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Important Deadlines and News

Upcoming deadlines / important events
Application deadline: 2017-12-11
Independent Fellowship available at the Open University in Space Science

Application deadline: 2018-03-01
NASA Postdoctoral Program Opportunities: Life Science: Planetary Protection Research using NASA Balloon Flights

Application deadline: 2018-01-15
Post-Doctoral Position in Astrophysics and/or Cosmology at ISSI Bern

Application deadline (12pm, CET): 2017-12-20
Open position (3 years) in the field of UV measurements

Participation application deadline: 2017-12-17
Gordon Research Conference on the Origins of Life

Abstract submission deadline: 2018-07-01
EANA 2018

Deadline for application: 2018-01-15
Astrobiology Introductory Course`18

Early bird registration deadline: 2018-07-15
EANA 2018

Late registration deadline: 2018-09-17
EANA 2018

Online Courses in Astrobiology
We are pleased to announce the launch of the first platform of online courses in astrobiology.
Astrobiology is a field in full expansion and in constant renewal. It stimulates great public and media interest, and generates many vocations among students. It is therefore essential that everyone has access to the latest advances in the field and it is in this spirit that we launch today this free online platform.
“Online courses in astrobiology” presents quality courses in astrobiology, given by international specialists, for students working in this field but also for any interested and curious public. Classes are available in French, English and Spanish (additional languages may be added later). They are mainly for students in master`s or PhD programs, but most of them are accessible to a wider audience.

This platform was created in the context of the IAU (International Astronomical Union) working group: "Education and Training in Astrobiology"

Muriel Gargaud and Hervé Cottin

Added 22 Nov 2017
White Paper Submissions Due January 8, 2018
Dear Colleagues, In preparation for and as an input to the upcoming decadal surveys in astronomy and astrophysics and planetary science, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has been charged with carrying out a study on the astrobiology science strategy as it relates to the search for life in the solar system and extrasolar planetary systems. The committee is requesting community input in the form of white papers. Please find below recommended topics for white papers and submission guidelines. White papers will be accepted from immediately until 8 January, 2018. Papers received earlier will have a higher likelihood of being read and considered.

Added 17 Nov 2017
ESA & SCISYS invite you to be part of a unique opportunity to label the landscape of Mars. Be part of a select group of scientists to identify the key features of interest and create a one-of-a-kind dataset of labelled images to expand our knowledge of Mars.

Added 15 Nov 2017
Second MASE Newsletter
The MASE - Mars Analogues for Space Exploration Newsletter, October 2017, is now available for download.

Added 23 Oct 2017
Want to serve as a MEPAG Executive Committee or Goals Committee member?
The Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) serves as a community-based, interdisciplinary forum for inquiry and analysis in support of planning and implementing Mars exploration objectives. The MEPAG Terms of Reference and organization are described more fully at The two executive bodies for MEPAG are:
  • The MEPAG Executive Committee consists of the MEPAG Chair (lead), the previous MEPAG Chair, the MEP Lead Scientist, the Mars Program Office Chief Scientist, the Goals Committee Chair, ad hoc members, and up to 5 additional members of the MEPAG community. Members discuss and approve MEPAG reports, meeting agendas, and committee and science analysis group (SAG) membership and charters. Members are expected to take a broad and integrated view of Mars exploration activities, particularly in regard to NASA policy discussions and actions related to Mars scientific activities.
  • The MEPAG Goals Committee nominally has two members for each of the four goal areas (Life, Climate, Geology, and Preparations for Human Exploration), in addition to its Chair, who is also a member of the Executive Committee. A prime activity of this committee is to maintain and, based on new discoveries and findings, update the MEPAG Goals Document
Membership of the Executive and Goals Committees are solicited from the MEPAG community and determined by the MEPAG Chair and current Executive Committee members. Terms of service are typically 2-3 years, depending on MEPAG tasks and desire for overlapping terms. Participation in the Executive Committee includes a monthly telecon, participation in MEPAG community meetings, reviews of MEPAG reports, and related activities. Goals Committee activity is dependent upon the pace of updates to the Goals Document. Related travel is supported (except for civil servants); time is not.
This notice solicits indications of interest for membership on the Executive Committee (2 at-large positions are currently open) and for possible membership on the Goals Committee (positions which may open in the coming year). To respond to this notice, please submit your Indication of Interest by December 15, 2017. The plan is to fill the current openings by January, 2018.

Added 23 Oct 2017
Special issue of the journal Space Science Reviews
Planet Earth and Space: Precious and sometimes unexpected tools for astrobiology research

In 1953, Stanley Miller performed an experiment seen as a turning point in the study of the origins of life on Earth: he demonstrated that key molecules considered essential for the appearance of life, namely amino acids, can be "simply" formed in the atmosphere of a planet if it has the right initial ingredients: the appropriate molecules, the right conditions. This historical experiment became a foundational element of what was called "exobiology" in 1960: an interdisciplinary field with the goal of understanding the origins of life on Earth and, by extension, knowing how and where to look for signs of extraterrestrial life.
Today, this discipline is broadly termed astrobiology. Many studies have provided a wealth of results over the past five decades, giving this scientific field in an important place in many academic research programs even as it became a priority for space agencies worldwide. Understanding how life appears and finding its evidence elsewhere have become central questions in science, no longer relegated to science fiction. Several years ago, the European Space Agency, ESA, brought together an international, interdisciplinary team of researchers, the "Astrobiology Topical Team." Its charge was to review and report on the latest advances in the field in order to plan more strategically for the future. The work of these researchers is now published in a series of three scientific articles in a special issue of the journal Space Science Reviews (volume 209).

Added 23 Aug 2017

Monthly research highlight (-> More highlights)

Cataldi et al. (2017): Searching for Biosignatures in Exoplanetary Impact Ejecta

Astrobiology 2017, 17(8), 721-746, DOI:10.1089/ast.2015.1437

Link to paper

With the number of confirmed rocky exoplanets increasing steadily, their characterization and the search for exoplanetary biospheres are becoming increasingly urgent issues in astrobiology. To date, most efforts have concentrated on the study of exoplanetary atmospheres. Instead, we aim to investigate the possibility of characterizing an exoplanet (in terms of habitability, geology, presence of life, etc.) by studying material ejected from the surface during an impact event. [...]
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