Monthly Archives: October 2011

  • NOVA special on astrobiology… airs TONIGHT!

    There will be a NOVA special on the search for life in the universe……. TONIGHT! Lots of great people on this, including Steve Squyres, Chris McKay, Geoff Marcy, and Jennifer Eigenbrode (a fellow PSU geosciences alum). I can’t wait to see this. Set your DVR’s for 9 PM EST/8 PM CST. Here’s a preview to get you pumped…

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  • AbSciCon2012 Proposals Due… SATURDAY!

    To the non-scientists reading this blog… apologies for the brief “inside-the-synchrotron” interlude. To my colleagues… get your butts in gear! Session proposals for AbSciCon 2012 are due this week. Because we work in an interdisciplinary field, it is imperative that our meetings be organized from the ground up. Thus, it’s up to us to make sure the topics we want to discuss are covered at the meeting. Here’s the blurb on the website on this:

    Astrobiology is an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor. Given all the wide variety of disciplinary tools and topics to be presented at the meeting,

  • News Flash: Venus is NOT Duller than Dirt!

    A news story showcasing new observations of surprising changes in the upper atmosphere of Venus has been all over the place this week.

    I always like seeing my second favorite planet getting some media love.  The press release was nicely written, putting the new findings in the context of changing historical ideas about the Venusian atmosphere. But the headline (which is all that, oh I don’t know maybe 99 %? of readers ever see) really bugged me.  Widely blasted around the web, it read: “Venus Weather Not Boring After All, NASA/International Study Shows

    Now doesn’t this seem

  • Why Astrobiology? (ctd)

    We’ve seen two posts addressing the question “why study astrobiology?”, here and here. My take is very simple. There are three basic questions that any community of self-aware beings will eventually ask themselves, for reasons both practical and profound:

    • How did we get here?
    • Where are we headed?
    • Are we alone?

    The most direct way to answer these questions is exploration. To our ancestors, this meant exploring the next valley or the lands across the seas. To us, it means exploring the stars.

  • in response to “Why Astrobiology”

    Shawn here: the following is a comment made by Julia DeMarines on Dimitra’s post on “Why Astrobiology.” Betül asked Julia to re-post is as a “PaleBlue.you” entry… beating me to the punch, as I was going to ask her to do the same thing. Anyways, here’s one good, enthusiastic take on “why astrobiology.”

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    Betül Arslan (a friend, colleague and Pale Blue Blogger) has requested that I re-post my response to Dimitra Atri’s post earlier this week. Because I think she is totally rad, I complied. Enjoy!

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    Hey Dimitra!

    A very well written post!

    I study astrobiology for a number of reasons.. The first is because i’m