1. Recap of the 2015 Western Australia Astrobiology Grand Tour

    Overhead shot of Shark Bay. Source: ACA/UNSW. Image credit:
    Overhead shot of Shark Bay. Source: ACA/UNSW.

    NASA Astrobiology Institute Field Trip Scholarship recipients Giada Arney, Marisol Juarez Rivera and Shaunna Morrison took part in the Western Australia Astrobiology Grand Tour, an eleven-day field trip where participants discovered the unique geography, molluscs and microbial life of Shark Bay, trekked through the iron-rich landscape of the Pilbara—analogous to Martian terrain—to study the banded iron formation of Mount Tom Price and ancient gorges of Karijini National Park, investigated fossils, camped under the stars, and more. The tour was led by Malcolm Walter, professor of astrobiology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and founding director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology (ACA), one of NAI’s International Partners.

    The scholarship recipients provided an engaging report full of details and images, available at: http://nai.nasa.gov/media/medialibrary/2016/01/Australiareport_Final.pdf

    The shells of bivalve molluscs able to survive in the salty waters of Hamelin Bay. Source: ACA/UNSW. Image credit:
    The shells of bivalve molluscs able to survive in the salty waters of Hamelin Bay. Source: ACA/UNSW.

    The tour was organized by ACA and UNSW. The first Australian Grand Tour took place in 2013 as a way to take researchers, educators, and students to sites that “every astrobiologist or geobiologist should see at least once in their lives” to enrich their teaching and research. More information on the tours and other ACA events can be found at their website.

    Gallery Hill in the Pilbara. Source: ACA/UNSW. Image credit:
    Gallery Hill in the Pilbara. Source: ACA/UNSW.

    Source: [NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI)]