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  1. The Art of Yellowstone Science


    Image from <i>The Art of Yellowstone Science</i>. Credit: Tom Murphy Image credit: None
    Image from The Art of Yellowstone Science. Credit: Tom Murphy Image from <i>The Art of Yellowstone Science</i>. Credit: Tom Murphy Image credit: None
    Image from The Art of Yellowstone Science. Credit: Tom Murphy

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  1. Astrobiologia - Uma Ciência Emergente


    Published in August 2016 and authored by Douglas Galante, Evandro Pereira Da Silva, Fabio Rodrigues, Jorge Horvath, and Marcio De Avellar, Astrobiologia – Uma Ciência Emergente provides an introduction to astrobiology in Portuguese. The first issue gathers input from experts in different scientific areas and covers topics including research into the origins of life, the potentially habitable moons of our Solar System, and the discoveries of exoplanets.

    More information and a free download of the first issue of Astrobiologia – Uma Ciência Emergente is available at: http://www.tikinet.com.br/iag/.

    For more about astrobiology at the Universidade de ...

    Image credit: None

    Source: [University of São Paulo NAP-Astrobio]

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  1. NASA and the Navajo Nation


    Students and counselors from the NASA and the Navajo Nation project’s 2012 Summer Camp at Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Source: NASA Image credit: None
    Students and counselors from the NASA and the Navajo Nation project’s 2012 Summer Camp at Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Source: NASA

    The NASA and the Navajo Nation project is a collaboration between NASA, as led by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, and the Navajo Nation, as represented by numerous organizations including the Diné Bi Olta School Board Association, Navajo Technical University, and the Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education. The project was started in 2005, and over the past 12 years two educator guides have been co-developed that bring together cultural and scientific knowledge, as well as workshops for teachers and camps for students.

    A recent article in Indian Country Today details how the project got its start and shares the perspectives ...

    Source: [Indian Country Today]

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  1. Statement of Intent to Release a Cooperative Agreement Notice for the NASA Astrobiology Institute


    The NASA Science Mission Directorate Planetary Science Division intends to release a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) soliciting team-based proposals for membership in the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) in January 2017. Step 1 proposals will be due around March 15, 2017, and Step-2 proposals will be due in early June 2017.

    The NASA Astrobiology Institute was established in 1998 as an institution of scientific collaboration across disciplines, across organizations, and within and among its participating Teams irrespective of their geographic distribution. A large amount of reference material is available at the Institute’s website, http://nai.nasa.gov, which provides proposers with ...

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  1. Astrobiology Symposium: The Emergence of Life: On the Earth, in the Lab, and Elsewhere


    Image credit: None

    The John W. Kluge Center presents “The Emergence of Life: On the Earth, in the Lab, and Elsewhere,” an astrobiology symposium, on September 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    The emergence of life is among the most compelling questions in astrobiology. This symposium brings together scientists, humanists, and authors to explore what we know about the origins of life, how we came to know it, and what it means. Organized around the spaces in which we explore the origins of life—in terrestrial nature, in the laboratory, and on other planets—participants will each discuss ...

    Source: [Library of Congress]

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  1. Evening Launch Catapults OSIRIS-REx Toward Asteroid Encounter


    The Atlas V rocket launched successfully on September 8, 2016, carrying with it the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on the first US mission to sample an asteroid, retrieve at least two ounces of surface material, and return it to Earth for study. Source: NASA Image credit: None
    The Atlas V rocket launched successfully on September 8, 2016, carrying with it the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on the first US mission to sample an asteroid, retrieve at least two ounces of surface material, and return it to Earth for study. Source: NASA

    An Atlas V rocket traced a blazing arc into the Florida sky the evening of September 8, 2016 to send a small robotic explorer on its way to an asteroid on a mission that scientists anticipate will reveal answers to some of the basic questions about the solar system.

    “Tonight is a night for celebration, we are on the way to an asteroid,” said Ellen Stofan, NASA’s chief scientist. “We’re going to be answering some of the most fundamental questions that NASA works on.”

    Lifting off at 7:05 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 41 at ...

    Source: [NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida]

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  1. Opportunities and Obstacles for Life on Proxima B


    Source: Pale Red Dot Image credit:
    Source: Pale Red Dot

    The discovery of Proxima b is the biggest exoplanet discovery since the discovery of exoplanets. The planet is not much bigger than Earth and resides in the “habitable zone” of the Sun’s nearest stellar neighbor. This planet may represent humanity’s best chance to search for life among the stars. But is Proxima b habitable? Is it inhabited? These questions are impossible to answer at this time because we know so little about the planet. However, we can extrapolate from the worlds of our Solar System, as well as employ theoretical models of galactic, stellar, and planetary evolution, to ...

    Source: [Pale Red Dot]

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  1. Cataclysm at Meteor Crater: Crystal Sheds Light on Earth, Moon, and Mars


    New research at Meteor Crater shows extreme temperatures and pressures during the impact that created the crater 49,000 years ago. Image credit: Aaron Cavosie Image credit: None
    New research at Meteor Crater shows extreme temperatures and pressures during the impact that created the crater 49,000 years ago. Image credit: Aaron Cavosie

    In molten sandstone extracted by prospectors a century ago, an international team of scientists has discovered microscopic crystals telling of unimaginable pressures and temperatures when an asteroid formed Meteor Crater in northern Arizona some 49,000 years ago.

