Astrobiology: May 2021 Archives

Keith's note: Earlier today I posted NASA CIO's Open Data Thing Is Still Screwed Up. I went back to to the CIO's page to see if their data collection is accessible to the public. I went to the "Technical Report Server" pull down menu and clicked on "Public Search" which sent me to NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server. I searched for "astrobiology" and the top search result is Data Sharing in Astrobiology: The Astrobiology Habitable Environments Database (AHED).

I then went back to the main page and used the "NASA Science Archives" pull down menu and clicked on "List of other NASA Science & Mission Data Archives" which sent me to to Data from NASA's Missions, Research, and Activities which was last updated 15 February 2017 (or 3 March 2020). There is no listing for the Astrobiology Habitable Environments Database (AHED). But I used Google and found that it is located here and was last updated 1 February 2021. According to the Internet Archive it existed as long ago as 25 November 2020 - before this CIO website update. The main contact for this page is someone in NASA PAO - not CIO - and the page just lists his name with no email link to report issues with this page.

If you go back to page and scroll down you will see "Other NASA Data Sites and Science Archives" which also includes a link to List of other NASA Science & Mission Data Archives (mentioned above.) This section also has a highlighted piece of text that blinks when you scroll over it (but does not link to anything) which says "submit an issue if you know of another NASA data site that should be included". I clicked on it again hoping to be able to report this omission but this is not a link - just a thing that changes color when you scroll over it. How useless.

Didn't anyone at NASA OIG do some link checks and simple sanity checks via Google before putting this site online? It took me longer to write this up than to find this error - and I was not even looking for an error. What other broken thinks lurk within this new data website from the crack NASA CIO web team?

- NASA CIO's Open Data Thing Is Still Screwed Up, earlier post
- NASA Ignores Science Websites - Loves Rocket City Trash Pandas, earlier post

But wait: there's more:

If you look at the top of the site whose real address is https: // it says "An official website of the United States government Here's how you know". Click on the link and it expands to say "The .gov means it's official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site."

OK, since you are trying to reassure people, this site's address ends with .io not .gov or .mil. So what does that mean? Answer: "The Internet country code top-level domain .io is assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory. The domain is administered by the Internet Computer Bureau, a domain name registry company which is a subsidiary of Afilias and is based in the United Kingdom" according to Google.

So, are taxpayers supposed to be reassured that this is an official U.S government website - and that they can upload data - when you openly tell them that it it uses an address run by a company in the UK licensed from the British Indian Ocean Territory "a British overseas territory of the United Kingdom situated in the Indian Ocean halfway between Tanzania and Indonesia."? Doesn't the NASA CIO have a proof reader they can run this stuff by?

Volcanoes On Mars Could Be Active, Raise Possibility of Recent Habitable Conditions, PSI

"Evidence of recent volcanic activity on Mars shows that eruptions could have taken place within the past 50,000 years, a paper by Planetary Science Institute Research Scientist David Horvath says. ... A volcanic deposit such as this also raises the possibility for habitable conditions in the near surface of Mars in recent history, says Horvath. "The interaction of ascending magma and the icy substrate of this region could have provided favorable conditions for microbial life fairly recently and raises the possibility of extant life in this region."

Volcanoes on Mars Could be Active, Raising Possibility that the Planet was Recently Habitable, University of Arizona

"Evidence of recent volcanic activity on Mars shows that eruptions could have taken place in the past 50,000 years, according to new study by researchers at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the Planetary Science Institute. ... The volcanic deposit described in this study, along with ongoing seismic rumbling in the planet's interior detected by InSight and possible evidence for releases of methane plumes into the atmosphere detected by NASA's MAVEN orbiter, suggest that Mars is far from a cold, inactive world, Andrews-Hanna said."

Keith's note: Conditions that might support extant life on Mars? Wow. That's Astrobiology! But do you see ANY mention by NASA's Astrobiology program? No. They either do not know how to tell everyone or they do not care to. Hard to tell. But NASA SMD ignores this stuff too. No mention is made on the SMD science news page even though NASA missions Mars InSight and Maven were involved. And of course, the SMD Science page does not even list "Astrobiology" as a topic so it is not surprising that they ignore this too.

NASA Seeks Partners for the Astrobiology Science Conference, NASA

"The Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) is a community-organized conference that provides a forum for reporting on new discoveries, sharing data and insights, advancing collaborative efforts and initiating new ones, planning new projects, and educating the next generation of astrobiologists."

Keith's note:NASA made an important Astrobiology program announcement yesterday about an opportunity for external organizations and companies to partner with NASA on upcoming Astrobiology Science Conferences (AbSciCon). You would think that the Science Mission Directorate, Its Planetary Science Division, and the Astrobiology Program would want the widest possible distribution to the Astrobiology community. SMD did send out an email. But wouldn't you think that the Astrobiology program itself would use its own mailing list, its Twitter account @NASAAstrobio (with 779,000 followers!) and its home page to further promote this opportunity. Guess again.

It has been 24 hours but nothing has been mentioned by the NASA Astrobiology program. Update: they added it to their home page - but 26 hours after the notice was issued by NASA.. And there is no mention on the AbSciCon 2020 home page itself. There is nothing on the NASA Science home page either. Of course the SMD page does not even mention "Astrobiology" which is odd given that NASA refers to the $1 billion+ "mobile astrobiologist" that it has on Mars (Perseverance). President Biden and Vice President Harris mention this rover a lot. You'd think that NASA would pull out all the stops to make sure that its mission and underlying rationale were at the top of their PR to do list.

By contrast had the notice posted and tweeted via @Astrobiology within minutes. It is as if no one at SMD cares about Astrobiology any more - starting with the management of the Astrobiology program itself. If they don't care then why should anyone else?

As you can see from these posts in just the past several years, NASA's Astrobiology Program neglects itself.

- NASA Tries To Explain Its Astrobiology Shyness, earlier post
- NASA's Astrobiology Program Works Hard To Ignore Itself, earlier post
- NASA Leads In Astrobiology. It Needs To Act That Way., earlier post
- NASA Can't Figure Out What Astrobiology Is - Or Who Does It, earlier post
- Getting Serious About Astrobiology, earlier post
- More NASA Astrobiology News That Ignores NASA's Astrobiology Program, earlier post
- NASA's Science Mission Directorate Has An Issue With Certain Words, earlier post
- NASA's Big Astrobiology Mission To Europa Makes No Mention Of Astrobiology, earlier post
- NASA Makes Big Astrobiology Mission Announcement Without Saying "Astrobiology", earlier post
- NASA Leads The World In Astrobiology. Wow, Who Knew?, earlier post
- 3 New Life Forms Discovered On The Space Station. NASA Yawns In Response., earlier post
- Sadly NASA Forgets Its Most Amazing Missions, earlier post
- That Time NASAWatch Scooped The Water On Mars Story, earlier post
- This Is Not The Planetary Protection Headline That NASA Needs Right Now (Update), earlier post



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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Astrobiology category from May 2021.

Astrobiology: March 2021 is the previous archive.

Astrobiology: June 2021 is the next archive.

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