microgravity tissue engineering and may have implications for long human space voyages and for treating musculoskeletal disorders on earth. Constructs grown on Mir (A) tended to become more spherical, whereas those grown on Earth (B) maintained their initial disc shape. These findings might be related to differences in cultivation conditions, i.e., videotapes showed that constructs floated freely in microgravity but settled and collided with the rotating vessel wall at 1g (Earth's gravity). In particular, on Mir the constructs were exposed to uniform shear and mass transfer at all surfaces such that the tissue grew equally in all directions, whereas on Earth the settling of discoid constructs tended to align their flat circular areas perpendicular to the direction of motion, increasing shear and mass transfer circumferentially such that the tissue grew preferentially in the radial direction. A and B are full cross sections of constructs from Mir and Earth groups shown at 10-power. C and D are representative areas at the construct surfaces enlarged to 200-power. They are stained red with safranin-O. NASA-sponsored bioreactor research has been instrumental in helping scientists to better understand normal and cancerous tissue development. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC). Photo credit: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  8. My Internship at NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lopez, Isaac

    2016-01-01

    My name is Isaac Lopez and I am a junior at the University of Houston majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology. I will be completing my first tour at the NASA-Johnson Space Center ("JSC") as a Mechanical Engineer within the Human Interfaces Branch. Throughout my tour, I was given the opportunity to work on multiple projects that have expanded my knowledge and interest in acoustics and engineering design. One of the projects I worked on at JSC consisted of doing acoustic simulation of the EVA comm. cap. While working on the comm. cap headset, my main duty consisted of simulating the acoustics of the headset to find a solution to the condensing water that can accumulate and block the acoustic tube, causing attenuation or complete loss of audio in one ear for an astronaut using the EVA. For this project, I had to create a Creo model of the comm. cap so that I would be able to import it into Comsol for acoustic simulation. I also had the opportunity to design a portable and lightweight beam degrader for the EEE Parts and Radiation team. With the help of Creo, I was able to make a CAD design and put together a small working prototype for the radiation team to demonstrate the capabilities that the beam degrader had. In addition to these projects, JSC allowed me to work closely on projects with other interns. I had the opportunity to help another intern with his acoustic diverter, intended to improve the sound quality in Node 1 of the ISS. During this project, I helped with some of the acoustic testing inside the anechoic chamber as well as helping record data during testing at the ISS mock up. During the course of my first tour, I was able to learn and continually improve on my CAD drafting skills. With each project I worked on, I acquired new ways to create and improve various designs with various constraints. Furthermore, I also had the opportunity to work with electrical engineers and learn about the electronic components that would provide control of the beam

  9. Institutions, Institutional Change, Language, and Searle

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    W.A. Dolfsma (Wilfred); R. McMaster; J. Finch

    2005-01-01

    textabstractThis paper endeavours to contribute to the growing institutionalist literature on the conception of the institution. We draw from John Davis’ (2003) analysis of the individual in posing the questions: what differentiates institutions, and how can changing institutions be identified thro

  10. Intentional Collaboration & Innovation Spaces at NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scott, David W.

    2014-01-01

    Collaboration and Innovation (C&I) are extremely popular terms in corporate jargon, and institutions with reputations for creativity often have clever and fun spaces set aside for hatching ideas and developing products or services. In and of themselves, a room full of "collaboration furniture" and electronics can't make C&I happen, any more than oil makes a gas or diesel engine run. As with the engine, though, quality lubrication is a huge factor in the smooth operation, power, and longevity of C&I activity. This paper describes spaces deliberately set up at numerous NASA field centers to support collaborative and creative thinking and processes. (Sometimes support is not so much a matter of doing things to spark discussion as it is removing constraints imposed by traditional settings and making information sharing as easy as possible.) Some spaces are rooms or suites dedicated to C&I, with significant electronic support and/or intentional lack thereof (to emphasize the human element). Others are small, comfortable "roosting places" that invite conversations of opportunity. Descriptions include the sponsoring organization, underlying goals and philosophies, lessons learned, and opportunities to excel. There is discussion about how such areas might interconnect within centers, across NASA, and with external entities using current technology and what tools and approaches may be in our future.

  11. The NASA Plan: To award eight percent of prime and subcontracts to socially and economically disadvantaged businesses

    Science.gov (United States)

    1990-01-01

    It is NASA's intent to provide small disadvantaged businesses, including women-owned, historically black colleges and universities and minority education institutions the maximum practicable opportunity to receive a fair proportion of NASA prime and subcontracted awards. Annually, NASA will establish socioeconomic procurement goals including small disadvantaged business goals, with a target of reaching the eight percent level by the end of FY 1994. The NASA Associate Administrators, who are responsible for the programs at the various NASA Centers, will be held accountable for full implementation of the socioeconomic procurement plans. Various aspects of this plan, including its history, are discussed.