    The crystals, called zircons, have endured temperatures of 2,000 degrees Celsius or more, hot enough to melt any rock on Earth. In our planet’s crust, such temperatures occur only briefly inside impact zones, says Aaron Cavosie, a visiting professor in the Wisconsin Astrobiology Research Consortium at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

    Zircons are tiny, phenomenally stable crystals that can persist ...

    Source: [University of Wisconsin-Madison]

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  1. Before Animals, Evolution Waited Eons to Inhale


    Earliest animals evolved in the mid to late Proterozoic Eon and lie deep in the fossil record. Depicted in the photo is an example of the Pteridinium genus. Credit: Douglas Erwin / National Museum of Natural History Image credit: None
    Earliest animals evolved in the mid to late Proterozoic Eon and lie deep in the fossil record. Depicted in the photo is an example of the Pteridinium genus. Credit: Douglas Erwin / National Museum of Natural History

    Evolution may have been waiting for a decent breath of oxygen, said researcher Chris Reinhard. And that was hard to come by. His research team is tracking down O2 concentrations in oceans, where earliest animals evolved.

    By doing so, they have jumped into the middle of a heated scientific debate on what rising oxygen did, if anything, to charge up evolutionary eras. Reinhard, a geochemist from the Georgia Institute of Technology, is shaking up conventional thinking with the help of computer modeling.

    That thinking goes like this: “Atmospheric oxygen had a value of ‘x’ back then, and so we just ...

    Source: [Georgia Tech]

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  1. Implications of the Discovery of Proxima b


    Artist's impression of the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser Image credit:
    Artist's impression of the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

    The discovery of the new Earth-sized planet candidate in the habitable zone of the star Proxima Centauri, a little more than four light-years away, was announced by ESO on August 24, 2016. The press release followed weeks of speculation and was itself followed by a great deal of excitement. The research paper on the finding has now been published in Nature.

    To date, Proxima b is the closest exoplanet to us within a Goldilocks zone, putting it in a prime location for future observations, though whether the planet is actually habitable or possesses any other Earth-like qualities is still uncertain ...

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  1. New Icy Worlds Website


    Image credit: None

    The NASA Astrobiology Institute team at Jet Propulsion Laboratory have launched their new website! The Icy Worlds site (https://icyworlds.jpl.nasa.gov/) presents news, multimedia, videos detailing their research investigations, and more. Discover what’s happening in astrobiology at the water-rock interface.

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  1. Astrobiology Primer v2.0 Released


    The long awaited second edition of the Astrobiology Primer has been published in the journal Astrobiology, and is available to download!

    This version is an update of the Primer originally published in 2006 by graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who wanted to provide a comprehensive introduction to the field. The 2016 version contains revised content that addresses the definition of life in scientific research, the origins of planets and planetary systems, the evolution and interactions of life on Earth, habitability on worlds beyond Earth, the search for life, and the overall implications of the astrobiology research. The Primer is intended ...

    Source: [Astrobiology]

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  1. 2016 Selections for the NASA Astrobiology Postdoctoral Program Fellowship


    Congratulations to the recipients of the March 2016 NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellowships in astrobiology!

    Alan Heays
    Advisor: James Lyons, (Arizona State University, Exobiology)
    Topic: “Explaining isotope fractionation of sulphur in the Archean atmosphere”

    Baptiste Journaux
    Advisor: J. Michael Brown/Steve Vance (University of Washington, NAI NASA JPL Icy Worlds team)
    Topic: “Comprehensive thermodynamics of aqueous solutions and ice for understanding the habitability of extraterrestrial oceans”

    Edward Wade Schwieterman
    Advisor: Timothy Lyons (NAI University of California, Riverside team)
    Topic: “Visualizing alternative Earths through time and space”

    Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert
    Advisor: Jan Amend (NAI University of Southern California team)
    Topic: “Stable Isotope ...

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  1. Dissolved Organic Carbon in the High Arctic


    A team of researchers studying samples from streams in the High Arctic has uncovered the lowest values measured thus far for stable carbon isotopic composition of dissolved organic matter (δ13C-DOC) in surface waters. When studying dissolved organic matter in environmental samples, scientists look at its stable carbon isotopic composition in order to learn about where the organic matter came from, and the extent to which it was processed by living organisms.

    The new study outlines how biological activity has a significant impact on water chemistry in the streams, and indicates that environments with low amounts of dissolved organic carbon ...

    Source: [Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences]

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  1. Astrobiology Chair Nathaniel Comfort Discusses the RNA World with Pioneering Scientists


    Nathaniel Comfort, Walter Gilbert, W. Ford Doolittle, Ray Gesteland, and George E. Fox discuss the origins of the RNA World hypothesis at the Kluge Center. The webcast was recorded March 17, 2016. Source: <a href="http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=7353">Library of Congress</a> Image credit: None
    Nathaniel Comfort, Walter Gilbert, W. Ford Doolittle, Ray Gesteland, and George E. Fox discuss the origins of the RNA World hypothesis at the Kluge Center. The webcast was recorded March 17, 2016. Source: Library of Congress

    Back in March 2016, science historian and current Blumberg Chair in Astrobiology, Dr. Nathaniel Comfort, led a program at the Kluge Center entitled “The Origins of the RNA World,” bringing into the conversation four scientists involved in the pivotal shift in origins of life research: Dr. Walter Gilbert, Dr. W. Ford Doolittle, Dr. Ray Gesteland, and Dr. George E. Fox. The webcast is available for streaming.

    Comfort later spoke with Dan Turello at the Library of Congress, touching on the history of the RNA World hypothesis, its influence on current research on the last universal common ancestor (LUCA), and how ...

    Source: [Library of Congress]

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