1. Life Underground Available for Downloading

    Life Underground, a game developed by the Game Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California, takes players on a journey into the depths and extremes of the Earth, and it’s available to download!

    From Game Innovation Lab:
    “The Life Underground game is an interactive outreach experience for 7th and 8th grade classrooms. The goal is for students to visualize microscopic life at a range of terrestrial and extraterrestrial subsurface conditions. Students take the role of a young scientist investigating extreme subsurface environments for microbial life. They will navigate through extreme conditions, including those of temperature, pressure, acidity, and energy ...

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  1. Ocean Worlds: Water in the Solar System and Beyond

    The Ocean Worlds NASA website provides a cool online reference for learning all about the history and presence of water in our Solar System and beyond.


    From the website:
    The story of oceans is the story of life. Oceans define our home planet, covering the majority of Earth’s surface and driving the water cycle that dominates our land and atmosphere. But more profound still, the story of our oceans envelops our home in a far larger context that reaches deep into the universe and places us in a rich family of ocean worlds ...

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  1. Europa: Ocean World

    In the video produced by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA-JPL astrobiologist Kevin Hand explains why scientists are so excited about the potential of this ice-covered world to answer one of humanity’s most profound questions.

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  1. Astrobiobound! The Search for Life in the Solar System

    Astrobiobound, a part of the Mars Education at Arizona State University program sponsored by NASA, gives middle and high school students an opportunity to take a crack at planning an astrobiology-specific NASA science mission to Mars, helping them to learn how science and systems engineering play a part in achieving their goal.

    Lesson materials are available for download at https://marsed.mars.asu.edu/lesson-plans/astrobiobound.

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  1. Astrobiology Graphic History Issue #5

    Issue #5 of the ongoing Astrobiology graphic history series dives into the study of life on Mars through analog locations found on Earth, with special appearances made by real life astrobiologists. The issue is available for download as both a high-resolution PDF and a PDF for mobile devices.

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  1. The Search for the Origin of Life

    Image: PBS LearningMedia Image: PBS LearningMedia

    The Search for the Origin of Life, a documentary by Devon Riter and Daniel Schmidt, follows NASA Astrobiology Institute scientists as they explore the question: How did life on our planet begin? Their research takes them all around the globe and into extreme environments, from arctic glaciers to thermal hot springs to deep into caves. They The program originally aired on PBS and is also now available for viewing through the MontanaPBS website.

    PBS LearningMedia provides teaching resources to accompany the program.

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  1. Super Earths and Life: A New Online Course from HarvardX

    Super-Earths And Life is a course offered by HarvardX about alien life, how we search for it, and what this teaches us about our place in the universe.

    In the past decade astronomers have made incredible advances in the discovery of planets outside our solar system. Thirty years ago, we knew only of the planets in our own solar system. Now we know of thousands circling nearby stars.

    Meanwhile, biologists have gained a strong understanding of how life evolved on our own planet, all the way back to the earliest cells. We can describe how simple molecules can assemble themselves ...

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  1. Kepler Exoplanet Travel Posters

    Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

    New from the PlanetQuest group at JPL, these gorgeous posters depict images of travel to worlds orbiting stars other than our own Sun! Just as mid-century travel posters enticed would-be travelers to exotic locales such as the islands of the Caribbean and South Pacific, we are similarly beckoned to consider places beyond our imagination – beyond our Solar System!

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  1. Light Beyond the Bulb

    2015 International Year of Light. Background Image: Image Credit: Marek Mís 2015 International Year of Light. Background Image: Image Credit: Marek Mís

    A new international exhibition, LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb, has been launched to celebrate the 2015 International Year of Light.

    Together with SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics), the Chandra X-ray Center/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory are leading Light: Beyond the Bulb for the International Year of Light 2015 (IYL2015). LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb is a cornerstone project for the International Astronomical Union. IYL2015 was declared by the United Nations and is supported by UNESCO.

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  1. New Astrobiology Online Course in Spanish

    The Spanish Network of Planetology and Astrobiology (REDESPA) has just opened registration for a new online course in Spanish called Planetology and Astrobiology.

    This multidisciplinary course will cover the diversity of astrobiological subjects from different disciplines (geology, chemistry, physics, astrophysics, biology and science communication/networks). At this first stage, the course will be given in Spanish and It covers around 100 teaching hours, comprising three modules and 18 Thematic Units.