  12. Humidity interaction of lichens under astrobiological aspects: the impact of UVC exposure on their water retention properties

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jänchen, J.; Meeßen, J.; Herzog, T. H.; Feist, M.; de la Torre, R.; Devera, J.-P. P.

    2015-07-01

    We quantitatively studied the hydration and dehydration behaviour of the three astrobiological model lichens Xanthoria elegans, Buellia frigida and Circinaria gyrosa by thermoanalysis and gravimetric isotherm measurements under close-to-Martian environmental conditions in terms of low temperature and low pressure. Additionally, the impact of UVC exposure on the isolated symbionts of B. frigida and X. elegans was studied by thermoanalysis and mass spectrometry as well as by gravimetric isotherm measurements. The thermal analysis revealed whewellite as a component of C. gyrosa which was not found in B. frigida and X. elegans. Neither the water retention nor the thermal behaviour of symbionts changed when irradiated with UVC under dry conditions. On the other hand, UVC irradiation of the wet mycobiont of B. frigida had a distinct impact on the hydration/dehydration ability which was not observed for the mycobiont of X. elegans. Possibly the melanin of B. frigida's mycobiont, that is not present in X. elegans, or a specifically damaged acetamido group of the chitin of B. frigida may be the sources of additional UVC-induced sorption sites for water associated with the UVC exposure.

  13. Niche Habitats for Extra-Terrestrial Life: The Potential for Astrobiology on the Moons of Saturn and Jupiter

    Science.gov (United States)

    Battison, Leila

    2011-03-01

    Astrobiology today has a strong anticipatory focus, and efforts are concentrated on determining the factors behind the potential presence, type, and distribution of life in our solar system and beyond. The critical requirements for life: a liquid solvent, and electron acceptors and donors for metabolism, guide the search, and is a central concept to the location and extent of circumstellar habitable zones. For our own solar system, however, the search can be widened beyond this narrow band of 'earth-like' conditions, and our increasing knowledge of the capabilities of life, as well as higher resolution imaging and analysis of solar system bodies, warrants the application of a more expansive habitable niche approach. The Saturnian and Jovian satellite systems are ideal for the application of this concept, and are here used to demonstrate how a collection of system characteristics may be used to assess the potential for individual bodies to harbour life. Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede in the Jovian system, and Enceladus, Titan, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Hyperion in the Saturnian system all possess characters that could make them conducive to the origin or maintenance of life upon or within them. The possibility of some of these bodies containing extraterrestrial life is reflected in future explorative missions.

  14. Hydro-gravitational-dynamics cosmology is crucial to astrobiology and the biological big bang at two million years

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, Carl H.

    2015-09-01

    Hydro-Gravitational-Dynamics (HGD) cosmology predicts that the 1012 s (30 Kyr) H-He4 plasma protogalaxies become, by viscous fragmentation, proto-globular-star-cluster PGC clumps of a trillion small planets, at the 1013 s transition to gas. Larger planets and stars result from mergers of these hot 3000 K hydrogen planets in the PGCs. Stardust oxides of life chemicals C, N, O, Fe, Si seed the planets when the stars explode as supernovae. Hydrogen reduces the metal oxides and silicates to metal and rocky planet cores with massive hot water oceans at critical water temperature 647 K in which organic chemistry and life can develop. Because information is continually exchanged between the merging planets, they form a cosmic soup. The biological big bang occurs between 2 Myr when liquid water rains hot deep oceans in the cooling cosmos, and 8 Myr when the oceans freeze6. Thus, HGD cosmology explains the Hoyle/Wickramasinghe concept of cometary panspermia by giving a vast, hot, nourishing, cosmological primordial soup for abiogenesis, and the means for transmitting the resulting life forms and their evolving RNA/DNA mechanisms widely throughout the universe. A primordial astrophysical basis is provided for astrobiology by HGD cosmology. Concordance ΛCDMHC cosmology is rendered obsolete by the observation of complex life on Earth.

