New Science Teams for Astrobiology
NASA has selected seven teams to join the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). The new recipients of five-year grants join five currently active teams at the NAI.
“The intellectual scope of astrobiology is vast, from understanding how our planet went from lifeless to living, to understanding how life has adapted to Earth’s harshest environments, to exploring other worlds with the most advanced technologies to search for signs of life,” said Mary Voytek, director of NASA’s Astrobiology Program in a recent press release. “The new teams cover that breadth of astrobiology, and by coming together in the NAI, they will make the connections between disciplines and organizations that stimulate fundamental scientific advances.”
The newly selected teams include:
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Michael Mumma leads the GSFC team, which will study how the delivery of water and organics to the early Earth could be connected to the origins of life on our planet.
Selected stories featuring Michael Mumma:
NASA’s Ames Research Center
Scott Sandford and his team will study the chemistry behind organic molecules that could have been delivered to the early Earth by small bodies from space.
Selected stories featuring Scott Sandford:
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Isik Kanik leads a team that will study the habitability of icy worlds like Europa and Enceladus through laboratory experiments and field research in environments on Earth.
Selected stories featuring Isik Kanik:
The SETI Institute
Nathalie Cabrol’s team will conduct studies to better understand where and how to search for life, and what biosignatures to look for, all in preparation for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover.
Selected stories featuring Nathalie Cabrol:
University of Colorado in Boulder
Alexis Templeton’s team will study how interactions between rock and water can power living systems on Earth and on other worlds like Mars.
Selected stories featuring Alexis Templeton:
University of California, Riverside
Timothy Lyons’ team will study the history of oxygen in the atmosphere and oceans of Earth, and its relationship to habitability on our planet.
Selected stories featuring Timothy Lyons:
University of Montana in Missoula
Frank Rosenzweig will lead a team studying how small ‘units’ involved in chemical reactions transitioned to self-organizing, self-reproducing, and energy-gathring systems (from cells to ecosystems).
For more information on the NASA Astrobiology Program and the NASA Astrobiology Institute, visit: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov