1. Centro de Astrobiología (CAB)

    Website: http://cab.inta.es/

    J. Miguel Mas Hesse
    Director, CAB
    Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial
    Madrid, Spain

    CAB Activities

    2015 Santander Summer School: The Origin of Life: From Monomers to Cells
    Co-hosted the summer school in Santander, Spain, June 29 – July 3, 2015

    Dr. Victor Parro Presentation to the NAI EC at AbSciCon 2015

    Article: Mars in a Box Researchers at the CAB have developed a Mars simulator that replicates almost all of the environmental variables on the red planet that pose a challenge for exploration equipment. Published on NAI website April 11, 2014.

    Looking for Life in the Universe Activity April 9-11, 2014. A fully equipped mobile laboratory visited the city of Plasencia to demonstrate how to study life forms that exist in extreme conditions called extremophiles. Using a medical analogy, it’s like a mobile ICU but focused on the detection of life similar to those conditions found on Mars. This mobile laboratory is used by the CAB in campaigns in Rio Tinto, an area of ​​extremely acidic waters in the province of Huelva, which is one of the closest analog we have to Mars on Earth.

    Article: Recreating Europa’s Crust published on NAI website March 24, 2014.

    About the Centro de Astrobiologia

    The Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB) was the first astrobiology organization outside the United States to be associated with the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) – formally becoming an Associate Partner in the year 2000.

    Application of the scientific method to astrobiology requires the combination of theory, simulation, observation, and experiment. This application of fundamental science to the questions of astrobiology is the most important goal for the CAB. The multidisciplinary setting provided by the CAB allows engineers to interact with experimental, theoretical, and observational scientists from various fields: astronomy, fluid dynamics, geology, biogeochemistry, biology, genetics, remote sensing, bio-informatics, ecology, computer science, physics, robotics, and communications engineering. The research of the CAB relates to the systematization of the chain of events that took place between the Big Bang and the origin and evolution of life, or between the self-organization of the interstellar gas.

    The technological and scientific fields active in the Centro de Astrobiologia can be classified into these general areas:

    • Observing and modeling (in astrophysics, planetary sciences, biology, and ecology), with observation and analysis of phenomena related to astrobiology and the development of models that can explain the observed properties of nature;
    • Theoretical research, focused in the areas of hydrodynamics, emergence, critical phenomena of equilibrium, self-organized criticality, fragmentation and fractality, and fractal science networks;
    • Supporting technologies, that are applied in the fields of bioinformatics, specialized computing, advanced communication systems, telematics and robotics;

    More specifically related to astrobiology, the research of the CAB is concentrated in the areas of:

    • Formation and Evolution of the Interstellar Medium, Stars and Planets
      • Stellar Astrophysics
      • Comparative Planetology
      • Molecular Astrophysics
    • Molecular Adaptation and Evolution
      • Biological- and Environmental-dependent Molecular Adaptation
      • Evolution of Molecular and Viral Quasi-species
      • Prebiotic Evolution
    • Evolution and Characterization of Potential Habitable Environments in the Solar System
      • Geomicrobiology of Extreme Environments
      • Planetary Geology and Atmospheres
      • Environmental and Biological Signatures
    • Development of Advanced Instrumentation
      • Astronomical Instrumentation
      • Instrumentation for Planetary Exploration and Simulation Chambers

    The CAB works with the view that science and technology are not isolated human activities, but rather that the new knowledge and understanding of nature obtained from science and technology should be applied to daily life in ways that improve the quality of society, increase human freedom, and transmit knowledge to following generations.