  15. UV Raman imaging--a promising tool for astrobiology: comparative Raman studies with different excitation wavelengths on SNC Martian meteorites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frosch, Torsten; Tarcea, Nicolae; Schmitt, Michael; Thiele, Hans; Langenhorst, Falko; Popp, Jürgen

    2007-02-01

    The great capabilities of UV Raman imaging have been demonstrated on the three Martian meteorites: Sayh al Uhaymir, Dar al Gani, and Zagami. Raman spectra without disturbing fluorescence and with high signal-to-noise-ratios and full of spectral features were derived. This result is of utmost importance for the development of powerful instruments for space missions. By point scanning the surfaces of the meteorite samples, it was possible for the first time to construct UV-Raman images out of the array of Raman spectra. Deep-UV Raman images are to the best of our knowledge presented for the first time. The images were used for a discussion of the chemical-mineralogical composition and texture of the meteorite surfaces. Comparative Raman studies applying visible and NIR Raman excitation wavelengths demonstrate a much better performance for UV Raman excitation. This comparative study of different Raman excitation wavelengths at the same sample spots was done by constructing a versatile, robust sample holder with a fixed micro-raster. The overall advantages of UV resonance Raman spectroscopy in terms of sensitivity and selectivity are demonstrated and discussed. Finally the application of this new technique for a UV Raman instrument for envisaged astrobiological focused space missions is suggested.

  16. Raman spectroscopic analysis of minerals and organic molecules of relevance to astrobiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alajtal, A I; Edwards, H G M; Scowen, I J

    2010-05-01

    Characteristic geological features and hydrated minerals recently found on the surface of Mars by the NASA planetary rovers Spirit and Opportunity suggest that a possible biosphere could have once existed there. Analytical instrumentation protocols for the unequivocal detection of biomarkers in suitable geological matrices are critical for future unmanned explorations, including the forthcoming ESA-ExoMars mission scheduled for 2018. Raman spectroscopy is currently a part of the Pasteur instrumentation suite of the ExoMars mission scheduled for 2018 for the remote detection of extant or extinct life signatures in the Martian surface and subsurface. Terrestrial analogues of Martian sites have been identified, and the biogeological modifications incurred as a result of extremophilic survival activity have been studied. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are recognised as a class of degradation product that occur from biological processes terrestrially. In this work, various concentrations of polyaromatic hydrocarbons in matrices of gypsum, calcite and quartz have been investigated by Raman microspectrometry to determine the lowest detectable organic levels. The studies are conceived in simulation of their potential PAHs identification in geobiological conditions in Martian scenarios. Two laser source wavelengths, namely, 785 and 633 nm, were adopted to excite Raman spectra from the PAHs, which represent degraded carbons and therefore potentially provide a key bimolecular marker of ancient life.

  17. NASA Software Engineering Benchmarking Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rarick, Heather L.; Godfrey, Sara H.; Kelly, John C.; Crumbley, Robert T.; Wifl, Joel M.

    2013-01-01

    To identify best practices for the improvement of software engineering on projects, NASA's Offices of Chief Engineer (OCE) and Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) formed a team led by Heather Rarick and Sally Godfrey to conduct this benchmarking study. The primary goals of the study are to identify best practices that: Improve the management and technical development of software intensive systems; Have a track record of successful deployment by aerospace industries, universities [including research and development (R&D) laboratories], and defense services, as well as NASA's own component Centers; and Identify candidate solutions for NASA's software issues. Beginning in the late fall of 2010, focus topics were chosen and interview questions were developed, based on the NASA top software challenges. Between February 2011 and November 2011, the Benchmark Team interviewed a total of 18 organizations, consisting of five NASA Centers, five industry organizations, four defense services organizations, and four university or university R and D laboratory organizations. A software assurance representative also participated in each of the interviews to focus on assurance and software safety best practices. Interviewees provided a wealth of information on each topic area that included: software policy, software acquisition, software assurance, testing, training, maintaining rigor in small projects, metrics, and use of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) framework, as well as a number of special topics that came up in the discussions. NASA's software engineering practices compared favorably with the external organizations in most benchmark areas, but in every topic, there were ways in which NASA could improve its practices. Compared to defense services organizations and some of the industry organizations, one of NASA's notable weaknesses involved communication with contractors regarding its policies and requirements for acquired software. One of NASA's strengths

  18. NASA/DOD Aerospace Knowledge Diffusion Research Project. Report 6: The relationship between the use of US government technical reports by US aerospace engineers and scientists and selected institutional and sociometric variables. Ph.D. Thesis - Indiana Univ., Nov. 1990 No. 6

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinelli, Thomas E.

    1991-01-01

    The relationship between the use of U.S. government technical reports by U.S. aerospace engineers and scientists and selected institutional and sociometric variables was investigated. The methodology used for this study was survey research. Data were collected by means of a self-administered mail questionnaire. The approximately 34,000 members of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts (AIAA) served as the study population. The response rate for the survey was 70 percent. A dependent relationship was found to exist between the use of U.S. government technical reports and three of the institutional variables (academic preparation, years of professional aerospace work experience, and technical discipline). The use of U.S. government technical reports was found to be independent of all of the sociometric variables. The institutional variables best explain the use of U.S. government technical reports by U.S. aerospace engineers and scientists.