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  1. HabWorlds Beyond: A New Type of Online Course

    Smart Sparrow and NAI-funded researchers and educators at Arizona State University announce the launch of a new type of online course! HabWorlds Beyond is a platform that lets educators create rich, interactive and adaptive learning experiences. It teaches students about space exploration, climate science, and the search for life on other planets. Centered on one of the most profound questions in science – does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? HabWorlds Beyond uses game-like simulations to expose students to the thought processes and practice of science in a fun and engaging way.

    HabWorlds Beyond stems from Habitable Worlds – ASU Online’s ...

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  1. Astrobiology on NOVA

    Take a spectacular trip to distant realms of our solar system to discover where life may exist on other worlds! Combining the latest telescope images with dazzling animation, this NOVA TV program immerses audiences in the sights and sounds of alien worlds, while top astrobiologists explain how these places are changing how we think about the potential for life in our solar system.

    Short video clips and classroom materials accompany the film online.

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  1. Science Fiction Stories with Good Astronomy & Physics

    Prof. Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College) has compiled a selective list of short stories and novels that use more or less accurate science and can be used for teaching or reinforcing astronomy or physics concepts. He has included both traditional “science-fiction” and (occasionally) more serious fiction that derives meaning or plot from astronomy or physics ideas.

    This edition of the guide includes over 270 stories organized into more than 40 topical categories. For the first time, it gives the URLs for a number of stories that are available free on the Web. All the listed stories could be used for class ...

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  1. Exoplanet Education Guide

    Artist's conception of an exoplanet. Art by Karen Teramura. Artist's conception of an exoplanet. Art by Karen Teramura.

    The discovery and characterization of exoplanets is one of the most exciting and fast-changing areas in modern astronomical research. As a result, Astronomy 101 instructors have had trouble keeping up with the flow of new techniques, instruments and discoveries. To help, NASA missions, educational projects around the country, and scientists themselves have produced a wide range of materials that astronomy instructors (and their students) can use to learn about the latest developments. This annotated guide is designed to highlight useful materials on the web and in print. It was produced ...

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  1. Extrem-O-Philes in the Classroom!

    Two cards from the activity. Credit: ASU Two cards from the activity. Credit: ASU

    This hands-on/minds-on lesson can engage learners in a variety of settings, showing them how scientists use Earth-based bacteria to investigate the potential for lilfe on Mars.

    Working in teams, students gain knowledge about the various types of extremophiles found on Earth and use that information to correlate to Mars’ environmental conditions, both past and present. Students will then determine the most likely and interesting landing site candidates for future Mars exploration, specific to searching for potential extremophiles.

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  1. Big Picture Science Radio Show

    Join Seth Shostak and his guests over the airwaves for one hour every Friday (or anytime via podcast) and you’ll be glad you did! The Big Picture Science radio show, produced by the SETI Institute, takes listeners on a journey with modern science research through lively and intelligent storytelling. A special astrobiology collection is available.

    What came before the Big Bang? How does memory work? Will our descendants be human or machine? What’s the origin of humor? We ponder these questions daily … and expound on them weekly.

    Big Picture Science takes on big questions by interviewing leading researchers and ...

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  1. Astrobiology Math

    Interested in using astrobiology to teach math? Already teaching astrobiology and want to bring in some math problem sets? This resource is for you! The Astrobiology Math booklet was developed by Dr. Sten Odenwald at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center as part of the Space Math at NASA project.

    The booklet contains 75 problems, introducing many topics in astrobiology. It covers concepts in evolution, the detection of extra-solar planets, habitability, Drake’s Equation, and the properties of planets such as temperature and distance from their star.

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  1. Astrobiology Graphic History - Issue #4!

    Panels from Astrobiology: The Story of our Search for Life in the Universe, Issue #4. Credit: NASA Astrobiology Panels from Astrobiology: The Story of our Search for Life in the Universe, Issue #4. Credit: NASA Astrobiology

    The fourth issue of the Astrobiology Graphic History book is now available! Download the digital version here (or the mobile-optimized version here)!

    Issue #4 maintains the gorgeous look and feel of the series, and continues the captivating story of Exo and Astrobiology. This installment explores astrobiology’s role in missions to the outer Solar System. See how science helped shape the exploration of gas giants and icy worlds beyond our system’s main asteroid belt.

    While spacecraft plied the distant corners of ...

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  1. NOVA: Alien Planets Revealed

    NOVA has just released a new special focusing on Kepler, the discovery and characterization of exoplanets, and astrobiology in general. Click here for more information and to stream the video.

