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Important Deadlines and News

Upcoming deadlines / important events
Application deadline: 2018-04-20
15 SALTGIANT PhD projects on the Euraxess portal

Abstract submission deadline: 2018-07-01
EANA 2018

Application deadline: 2018-06-15
Deep Life In Buried Salt Deposits - A EU COST MEDSALT Training school

Deadline for application: 2018-06-04
"Space Summer School" will be organized at SCK-CEN, Belgium

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

Late registration deadline: 2018-09-17
EANA 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
The Frontier Development Lab (FDL) is an applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) research accelerator that pairs researchers from the space sciences with data scientists for an intense 8-week concentrated study to apply AI to challenges important to space exploration, and to humankind. FDL will run between June 25 - August 17, 2018 in Europe, between Italy and the UK.
This year we are running a challenge in partnership with the European Space Agency in Europe, which will run in parallel to the US program. FDL Europe`s focus will be on:

Earth Observation

Therefore, we are looking for doctorate or post-doc researchers interested in/working within the field of Earth Observation.
The US program running in parallel is seeking doctorate or post-doc researchers interested in working within the following challenge areas for 2018:

Space Weather
Space Resources

Additional challenges looking at orbital debris and exoplanets may be added, pending partner interest.
We welcome applications for the 2018 program. Researchers are requested to specify an interest in a specific challenge area. Applications will be accepted until the closing date of the 3rd of April, although we encourage you to apply sooner to ensure a place. 

Added 15 Mar 2018
Talks from the 6th International ELSI Symposium online
The 6th International Symposium of the Earth Life Science Institute (ELSI) was held from January 9-11, 2018, at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Ookayama Campus. Video presentations of the invited talks from the symposium are now online available.

Added 26 Feb 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
4th Europlanet call is open
The closing date for proposals will be Thursday 1st March 2018 at 14.00 (2pm), CET (Brussels, Paris time).
Europlanet is paying for travel and accommodation, and also for experiments.

Added 5 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"

Muriel Gargaud and Hervé Cottin

Added 22 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
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.
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