  19. Identity of Institution and Institutional Design

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Bahar Ülker Kaya

    2006-05-01

    Full Text Available Corporate identity is planning and reşecting memorable, personal, characteristic pecularities of an institution and the ability that separates it from others. Corporate identity is in interaction with the corporate culture and corporate image. It is an entity formed by the philosophy of the institution, institutional communication, behavior and planning. Institutional planning formed by the planning of production and communication and architectural/ interior architectural planning, is the most significant element that constitutes the visual identity of an institution. While forming architectural and interior architectural planning of institutions, establishing places that will clearly reşect the corporate identity is gaining importance. In the perception of visual identity of institutions, planning elements such as; colour, texture, material and form are more significant than others.

  20. OASES: Lessons learned from Oceanographic Exploration relevant to future Astrobiology expeditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowen, A.; German, C. R.; Whitcomb, L. L.; Yoerger, D. R.; Jakuba, M.; Kinsey, J. C.; Oases Science Team

    2010-12-01

    A series of developments in ocean science and technology resulting from a unique confluence of opportunity have resulted in important advances leading to improved operational capabilities, impacting exploration and discovery of new environments within the Earth’s Oceans. The ASTEP funded Oases project to the Mid Cayman Rise, when teamed with other complimentary developments and field programs, represents an important example of how oceanographic robotic systems and the scientific techniques they utilize can make important impacts not only improving state of the art for ocean exploration and discovery but also revealing how such advanced systems and techniques may impact exploration of other planets. The recent NSF-funded Nereus vehicle development, resulting in a novel system able to explore the deepest reaches of the ocean to 11,000 meters depth, has been utilized within the OASES project to help advance exploration capabilities through the use of new concepts in how robots interact with their human operators when confronted with the reality of a restricted communications environment -typical in the deep oceans of this planet. Likewise, other field programs funded outside NASA utilizing the autonomous vehicle Sentry complement these experiences. Indeed, the extreme nature of Nereus’ mission of exploring the deepest regions of the ocean leads to new opportunities to perform new scientific missions within oceans subject to ice cover. During the OASES cruise, Nereus demonstrated several of the technological aspects required to work in an ice-covered ocean while also illuminating many of the challenges associated with real-time control and decision making needed to achieve a fully capable system able to explore and sample new environments undersea.

  1. Computer Visualizations for K-8 Science Teachers: One Component of Professional Development Workshops at the Planetary Science Institute

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kortenkamp, S.; Baldridge, A. M.; Bleamaster, L. F.; Buxner, S.; Canizo, T.; Crown, D. A.; Lebofsky, L. A.

    2012-12-01

    The Planetary Science Institute (PSI), in partnership with the Tucson Regional Science Center, offers a series of professional development workshops targeting K-8 science teachers in southern Arizona. Using NASA data sets, research results, and a team of PSI scientists and educators, our workshops provide teachers with in-depth content knowledge of fundamental concepts in astronomy, geology, and planetary science. Current workshops are: The Earth-Moon System, Exploring the Terrestrial Planets, Impact Cratering, The Asteroid-Meteorite Connection, Volcanoes of the Solar System, Deserts of the Solar System, and Astrobiology and the Search for Extrasolar Planets. Several workshops incorporate customized computer visualizations developed at PSI. These visualizations are designed to help teachers overcome the common misconceptions students have in fundamental areas of space science. For example, the simple geometric relationship between the sun, the moon, and Earth is a concept that is rife with misconceptions. How can the arrangement of these objects account for the constantly changing phases of the moon as well as the occasional eclipses of the sun and moon? Students at all levels often struggle to understand the explanation for phases and eclipses even after repeated instruction over many years. Traditional classroom techniques have proven to be insufficient at rooting out entrenched misconceptions. One problem stems from the difficulty of developing an accurate mental picture of the Earth-Moon system in space when a student's perspective has always been firmly planted on the ground. To address this problem our visualizations take the viewers on a journey beyond Earth, giving them a so-called "god's eye" view of how the Earth-Moon system would look from a distance. To make this journey as realistic as possible we use ray-tracing software, incorporate NASA mission images, and accurately portray rotational and orbital motion. During a workshop our visualizations are

  2. NASA Langley/CNU Distance Learning Programs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caton, Randall; Pinelli, Thomas E.

