1. The NASA Astrobiology Institute Concludes Its 20-year Tenure

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    The NASA Astrobiology Program has announced a bold new structure to mobilize the astrobiology community towards both impacting future NASA space missions and answering the fundamental questions of; How does life begin and evolve? Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? How do we search for life in the Universe? This new approach includes a system of virtual collaboration consisting of “Research Coordination Networks” (RCNs). These RCNs are designed to enable the research community to self-organize, collaborate, communicate, and network across organizational, divisional, and geographical boundaries. This new structure will be replacing the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) as the primary mechanism to integrate the astrobiology community, and therefore the NAI will be completing its more than 20-year tenure on December 31, 2019.

    We would like to thank everyone who made these first two-decades of astrobiology a period of such tremendous excitement, passion, and accomplishment: to the community of researchers for their continuous creativity and drive, to the students for their endless energy and optimism, to the public for listening to our message and recognizing its significance, to those at NASA who conceived of and supported the Institute and its mission, and finally to all those many individuals who were privileged to work at NAI Central and participate in this grand journey that is astrobiology.

    Looking forward, we invite and encourage everyone seeking to engage with the now-maturing field of astrobiology to do so through the NASA Astrobiology Program (https://astrobiology.nasa.gov). For researchers, comprehensive information about the 2015 Astrobiology Strategy, the Research Coordination Networks, and funding opportunities is available under Astrobiology@NASA. Many elements of the NAI, especially those programs supporting students and early-career investigators, will continue to be accessible and well-supported through the efforts of the NASA Astrobiology Program. An archived non-interactive version of the NAI website will be also be maintained at its website.

    Per aspera ad astra