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Leading Scientists Meet To Map Out Astrobiology Strategy
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- Date: Thu, 16 Jul 1998 17:34:29 GMT
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Headquarters, Washington, DC July 16, 1998
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
NOTE TO EDITORS: N98-46
LEADING SCIENTISTS MEET TO MAP OUT ASTROBIOLOGY STRATEGY
Leading scientists from around the world will meet next week
in a critical first step in planning NASA's emerging astrobiology
program. In a three-day "roadmapping" session, participants will
discuss development of a five-year strategic plan for astrobiology
research, next-generation missions and technology requirements.
The goal of the workshop is to provide direction and set the
tone for astrobiology research and its impact on NASA's missions,
both in the near term and looking ahead to the year 2020.
Astrobiology is the search for the origin, evolution and destiny
of life in the universe. It involves research to gain
understanding of the origins of life in the universe, the
formation and evolution of habitable worlds, life's evolution and
the biogeochemical cycles in the Earth's oceans and atmosphere,
and the potential for biological evolution beyond an organism's
planet of origin.
The roadmap team will define top-level mission and technology
requirements to achieve astrobiology science goals and map these
requirements onto NASA's future missions and technology
development programs. Topics for discussion include life's
molecular roots, the cosmic context for life, the origin of
terrestrial life and the prospects for life beyond the planet of
The three-day planning workshop will be held July 20-22,
1998, at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. Media
representatives are invited to attend the workshop's opening
sessions, which run from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 1:00 p.m.
PDT on July 20 in the Moffett Training and Conference Center
(Building 3). Contact the Ames Public Affairs Office at 650/604-
1731 for media access information.
"Future Shock" author Alvin Toffler will lead a dialogue
about the "fourth wave" and astrobiology. Other speakers will
include Michael Meyer, astrobiology discipline scientist; Henry
McDonald, Ames center director; David Morrison, Ames director of
space; and Scott Hubbard, interim manager of the NASA Astrobiology
Institute based at Ames.
Workshop attendees will include top multidisciplinary
researchers from around the nation, including Nobel laureates Dr.
Walter Gilbert of Harvard University and Dr. Stanley N. Cohen of
the Stanford University School of Medicine. Other attendees will
include National Academy of Science members and representatives
from leading research institutions and universities. Represented
disciplines will range from astronomy and astrophysics, to
biology, chemistry and planetary geology. Scientists in all
fields are working toward the common goal of discovering the role
of life in the universe.
Members of NASA's recently formed virtual Astrobiology
Institute will participate in this exercise. This highly
interdisciplinary group comes from 11 selected institutions which
include: Arizona State University; Carnegie Institution; Harvard
University; Pennsylvania State University; Scripps Research
Institute; the University of Colorado; the University of
California, Los Angeles; Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory;
Ames; and NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, and Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.
Information about astrobiology at Ames can be found on the
world wide web at:
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