1. Astrobiology Australasia

    Martin Van Kranendonk, Director of the Australian Center for Astrobiology, doing field work in the Pilbara. Source: Eben Rose (via Astrobiology at NASA) Image credit: None
    Martin Van Kranendonk, Director of the Australian Center for Astrobiology, doing field work in the Pilbara. Source: Eben Rose (via Astrobiology at NASA)

    Australia and New Zealand are hot spots for astrobiology, with ongoing research into the origin of life and upcoming events this summer.

    The Astrobiology Australasia Meeting 2018 (AAM 2018), organized by the New Zealand Astrobiology Network (NZAN) and the Australian Centre for Astrobiology (ACA), will be held June 25-26, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand, with abstracts due April 30. More information on the meeting is available at http://astrobiology.nz/aam2018.

    As a part of AAM2018, the ACA is gearing up for another Astrobiology Grand Tour. The July 2-11, 2018 trip guides participants through key sites in Western Australia, providing a unique opportunity to swim among stromatolites in Shark Bay, camp in Karijini National Park, examine ancient fossilized evidence of life in Pilbara Craton, and more.

    More details on the ACA and the research happening in Australia are highlighted at the Astrobiology at NASA website.

    Excerpted from the story by Nola Taylor Redd:

    The brutal deserts of Australia may not be the first place you think of when you want to study life. Yet this harsh environment has helped propel the Australian Center for Astrobiology (ACA) to the forefront of its field by maintaining records of the youthful environment of our world and providing a stand-in for Martian exploration.

    “Australia is host to what is arguably the best preserved, most complete record of early Earth, including some of the oldest evidence for life on our planet,” says geologist and astrobiologist Martin Van Kranendonk, head of the ACA.

    More information on past activities and events of the ACA is available at: https://nai.nasa.gov/international-partners/australian-centre-astrobiology/.

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    Related Stories:
    Recap of the 2015 Western Australia Astrobiology Grand Tour