2009 Annual Science Report

Arizona State University Reporting  |  JUL 2008 – AUG 2009

EPO Activity: EPO: ASU Astrobiology Community Building

Project Progress

An informal Astrobiology Forum (also known as the Coffee Hour) for team members, interested faculty, staff and students and visitors was held every Wednesday from 9:30-10:30 am, February – June 2009, and then again beginning at the end of August, 2009. This venue was used to present papers and research ideas for discussion, including presentations by visiting scientists, as well as for informal coordination discussions. Organized discussion dates and leaders included:

February 4, 2009 – Dante Lauretta (University of Arizona)
February 18, 2009 – Brian Fields (University of Illinois)
March 18, 2009 – James Kasting (Penn State University)
March 25, 2009 – Barbara Sherwood-Lollar (University of Toronto)
April 1, 2009 – Susan Brantley (Penn State University)
April 8, 2009 – Ron Oremland (USGS)
April 15, 2009 – Paul Davies (ASU)
May 6, 2009 – Jess Corman (ASU)
May 20, 2009 – Ariel Anbar (ASU)
August 27, 2009 – Everett Shock (ASU)

The Astrobiology Program also sponsored a number of speakers as part of the formal Colloquium series in the School of Earth & Space Exploration, held at 4 pm on Wednesdays, and other seminar series, through the spring semester. Several of these speakers participated in the Wednesday Astrobiology Forums. These colloquia and seminars included:

January 21, 2009 – Ariel Anbar – Follow the Elements: an Astrobiology Town Hall
February 18, 2009 – Brian Fields (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), When supernovae attack!!!!!!
March 18, 2009 – James Kasting (Penn State), The climate of early Mars
March 25, 2009 – Barbara Sherwood Lollar (University of Toronto), Tracers in the deep: hydrogeologic controls on release of H2 energy for deep subsurface life
April 1, 2009 – Susan Brantley (Penn State), Bedrock to soil: where rock meets life in the weathering engine
April 8, 2009 – Bryan Butler (National Radio Astronomy Observatory — NRAO), The future of planetary science at long wavelengths — ALMA and the EVLA
April 8, 2009 – Ron Oremland (USGS, Menlo Park), The ecology of arsenic: A lurid tale of murder, mayhem, mobilization in malodorous mono muds, microbes, mars and minimal methane
April 10, 2009 – Ariel Anbar (ASU), Elements and evolution (seminar in the School of Life Sciences)
April 20, 2009 – Stuart Shaklan (JPL), The SIM light instrument: The culmination of 20 years of technical development

In addition to the Colloquia and forums, an “All Hands Jamboree” team retreat was held at Saguaro Lake Ranch, Mesa, Arizona on May 15, 2009. 55 team members and representatives from NAI Headquarters met to review project developments in each of the three focus areas, brainstorm ideas for the six and 12 month benchmarks, and discuss EPO projects.

An ASU astrobiology mailing list, open to all interested parties, was established to advertise these and other events. ASUGAIA@asu.edu (GAIA = Group Allegedly Interested in Astrobiology)