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Important Deadlines and News

Upcoming deadlines / important events
Application deadline: 2018-03-01
NASA Postdoctoral Program Opportunities: Life Science: Planetary Protection Research using NASA Balloon Flights

Application deadline: 2018-04-20
15 SALTGIANT PhD projects on the Euraxess portal

Application deadline: 2018-02-28
5 PhD and 3 postdoc positions in Belgium - ET-HoME (Evolution and Tracers of the Habitability of Mars and the Earth)

Abstract submission deadline: 2018-07-01
EANA 2018

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

Late registration deadline: 2018-09-17
EANA 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)

Martins et al. (2017): Earth as a Tool for Astrobiology -- A European Perspective

Space Science Reviews 2017, 2017, 1-39, DOI: 10.1007/s11214-017-0369-1

Link to open access paper

Scientists use the Earth as a tool for astrobiology by analyzing planetary field analogues (i.e. terrestrial samples and field sites that resemble planetary bodies in our Solar System). In addition, they expose the selected planetary field analogues in simulation chambers to conditions that mimic the ones of planets, moons and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space conditions, as well as the chemistry occurring in interstellar and cometary ices. This paper reviews the ways the Earth is used by astrobiologists: (i) by conducting planetary field analogue studies to investigate extant life from extreme environments, its metabolisms, adaptation strategies and modern biosignatures; (ii) by conducting planetary field analogue studies to investigate extinct life from the oldest rocks on our planet and its biosignatures; (iii) by exposing terrestrial samples to simulated space or planetary environments and producing a sample analogue to investigate changes in minerals, biosignatures and microorganisms. The European Space Agency (ESA) created a topical team in 2011 to investigate recent activities using the Earth as a tool for astrobiology and to formulate recommendations and scientific needs to improve ground-based astrobiological research. Space is an important tool for astrobiology (see Horneck et al. in Astrobiology, 16:201–243, 2016; Cottin et al., 2017), but access to space is limited. Complementing research on Earth provides fast access, more replications and higher sample throughput. The major conclusions of the topical team and suggestions for the future include more scientifically qualified calls for field campaigns with planetary analogy, and a centralized point of contact at ESA or the EU for the organization of a survey of such expeditions. An improvement of the coordinated logistics, infrastructures and funding system supporting the combination of field work with planetary simulation investigations, as well as an optimization of the scientific return and data processing, data storage and data distribution is also needed. Finally, a coordinated EU or ESA education and outreach program would improve the participation of the public in the astrobiological activities.
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