    2002-01-01

    NASA Langley Research Center and Christopher Newport University (CNU) provide, free to the public, distance learning programs that focus on math, science, and/or technology over a spectrum of education levels from K-adult. The effort started in 1997, and we currently have a suite of five distance-learning programs. We have around 450,000 registered educators and 12.5 million registered students in 60 countries. Partners and affiliates include the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the Aerospace Education Coordinating Committee (AECC), the Alliance for Community Media, the National Educational Telecommunications Association, Public Broadcasting System (PBS) affiliates, the NASA Learning Technologies Channel, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the Council of the Great City Schools, Hampton City Public Schools, Sea World Adventure Parks, Busch Gardens, ePALS.com, and Riverdeep. Our mission is based on the "Horizon of Learning," a vision for inspiring learning across a continuum of educational experiences. The programs form a continuum of educational experiences for elementary youth through adult learners. The strategic plan for the programs will evolve to reflect evolving national educational needs, changes within NASA, and emerging system initiatives. Plans for each program component include goals, objectives, learning outcomes, and rely on sound business models. It is well documented that if technology is used properly it can be a powerful partner in education. Our programs employ both advances in information technology and in effective pedagogy to produce a broad range of materials to complement and enhance other educational efforts. Collectively, the goals of the five programs are to increase educational excellence; enhance and enrich the teaching of mathematics, science, and technology; increase scientific and technological literacy; and communicate the results of NASA discovery, exploration, innovation and research

  3. Research Reports: 1997 NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karr, G. R. (Editor); Dowdy, J. (Editor); Freeman, L. M. (Editor)

    1998-01-01

    For the 33rd consecutive year, a NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program was conducted at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The program was conducted by the University of Alabama in Huntsville and MSFC during the period June 2, 1997 through August 8, 1997. Operated under the auspices of the American Society for Engineering Education, the MSFC program was sponsored by the Higher Education Branch, Education Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. The basic objectives of the program, which are in the 34th year of operation nationally, are: (1) to further the professional knowledge of qualified engineering and science faculty members; (2) to stimulate an exchange of ideas between participants and NASA; (3) to enrich and refresh the research and teaching activities of the participants' institutions; and (4) to contribute to the research objectives of the NASA centers. The Faculty Fellows spent 10 weeks at MSFC engaged in a research project compatible with their interests and background and worked in collaboration with a NASA/MSFC colleague. This document is a compilation of Fellows' reports on their research during the summer of 1997. The University of Alabama in Huntsville presents the Co-Directors' report on the administrative operations of the program. Further information can be obtained by contacting any of the editors.

  4. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Summer Faculty Fellowship Program: 1996. Volume 2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bannerot, Richard B. (Editor); Sickorez, Donn G. (Editor)

    1997-01-01

    The objectives of the program, which began nationally in 1964 and at JSC in 1965 are to (1) further the professional knowledge qualified engineering and science faculty members, (2) stimulate an exchange of ideas between participants and NASA, (3) and refresh the research and teaching activities of participants' institutions, and (4) contribute to the research objectives of NASA centers. Each faculty fellow spent at least 10 weeks at JSC engaged in a research project in collaboration with a NASA JSC colleague.

  5. Tissue grown in NASA Bioreactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Cells from kidneys lose some of their special features in conventional culture but form spheres replete with specialized cell microvilli (hair) and synthesize hormones that may be clinically useful. Ground-based research studies have demonstrated that both normal and neoplastic cells and tissues recreate many of the characteristics in the NASA bioreactor that they display in vivo. Proximal kidney tubule cells that normally have rich apically oriented microvilli with intercellular clefts in the kidney do not form any of these structures in conventional two-dimensional monolayer culture. However, when normal proximal renal tubule cells are cultured in three-dimensions in the bioreactor, both the microvilli and the intercellular clefts form. This is important because, when the morphology is recreated, the function is more likely also to be rejuvenated. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC).

  6. Tissue grown in NASA Bioreactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Cells from kidneys lose some of their special features in conventional culture but form spheres replete with specialized cell microvilli (hair) and synthesize hormones that may be clinically useful. Ground-based research studies have demonstrated that both normal and neoplastic cells and tissues recreate many of the characteristics in the NASA bioreactor that they display in vivo. Proximal kidney tubule cells that normally have rich apically oriented microvilli with intercellular clefts in the kidney do not form any of these structures in conventional two-dimensional monolayer culture. However, when normal proximal renal tubule cells are cultured in three-dimensions in the bioreactor, both the microvilli and the intercellular clefts form. This is important because, when the morphology is recreated, the function is more likely also to be rejuvenated. The work is sponsored by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research. The bioreactor is managed by the Biotechnology Cell Science Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC).

  7. NASA SBIR product catalog, 1990

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwenk, F. Carl; Gilman, J. A.

    1990-01-01

    Since 1983 the NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program has benefitted both the agency and the high technology small business community. By making it possible for more small businesses to participate in NASA's research and development, SBIR also provides opportunities for these entrepreneurs to develop products which may also have significant commercial markets. Structured in three phases, the SBIR program uses Phase 1 to assess the technical feasibility of novel ideas proposed by small companies and Phase 2 to conduct research and development on the best concepts. Phase 3, not funded by SBIR, is the utilization and/or commercialization phase. A partial list of products of NASA SBIR projects which have advanced to some degree into Phase 3 are provided with a brief description.

