• See the Ball, Be the Ball.

    What do we know about potentially habitable worlds beyond our Solar System? What will it take to find out whether or not they are habitable… or inhabited? What are we doing to improve our ability to answer those two questions? These are the things my colleagues and I get to work on every day, and recently I had a chance to present an overview of this  with one of my colleagues, Mike McElwain. Mike is an instrument scientist, and between the two of us we’re involved with most of the US-based mission concepts that plan to directly image these extrasolar planets. We

  • Blue Light Special: an Astrobiological Point of View on the 2014 Physics Nobel Prize

    Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve kind of got a thing for light and lighting.

    When not hunkered down in the science mines I can be found sewing and fixing literally thousands of lights in costumes for the latest Rock Opera that I worked On “The Electric Pharoah”.



    Also, my doctoral research has been looking at how metabolic responses in land plants respond to changing light conditions over geologic time. Specifically, I have used leaf waxes preserved in fossils and rocks to make interpretations of forest density and the evolution of shade


    Sandro Botticelli La nascita di Venere
    Botticelli’s Birth of Venus


    In this special halloween post, I’m excited to introduce you to a concept for a long duration manned mission to Venus, using blimps to hover in the atmosphere.

    First off, there should be a more gender neutral way to say “manned mission” shouldn’t there be? Especially to Venus, as Venus is the only planet named after a female figure.  Human-mission? Crewed-mission?  It might take a while for

  • on thursday’s we throwback…

    … and we meme it!

    Here’s one of our favorites by Shawn Domagal-Goldman, created shortly after the Mars Science Lab successfully landed on Mars on August 6th, 2012. It totes dropped that heat shield like it’s hawt. Pretty incredible that we have this photo taken on the craft’s terrifying descent!

    Meme created by Shawn Domagal-Goldman