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SES 311 NASA Astrobiology Program

SES 311 NASA Astrobiology Program - Overview of NASAs...

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Overview of NASA’s Astrobiology Program by Michael Meyer (Mars Program Scientist NASA Headqtrs) Astrobiology is a key cross-theme element of both the Origins and Solar System Exploration programs of NASA: Astrobiology addresses concerns of major impact to Origins mission design Determine what makes a planet habitable and how common these worlds are in the universe. Determine how to recognize the signature of life on other worlds. Astrobiology represents a major, unifying scientific goal for Solar System exploration Determine whether there is (or once was) life elsewhere in our solar system, particularly on Mars and Europa. * Astrobiology Roadmap
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How life arose on the Earth Organization of matter into living systems How life evolves Co-evolution of biosphere and Earth Sources of organics on Earth. Origin of life ! s cellular components Models for life Genomic clues to evolution Linking planetary and biological evolution Microbial ecology Limits for life Character and frequency of habitable planets Signatures of life on other worlds Past or present life in the solar system Extremes of life Past and present life on Mars Life ! s precursors and habitats in outer solar system Natural migration of life Origins of habitable planets Effects of climate and geology on habitability Extrasolar biomarkers Is there life elsewhere in the universe? What is life ! s future on Earth and beyond? Goals Objectives Goals Objectives Goals Environmental change on Earth Terrestrial life beyond Earth Ecosystem response to rapid environmental change Earth ! s future habitability Bringing life with us beyond Earth Planetary protection Objectives How does life begin and evolve? Overview of NASA’s Astrobiology Roadmap
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Research and Analysis Exobiology Program : Research centered on pathways leading to and from the origin of life, to determine the potential for life elsewhere in the Universe Evolutionary Biology : New research program to understand the physical and biological forces that affect biological evolution and the interaction of life with its environment NASA Specialized Centers of Research & Training (NSCoRT) NASA Astrobiology Institute Virtual institute whose members conduct interdisciplinary research as a community, geographically dispersed, interacting also with the national and international community Technology & Development Astrobiology Science and Technology Instrument Development (ASTID) Life-centered perspective in technology development, first set of proposals selected soon Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) Program of campaigns to extreme environments to develop integrated systems and exploration savvy (start FY02) Astrobiology Program Elements
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Exobiology Program Goal: The goal of NASA's Exobiology program is to understand the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe.
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