  8. Maximizing Science Return on Astrobiology and Planetary Missions Using Integrated Liquid-Handling Chemical Analysis Systems - A Status Report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Willis, P. A.; Mora, M. F.; Creamer, J. S.; Kehl, F.

    2016-10-01

    Our team has been developing all components required for liquid-based analysis on planetary missions. Here we summarize our progress in this area, and highlight enhancements to science return on NASA missions that these technologies could provide.

  9. What are Institutional Logics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Berg Johansen, Christina; Waldorff, Susanne Boch

    This study presents new insights into the explanatory power of the institutional logics perspective. With outset in a discussion of seminal theory texts, we identify two fundamental topics that frame institutional logics: overarching institutional orders guides by institutional logics, as well...

  10. NASA, Engineering, and Swarming Robots

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leucht, Kurt

    2015-01-01

    This presentation is an introduction to NASA, to science and engineering, to biologically inspired robotics, and to the Swarmie ant-inspired robot project at KSC. This presentation is geared towards elementary school students, middle school students, and also high school students. This presentation is suitable for use in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) outreach events. The first use of this presentation will be on Oct 28, 2015 at Madison Middle School in Titusville, Florida where the author has been asked by the NASA-KSC Speakers Bureau to speak to the students about the Swarmie robots.

  11. NASA Software Engineering Benchmarking Effort

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godfrey, Sally; Rarick, Heather

    2012-01-01

    Benchmarking was very interesting and provided a wealth of information (1) We did see potential solutions to some of our "top 10" issues (2) We have an assessment of where NASA stands with relation to other aerospace/defense groups We formed new contacts and potential collaborations (1) Several organizations sent us examples of their templates, processes (2) Many of the organizations were interested in future collaboration: sharing of training, metrics, Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) appraisers, instructors, etc. We received feedback from some of our contractors/ partners (1) Desires to participate in our training; provide feedback on procedures (2) Welcomed opportunity to provide feedback on working with NASA

  12. The NASA L3 Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stebbins, Robin

    2016-01-01

    The Astrophysics Implementation Plan calls for a minority role in L3, planned for launch in 2034. L3 The third large mission in ESAs Cosmic Visions 2015-2025 Programme NASA and ESA have been discussing a collaboration for 2 years Gravitational Observatory Advisory Team (GOAT) ESA study evaluating and recommend scientific performance tradeoffs, detection technologies, technology development activities, data analysis capabilities, schedule and cost US representatives: Guido Mueller, Mark Kasevich, Bill Klipstein, RTS Started in October 2014, concluding with a final report in late Marchor early April 2016. ESA solicited interest from ESA Member States in November 2015 NASA is continuing technology development support. ESA is restarting technology development activities.

  13. NASA Pathways Internship: Spring 2016

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez, Oscar, III

    2016-01-01

    I was selected to contribute to the Data Systems and Handling Branch under the Avionics Flight Systems Division at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. There I used my knowledge from school, as well as my job experience from the military, to help me comprehend my assigned project and contribute to it. With help from my mentors, supervisors, colleagues, and an excellent NASA work environment, I was able to learn, as well as accomplish, a lot towards my project. Not only did I understand more about embedded systems, microcontrollers, and low-level programming, I also was given the opportunity to explore the NASA community.

  14. NASA USRP Internship Final Report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Black, Jesse A.

    2010-01-01

    The purpose of this report is to describe the body of work I have produced as a NASA USRP intern in the spring 2010. My mentor during this time was Richard Birr and I assisted him with many tasks in the advanced systems group in the engineering design lab at NASA's Kennedy space center. The main priority was and scenario modeling for the FAA's next generation air traffic control system and also developing next generation range systems for implementation at Kennedy space center. Also of importance was the development of wiring diagrams for the portable communications terminal for the desert rats program.

  15. Assessing Student Attitudes Towards Science in an Adaptive Online Astrobiology Course: Comparing Online and On-Campus Undergraduates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buxner, S.; Perera, V.; Mead, C.; Horodyskyj, L.; Semken, S. C.; Lopatto, D.; Anbar, A. D.

    2016-12-01

    General-education Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses are considered essential to a college education, in part, to train students to think critically and to make informed decisions about complex scientific issues such as climate change and public health. Therefore, the goals of these STEM courses go beyond content knowledge to include generating positive attitudes towards science, developing competence in evaluating scientific information in everyday life, and understanding the nature of science. The Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) survey is frequently used to measure these attitudes, but it has not previously been used in an online, general education course. In this work, we administered the CURE survey for three semesters (N = 774) before and after completion of an online astrobiology course called Habitable Worlds. We compare students taking this course as part of fully-online degree programs (o-course) with those taking it as part of traditional undergraduate programs (i-course). More females and older students were among the o-course group, while overall the course had more white students than the Arizona State University average. Mean course grades were similar between the two groups but attitudes toward science differred significantly. O-course students began the course with more positive attitudes than i-course students, and o-course students also showed more positive changes at the end of the course. These differences suggest lesser intrinsic motivation among the i-course students. Additionally, pre-course attitudes correlated with final course grade for o-course students, but not for i-course students, which implies that success among o-course students is influenced by different factors than i-course students. Thus, effective student support strategies may differ for online-only students. Future work will include student interviews to better calibrate the CURE survey to online science courses.

  16. Astrobiological Journeys to and from the South Polar Sea of Enceladus - Bidirectional Interactions with the Saturn Magnetosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooper, John F.; Sittler, Edward C.; Lipatov, Alexander S.; Sturner, Steven J.

    2012-01-01

    The spectacularly cryovolcanic moon Enceladus is a major source of plasma for the Saturn magnetosphere via ionization of the ejected molecular species and ice grains. Field-aligned plasma flows from the Enceladus environment visibly impact the moon's magnetic footpoint in Saturn's polar auroral region, while water group and other ions from the moon emissions diffuse radially throughout the magnetosphere and may be the dominant source of oxygen for Titan's oxygen-poor upper atmosphere. But the moon-magnetosphere interaction is bidirectional in the sense that the moon surface is globally exposed to constant irradiation by the returning magnetospheric ions and by energetic electrons from the field-aligned and radially diffusing populations. The returning ion source operates both on global scales of the magnetosphere and locally for highly reactive species produced in the ejecta plume. All of these sources likely combine to produce a highly oxidized global surface layer. Since plasma electrons and ions are cooled by interaction with neutral gas and E-ring ice grains from Enceladus, the moon emissions have a governing effect on the seed populations of energetic particles that irradiate the surface. The proposed subsurface polar sea and transient crustal overturn in the south polar region could bring the polar surface oxidants into contact with hydrocarbons and ammonia to make oxidation product gases contributing to the cryovolcanic jets, a process first proposed by Cooper et al. (Plan. Sp. Sci., 2009). As has been previously suggested for Europa, the 'oxidants could contribute to enhanced astrobiological potential of Enceladus, perhaps even higher than for Europa where organic hydrocarbons have not yet been directly detected. Unlike Europa, Enceladus shows no sign of an oxygen-dominated exosphere that could otherwise be indicative of extreme surface and interior oxidation inhibiting the detectable survival and evolution of complex organics.

  17. Great Salt Lake halophilic microorganisms as models for astrobiology: evidence for desiccation tolerance and ultraviolet irradiation resistance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baxter, Bonnie K.; Eddington, Breanne; Riddle, Misty R.; Webster, Tabitha N.; Avery, Brian J.

    2007-09-01

    Great Salt Lake (GSL) is home to halophiles, salt-tolerant Bacteria and Archaea, which live at 2-5M NaCl. In addition to salt tolerance, GSL halophiles exhibit resistance to both ultraviolet (UV) irradiation and desiccation. First, to understand desiccation resistance, we sought to determine the diversity of GSL halophiles capable of surviving desiccation in either recently formed GSL halite crystals or GSL Artemia (brine shrimp) cysts. From these desiccated environments, surviving microorganisms were cultured and isolated, and genomic DNA was extracted from the individual species for identification by 16S rRNA gene homology. From the surface-sterilized cysts we also extracted DNA of the whole microbial population for non-cultivation techniques. We amplified the archaeal or bacterial 16S rRNA gene from all genomic DNA, cloned the cyst population amplicons, and sequenced. These sequences were compared to gene databases for determination of closest matched species. Interestingly, the isolates from the crystal dissolution are distinct from those previously isolated from GSL brine. The cyst population results reveal species not found in crystals or brine, and may indicate microorganisms that live as endosymbionts of this hypersaline arthropod. Second, we explored UV resistance in a GSL haloarchaea species, "H. salsolis." This strain resists UV irradiation an order of magnitude better than control species, all of which have intact repair systems. To test the hypothesis that halophiles have a photoprotection system, which prevents DNA damage from occurring, we designed an immunoassay to detect thymine dimers following UV irradiation. "H. salsolis" showed remarkable resistance to dimer formation. Evidence for both UV and desiccation resistance in these salt-tolerant GSL halophiles makes them well-suited as models for Astrobiological studies in pursuit of questions about life beyond earth.

  18. The Proposed Mars Astrobiology Explorer - Cacher [MAX-C] Rover: First Step in a Potential Sample Return Campaign

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, Carlton C.; Beaty, David W.

