Print button

Important Deadlines and News

Upcoming deadlines / important events
Late registration deadline: 2018-09-17
EANA 2018

European Astrobiology Institute
Dear Astrobiologists,

In addition to the long-standing “European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA)”, several new European networking initiatives have been launched over the last years, such as the COST Action “Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth in the Universe”, the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership “European Astrobiology Campus” and the FP7 project “AstRoMap”. The European astrobiology community has thus gained in maturity and coordination. To build on this momentum and take European Research in astrobiology to a higher level the launch of a European Astrobiology Institute was proposed. This entity will be a virtual institute consisting of research and higher education institutions and organisations as well as other stakeholders aiming to carry out research, training, outreach and dissemination activities in astrobiology in a comprehensive and coordinated manner and thereby securing a leading role of the European Research Area in the field.

An Interim Board was formed consisting of members and employees of the main stakeholders in this field in the European Research Area (ESA, ESF, ISSI, German Aerospace Centre, CNRS, CNES, INAF, Europlanet, EANA, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Centro de Astrobiologia, etc.) to prepare the creation of the EAI. It has elaborated a draft Action Plan mapping out the tasks, structure, governing bodies, activities, funding and administration of the EAI. This Action Plan has been finalised and is now open for discussion with the whole European astrobiology community in summer 2018. Recruitment of institutions is planned to place in autumn and winter 2018/19 and the first General Assembly of the EAI is planned for late spring 2019.

A preliminary website of the European Astrobiology has been set up at:
http://www.europeanastrobiology.eu/

The Interim Board invites all members to discuss the plans for establishment of the European Astrobiology Institute. To facilitate the discussion, we have created a Google Group on the EAI. To join please do the following:
  1. Access the Google Group "European Astrobiology"
    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/europeanastrobiology
  2. Ask to join
or alternatively write a message to wgeppert (at) hotmail.com and you will be sent an invitation. To join you should be affiliated to a Research and/or Higher Education Institution or research organisation in Europe. The Interim Board, however, reserves the right to refuse participants to the forum if their connection to astrobiology or research in general is unclear. In accordance with general regulations of Google any kind of insult and slander against individual persons or Institutions and groups will result in the sender being removed from the Google Group.

Relevant documents (Action Plan, Executive summary, Communiques of the meetings of the Interim Board, a promotional folder for the EAI and a proposed time plan for the implementation of the institute) can be downloaded at the webpage:
http://europeanastrobiology.eu/documents.html

We are looking forward to reading your viewpoints and discussing the future EAI with you.

Best regards,
Wolf Geppert
in the name of the Interim Board

Added 26 Jul 2018
Third Hands-On Training in Handling and Manipulation of Small Extraterrestrial Samples

Hands-on Training: Handling and Manipulation of Small Extraterrestrial Samples is a two-day training session that will be held at NASA Johnson Space Center (lab training) and the Lunar and Planetary Institute (classroom training) in Houston, Texas on October 16-17, 2018.

Application deadline: Monday, July 30, 2018

For training details and to submit your application, please visit the website.

Added 16 Jul 2018
Summer school/workshop "Microsatellites in planetary and atmospheric research" Tartu, Estonia, 6 - 11 August 2018


Added 2 May 2018
Mars simulation AMADEE-18 Report
After the 1-month Mars simulation AMADEE-18 in the Sultanate of Oman, the Mission Report was now released. This document is not a scientific paper, but provides a reference overview on the mission. The science behind the 19 experiments will be discussed at the AMADEE18 Science Workshop at the Technical University of Graz. Most of the data have been transferred now to the OeWF Multimission Science Data Archive for future reference and academic work.
200 team members from 25 nations, including research teams from space agencies, academic institutions and space advocacy organisations have comitted to this major mission supported by the AMADEE-18 National Steering Ctte of Oman and our industrial partners. Best regards Gernot Groemer

Added 2 May 2018
MASE - Mars Analogues for Space Exploration
Newsletter March 2018
After 48 months of intense activity, the MASE project ends. Over the past four years, MASE successfully achieved its objectives to advance our understanding of the past habitability of Mars and the signatures of life.

Added 29 Mar 2018
European Astrobiology Institute (EAI)
Following the discussions over the last years about the establishment of a European Institute of Astrobiology (EAI) an Interim Board consisting of members of the main European organisations involved in Astrobiology has been established which will elaborate a detailed Action Plan for the establishment of such an institute. First discussions focused on the tasks and the structure of the institutes and deliberations about other important issues concerning the institute will follow and informations will be constantly updated.

Preliminary Information

Added 9 Feb 2018
Calling all Origin of Life Scientists

The objective of our next NoR HGT & LUCA 2018 conference, entitled Molecules to Microbes, is to reveal the locations and processes by which biogenic chemistry evolved into the biology of life. We will also be aiming to bring into focus the metabolism and genetic first hypotheses.

Added 5 Feb 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"

Contact:
Muriel Gargaud and Hervé Cottin

Added 22 Nov 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)

Taubner et al. (2018): Biological methane production under putative Enceladus-like conditions

Nature Communications 2018, 9 (748), 1-11, DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-02876-y

Link to open access paper
The detection of silica-rich dust particles, as an indication for ongoing hydrothermal activity, and the presence of water and organic molecules in the plume of Enceladus, have made Saturn`s icy moon a hot spot in the search for potential extraterrestrial life. Methanogenic archaea are among the organisms that could potentially thrive under the predicted conditions on Enceladus, considering that both molecular hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) have been detected in the plume. Here we show that a methanogenic archaeon, Methanothermococcus okinawensis, can produce CH4 under physicochemical conditions extrapolated for Enceladus. Up to 72% carbon dioxide to CH4 conversion is reached at 50bar in the presence of potential inhibitors. Furthermore, kinetic and thermodynamic computations of low-temperature serpentinization indicate that there may be sufficient H2 gas production to serve as a substrate for CH4 production on Enceladus. We conclude that some of the CH4 detected in the plume of Enceladus might, in principle, be produced by methanogens.
Conferences (-> Detailed Information)
Documents, Publications, Initiatives
New Books
Jobs and opportunities