    It’s a golden age for planet hunters: NASA’s Kepler mission has identified more than 3,500 potential planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun. Some of them, like a planet called Kepler-22b, might even be able to harbor life. How did we come upon this distant planet?

    Combining startling animation with input from expert astrophysicists and astrobiologists, Alien Planets Revealed takes viewers on a journey along with the Kepler telescope ...

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  1. A Needle in Countless Haystacks

    Out of billions of galaxies and billions of stars, how do we find Earth-like habitable worlds? What is essential to support life as we know it? In this TED Ed video, astrobiologist Ariel Anbar provides a checklist for finding life on other planets.

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  1. Life in Ice Video

    In this edition of Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, Montana State’s John Priscu from NAI’s Icy Worlds team discusses how life under two and a half miles of ice in the Antarctic is providing clues to how life might exist on Europa. The clip begins at roughly 6:40, right after the mentally-controlled skateboard!

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  1. Is Anyone Else Out There?

    Join John Delano for a new astrobiology talk from TEDx Albany entitled, Is Anyone Else Out There? A survey of astrobiology research topics masterfully conveyed as a “story of us,” the talk ranges from the manufacture of organic molecules in space to extrasolar planets, to hyperthermophilichemolithoautotrophs!

    Dr. Delano is a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University at Albany (State University of New York), and is the Associate Director of the NAI’s New York Center for Astrobiology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is the author of 60 scientific publications, and has served ...

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  1. Titan Poster

    Features on Titan such as volcanoes, sand dunes, lakes, and a nitrogen-rich atmosphere are analogous to those on Earth. The NASA/ESA Cassini mission discovered that Titan’s lakes are filled with liquid hydrocarbons, making this moon of Saturn the only body in the Solar System beyond Earth known to have liquid on its surface.

    You can now display images of this intriguing world in your classroom, office, or home! In addition to the beautiful image on the front of the poster, there are lesson plans and background reading on the back. The poster and supplemental materials are available for ...

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  1. Podcasts about the Rise of Complex Life on Earth

    In the first podcast produced through the NAI MIT team, journey back in time to learn about Ediacaran Fauna, a diverse group of organisms that lived in the world’s oceans about 580 million years ago. We’ll meet Dickinsonia rex, a sort of living bathmat without eyes or a mouth, and other strange denizens of the primordial slimebed. In the second podcast, we hear the story of how some fascinating fossils helped turn a devastated community around after the closure of the cod fishery in Newfoundland.

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  1. Planet Quest: A Historic Timeline of the Search for Other Worlds

    NASA’s Planet Quest website presents a Historic Timeline of the search for other worlds. The Timeline is a continuously updated Flash interactive that records 2,000 years of milestones in the search for exoplanets, done in a rich visual style. It serves as a primary source for members of the general public looking for information on the history of exoplanets, as well as for teachers in classrooms, educators in museums and science centers, and even scientists looking to round out their next talk!

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  1. Webquest: The First Animals?

    The NAI Advent of Complex Life Team at MIT has produced self-contained education activities that can be used to help teachers address specific parts of the National Science Education Standards.  These educational activities are known as 'webquests,’ since most of the research is obtained using the Internet. The activities are supplemented by resources created by the team. The first webquest covers fossil evidence of the earliest known animal life on Earth, and asks students to learn more about the geological period of time known as the Ediacaran in order explores issues surrounding preservation of scientific discoveries vs. economic development ...

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  1. ICE in the Solar System

    Exploring Ice in the Solar System is a series of lessons for K-5 classrooms developed by the NAI Carnegie Institution of Washington Team and the NASA MESSENGER mission. Twelve lessons span topics from ice in everyday life, to exploring ice in the polar regions of Earth, to icy places on Mars and Europa, to life in ice. Each standards-aligned lesson consists of substantive background information, inquiry-based activities, teaching tips, resources, a photo gallery, and strategies for differentiated instruction and evaluation.

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  1. Astrobiology Rap!

    Tune in to this you tube video produced by Oort Kuiper in 2008 for a six-minute journey through astrobiology!

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  1. Podcast Gives Introduction to Astrobiology

    Tune into the latest from Omega Tau, a wide-reaching podcast series from Stuttgart, Germany, for an interview with NAI’s Director Carl Pilcher. He gives a great introduction to the NAI, astrobiology, and the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

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  1. NOVA ScienceNOW - Hunt for Alien Earths

    NOVA’s ScienceNOW series, hosted by Neil de Grasse Tyson, has just released a new episode called Hunt for Alien Earths which is devoted to the work of astronomers who search for planets orbiting other stars that might host life. Astrobiologists Lisa Kaltenegger, David Charbonneau, and Geoff Marcy are featured in this beautifully produced, twelve minute video.