    2010-01-01

    Sample return from Mars has been advocated by numerous scientific advisory panels for over 30 years, most prominently beginning with the National Research Council s [1] strategy for the exploration of the inner solar system, and most recently by the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG s) Next Decade Science Analysis Group [2]. Analysis of samples here on Earth would have enormous advantages over in situ analyses in producing the data quality needed to address many of the complex scientific questions the community has posed about Mars. Instead of a small, predetermined set of analytical techniques, state of the art preparative and instrumental resources of the entire scientific community could be applied to the samples. The analytical emphasis could shift as the meaning of each result becomes better appreciated. These arguments apply both to igneous rocks and to layered sedimentary materials, either of which could contain water and other volatile constituents. In 2009 MEPAG formed the Mid-Range Rover Science Analysis Group (MRR-SAG) to formulate a mission concept that would address two general objectives: (1) conduct high-priority in situ science and (2) make concrete steps towards the potential return of samples to Earth. This analysis resulted in a mission concept named the Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher (MAX-C), which was envisioned for launch in the 2018 opportunity. After extensive discussion, this group concluded that by far the most definitive contribution to sample return by this mission would be to collect and cache, in an accessible location, a suite of compelling samples that could potentially be recovered and returned by a subsequent mission. This would have the effect of separating two of the essential functions of MSR, the acquisition of the sample collection and its delivery to martian orbit, into two missions.

  19. Assessing Attitudes Towards Science During an Adaptive Online Astrobiology Course: Comparing Online and On-Campus Undergraduates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perera, Viranga; Mead, Chris; Buxner, Sanlyn; Horodyskyj, Lev; Semken, Steven; Lopatto, David; Anbar, Ariel

    2016-10-01

    General-education Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses are accepted as essential to a college education. An often cited reason is to train a scientifically literate populace who can think critically and make informed decisions about complex issues such as climate change, health care, and atomic energy. Goals of these STEM courses, therefore, go beyond content knowledge to include generating positive attitudes towards science, developing competence in evaluating scientific information in everyday life and understanding the nature of science. To gauge if such non-content learning outcomes are being met in our course, an online astrobiology course called Habitable Worlds, we administered the Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) survey to students. The survey was administered before and after completion of the course for three semesters starting with the Fall 2014 semester and ending with the Fall 2015 semester (N = 774). A factor analysis indicated three factors on attitudes: toward science education, toward the interconnectedness of science with non-science fields, and toward the nature of science. Here we present some differences between students enrolled in online degree programs (o-course) and those enrolled in traditional undergraduate programs (i-course). While mean course grades were similar, changes in attitudes toward science differ significantly between o-course and i-course students. The o-course students began the course with more positive attitudes across all three factors than the i-course students. Their attitudes toward science education improved during the course, while the i-course students showed no change. Attitudes toward the other two factors declined in both populations during the course, but declines were smaller among o-course students. These differences may indicate lesser intrinsic motivation among the i-course students. The CURE survey has not been used before in an online course; therefore, we will

  20. Electronic structure of simple phosphorus containing molecules [C,xH,O,P] candidate for astrobiology (x=1, 3, 5).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lattelais, M; Pauzat, F; Pilmé, J; Ellinger, Y

    2008-04-21

    The present report is a prospective study aimed at finding phosphorus containing compounds for astrobiology. Since PN, PC and HCP are the only species detected so far, it was deemed reasonable to enlarge the quest for phosphorus compounds to mixed carbon oxygen containing compounds [C,xH,O,P] analogue to the CHON family. Ab initio Møller-Plesset (MP2), Coupled Cluster (CCSD(T)) and Density Functional Theory (DFT) were used. State of the art level of theory, CCSD(T)/cc-pVQZ, was necessary to show that CH3-PH2=O is the most stable isomer, with CH3-PH-OH close by in the [C,5H,O,P] sub-family. This structure has the same C-P-O connectivity as the most stable compound of the [C,3H,O,P] sub-family, CH3-P=O but differs from the simplest [C,H,O,P] system HP=C=O. Rotational constants B=7.1377 and C=6.0636 GHz associated with a dipole moment of 4.2 Debye together with an IR spectrum with very strong bands at 1214, 2282, 2264 and 1039 cm(-1) have been calculated for CH3-PH2=O. For CH3-P=O, one has B=7.9881 and C=6.4659 GHz, a dipole moment of 2.9 Debye and four IR bands at 1198, 623, 835, 1256 cm(-1) of medium intensity. The simplest HPCO system with B=5.5206 and 5.3952 GHz and a dipole moment of 0.8 Debye has only one very strong IR frequency at 2037 cm(-1). The above values should be precise enough to encourage laboratory experiments on these prototype molecules.