Astrobiology: May 2006 Archives

NASA Advisory Council Science Committee Presentation 18 May 2006

Astrobiology

- These scientific investigations support NASA's strategic goals. In addition, this program is particularly attractive to the general public.

- Science Committee recommendation: NASA's Astrobiology Program shuld have been treated in the same way as any other R&A program, and should be in future planning.

Greenhouse Webcam 2 Editor's note: The Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse woke up several weeks ago. Located at the Mars Institute's HMP Research Station on Devon Island, this greenhouse has several webcams located inside which are now sending back images on a more or less daily basis. Webcam 2 looks south at the growing trays. Webcam 3 looks north at the heating system. Note: ignore the date stamp on these webcam images - apparently both cameras lost track of time during the several months of darkness when they were inactive.

During fall 2005 there was some unusual activity in and around the greenhouse and the report listed below describes what is known to date. Another update to this report will follow soon.

- 2005 Preliminary Fall Report (PDF)
- Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse Update, July 20, 2005
- Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse (ACMG): Frequently Asked Questions

Space to Breathe: Astrobiology Magazine Interview With Apollo Astronaut Harrison Schmitt

"AM: But the immediate adaptation to the environment, such as how gravity affects the way bones develop...

HS: Well, maybe. But again, there are ways to counter that, such as exercise. But one of the things we don't know is how much gravity the human body needs. We haven't done that kind of research in orbit. Hopefully we'll figure out a way to fly the Japanese centrifuge so we can create artificial gravity and find out what the breakpoint is. Is it one-sixth Earth's gravity? Three-eights? So it may not to be an issue on Mars. On the other hand, if it turns out to be an issue, then you look at ways of stimulating bone deposition."

Astrobiology 2.0

Saving Astrobiology at NASA

"Astrobiology emerged at a time when NASA was in a state of flux and ARC and other field centers were faced with possible closure or drastic cutbacks. The community that formed around this nascent program at ARC turned adversity and uncertainty into opportunity and built a rich program out of that chaos. Now tough times are here again. Take a hard look at astrobiology and don't be afraid to respond to this challenge by looking at ways to make it more efficient as well as more relevant to the President's stated vision."

Outspoken: Mike Griffin on the NASA budget," Nature

Deep cuts to NASA astrobiology - Griffin: "I did think astrobiology was less important than traditional space science. It had less intrinsic subject matter to it, and was less advanced. If the community rises up and says it should be funded, we'll rethink it."

NASA Lacks Resources Needed to Sustain Vigorous Science Program, National Academy of Sciences

Report: "An assessment of Balance in NASA's Science Programs" [excerpt Page 20]: "The decadal surveys for astrophysics and for solar system exploration both embraced astrobiology as a key component of their programs, with the questions encompassed by astrobiology serving as overarching themes for the programs as a whole. The missions put forward in the solar system exploration survey are all key missions in astrobiology, whether they are labeled as such or not. And issues and missions related to astrobiology represent one of the key areas of interest identified in the astronomy and astrophysics communities.

Astrobiology provides the intellectual connections between otherwise disparate enterprises. NASAs astrobiology program creates an integrated whole and supports the basic interdisciplinary nature of the field. Further, the Vision is, at its heart, largely an astrobiology vision with regard to the science emphasis. In developing the future of the program, the missions actually feed forward from the basic science. Astrobiology is just beginning the type of synthesis and integration that will allow it to provide science input for future mission development. Without it, the science and the scientific personnel will not be in place to support the missions when they do fly.

At a time of increasing desire for cross-disciplinary programs, astrobiology represents an outstanding example of the development of a successful new interdisciplinary area."

Astrobiology Update


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This page is an archive of entries in the Astrobiology category from May 2006.

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