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  1. Astrobiology, To the Best of Our Knowledge

    Today on WAMC’s radio program To The Best Of Our Knowledge, NAI Principal Investigator Doug Whittet talks about astrobiology, and the ongoing research and education activities of his New York Center for Astrobiology (NYCA), seated at RPI. This interview sets up future programs featuring staff scientists and guest lecturers at the NYCA.

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  1. Timetree of Life

    Scientists and non-scientists now have easy access to information about when living species and their ancestors originated, information that previously was difficult to find or inaccessible. Free access to the information is part of the new Timetree of Life initiative developed by NAI’s Blair Hedges, professor of biology with the Penn State Astrobiology Research Center, and Sudhir Kumar, a professor of life sciences at Arizona State University.

    The Timetree of Life project debuted with the simultaneous release of a book titled The Timetree of Life (Oxford University Press), which is written by a consortium of 105 experts on specific groups ...

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  1. Invisible Yellowstone

    Research conducted in Yellowstone National Park by astrobiologists from NAI’s Montana State Team is highlighted in the 30-minute film Invisible Yellowstone, produced by MSU’s Thermal Biology Institute and MSU’s Science and Natural History filmmaking program. The film is available on DVD by contacting Daniella Scalice at daniella.m.scalice@nasa.gov

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  1. Virtual Field Trip to Western Australia

    Visit the Mars analogue sites in Western Australia without leaving home!

    Within the virtual field trip application, users are taken from a global view directly down to a surface view of a site. They are then seamlessly placed into a 360 degree spherical virtual reality surface panorama of that location. Next users navigate around the site selecting various objects and scientists to learn more about how and why this site was chosen, how it relates to Mars, and why it is of interest.

    The environment consists of various linked 360 degree spherical stitched virtual reality environments, 3D based layered environments ...

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  1. Life on Earth....and Elsewhere?

    This booklet, originally produced by NAI in 2000 and updated in 2007, contains five inquiry- and standards-based classroom activities for grades 5-8 and three math extensions spanning topics from Defining Life, to Determining the Chances of Extraterrestrial Life.

    One of the activities, What Makes a World Habitable? utilizes Habitability Cards to investigate the possibility of life elsewhere in the Solar System.

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  1. micro*scope

    The study of microbial communities is essential if we are to understand and manage the world around us, and such studies prepare us for the exploration for life on other planets. micro*scope has images of microbes, classification schemes, descriptions of organisms, talks, and other educational resources to improve awareness of the biodiversity of our microbial partners.

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  1. Astrobiology Education Poster

    With gorgeous graphics, supporting background reading, and three inquiry- and standards-based, field tested activities, this poster is a great addition to any middle or high school classroom. It explores the connection between extreme environments on Earth, and potentially habitable environments elsewhere in the Solar System.

    Astrobiology Education Poster small (PDF) large (PDF)

    Science Background Text (PDF)

    Activity 1 Life: What is it? Where is it? (PDF)

    Activity 1 Student Handout (PDF)
    Activity 1 Handout Image 1 (JPG) (PDF)
    Activity 1 Handout Image 2 (JPG) (PDF)
    Activity 1 Handout Image 3 (JPG) (PDF)
    Activity 1 Handout Image 4 (JPG) (PDF)
    Activity ...

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  1. Yellowstone National Park Guide to Life in Extreme Heat

    Chapter 4 of the Yellowstone Resources and Issues Guide, called Life in Extreme Heat, describes thermophiles, their habitats in the Park, and their relationship to both the history of life on Earth, and the search for life elsewhere. The Guide is used to train Park naturalists and rangers, and it can also serve as a valuable resource when teaching about extremophiles and astrobiology in the classroom. Chapter 4 can be downloaded from this website.

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  1. Voyages Through Time

    Voyages Through Time (VTT) is an integrated science curriculum for ninth or tenth grade based on the theme of evolution and delivered on CD-ROM. It’s six modules span the breadth of astrobiology research, from cosmic evolution through the evolution of life, and beyond. In VTT, evolution is defined as cumulative change over time that occurs in all realms of the natural world. The evolutionary scope of VTT is billions of years long and ranges from the Big Bang to modern technologies.

    The overarching goals for VTT are for students to understand:

    Evolution as cumulative changes over time;
    The various processes ...

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  1. Looking for Life TV Documentary

    NAI scientists and their international partners are featured in a new documentary called Looking for Life which has aired both on PBS and NASA-TV. The program highlights cutting edge field work in the arid Western Australian desert, an acidic river in Spain, high altitude lakes in the Bolivian Andes, and the permafrost within an old gold mine in the Canadian Arctic where astrobiologists are characterizing the unique habitats and survival mechanisms of life on Earth, and laying the groundwork for the search for life on other planets. Please contact Daniella Scalice at NAI if you are interested in using this ...

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  1. Astrobiology, An Integrated Approach

    TERC has developed a middle and high school curriculum that stimulates student learning and participation with intriguing questions and illuminating activities. Astrobiology, by its very nature, kindles interest and curiosity in students and offers a genuinely exciting entrée to high school science. The yearlong curriculum is an inquiry-based, interdisciplinary program of study. Through a series of hands-on activities, students explore diverse concepts in chemistry, physics, biology, and Earth and space science. These concepts are truly integrated—there are no artificial divisions of scientific disciplines.

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  1. Take a Ride Through a Microbial Mat!

    What would it be like to actually be inside a microbial mat? Take a ride on the Stromatolite Explorer as it explores the layers and interactions within a mat. The animated short (7 minute) video, Stromatolite Explorer, uses computer animation and video microscopy to take you on an imaginary tour inside a microbial mat.

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  1. Microbes@NASA

    Microbes@NASA is a website loaded with fantastic teaching tools for educators about microbial mats and why NASA is interested in them. Explore the site for a photo gallery, interactive web features in which students can conduct remote experiments on a real microbial mat in a NASA laboratory, numerous classroom activities, and a 7 minute animated film taking you for a ride through a microbial mat (teacher guide included).

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  1. Astrobiology Book for Young Readers

    Lerner Publishing Group has published a new Cool Science title for 4-8th grade readers called Astrobiology. From early imaginings about life on the Moon to modern observations of Mars, Europa, and Titan, this book gives an easy to follow, historical context for the search for life elsewhere.

    The book’s author, Dr. Fred Bortz, engages students directly through school visits and other events.

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  1. Exploring Deep Subsurface Life

    Exploring Deep Subsurface Life Workbook and DVD teaching materials focus on research sites at Harmony Gold Mine in South Africa, and Lupin Gold Mine and High Lake Mine in Nunavut Territory, Canada. The workbook’s imagery invites the audience into the mine sites, and the lessons correspond to the astrobiology research carried out in the deep subsurface. The video and animation materials support and compliment the lessons in the workbook and introduce the scientists.

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  1. Explore Saturn's Moon Titan

    New imagery and data from NASA’s Cassini-Huygens mission have “lifted the veil” enshrouding Saturn’s moon Titan, revealing what lies beneath its dense atmosphere. Explore this visually stunning, interactive, multimedia web feature for an overview of the mission, a comparison of Earth and Titan, a 3D globe of Titan, and the latest images from Cassini.

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  1. Microbial Life Educational Resources

    Microbial Life is a freely accessible digital library dedicated to the diversity, ecology, and evolution of the microbial world. Engage students with hands-on activities and other curriculum-based resources that cover topics such as astrobiology, bioinformatics, extremophiles, and the microbes of marine environments.

    The site contains a variety of educational and supporting materials for students and teachers of microbiology. You will find information about microorganisms, extremophiles and extreme habitats, as well as links to online information about the ecology, diversity and evolution of micro-organisms for students, K-12 teachers, university faculty, and the general public.

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  1. Explore Saturn's Moon Enceladus

    This web interactive from NASA’s Cassini mission features dazzling new imagery of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. It details the discovery of the plumes of ice particles and water vapor erupting from the surface and extending hundreds of kilometers into space. These plumes have put Enceladus on the map as an object of astrobiological study.

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  1. Astro-Venture

    Astro-Venture is an educational, interactive, multimedia Web environment highlighting NASA careers and astrobiology research in the areas of Astronomy, Geology, Biology and Atmospheric Science. Students in grades five through eight are transported to the future where they role play NASA occupations and use scientific inquiry, as they search for and build a planet with the necessary characteristics for human habitation. Supporting activities include chats with real NASA scientists, online collaborations, classroom lessons, student publishing area and occupations fact sheets and trading cards.

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