Category Archives: Education

How to live on Mars? Recently, Amity Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology conducted Introduction to Astrobiology” online course. Participants were asked to share their artworks. One of the course instructors, Dr Annalea Beattie compiled all the artworks into this beautiful book.

Recently, Amity Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology conducted “Introduction to Astrobiology” online course. Participants were asked to suggest their favourite space-related book and here is the result! Click here to view the comprehensive list.

Prof. Mukund Sharma senior paleontologist and astrobiologist from Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences (Lucknow, India) is renowned for his immense contribution in the field of Precambrian Palaeobiology in India. He has extensively worked on the Archaeans of the Dharwar Craton, the Proterozoic basins of peninsular India i.e., the Cuddapah, Kaladgi, Vindhyan, Chhattisgarh and, Marwar Supergroups, Kurnool, Bhima, and Indravati Groups. He has reported syngenetic fossil cyanobacteria from >2600 Ma Neoarchaean Iron Formation of Karnataka. His studies on 1600 Ma old Vindhyan Supergroup demonstrated that Grypanai spiralis considered to be a eukaryotic fossil is actually a coiled long sheath of prokaryotic cyanobacteria. Chuaria-Tawuia which were once considered as an independent life form for more than a century were shown by him as representing two stages of life cycles of the same organism. From Neoproterozoic Bhima Group, he reported multicellular organisms which show they evolved ca 720 Ma, much earlier than Ediacaran…

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By Anushree Srivastava Crew Biologist – Mars 160 Twin Desert-Arctic Analog Mission Executive Officer and Crew Biologist – Crew 172   Hi Everyone! Here I am with some selected pieces from my diaries written over a period of three months as part of MARS 160 Twin Desert-Arctic Analog Mission and Crew 172. Mars 160 mission recently culminated its first phase at Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in the Utah Desert. The second and final phase of this Mars simulation mission will take place at Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in the High Arctic this summer. Both FMARS and MDRS, founded and administered by The Mars Society, are unique Mars analog habitats, established in 2000 and 2001 respectively. MDRS is located on the San Rafael Swell of southern Utah and FMARS is located near Haughton Impact Crater formed approx. 39 million years ago during the Eocene. The MDRS campus is…

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Emergence and Evolution of Biological Complexity From the origins of life to multicellularity Saturday Feb 4 –  Monday Feb 6, 2017 Dasheri auditorium, NCBS, Bangalore Biology, at all scales from molecular to cellular to populations, provides quintessential examples of complex adaptive systems. This meeting brings together experimentalists, theorists and philosophers to discuss the physical principles underlying the emergence of complexity in biological systems, and how it is shaped by cooperative dynamical behaviour and selective pressures. Speakers will probe events in the history of life on Earth which marked qualitative changes in the complexity of biological systems, such as the origin of life or the appearance of multicellularity, and also discuss our growing quantitative understanding of evolution at the molecular scale. Please note the deadline for Registration: December 15, 2016 – Foreign applicants who need a visa are urged to register as soon as possible to avoid last-minute stress! Organizers:  Clement…

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Astrobiology India has announced a project for college students to join the Young Scientist Program (YSP) of Blue Marble Space Institute of Science (BMSIS)   Project Title – “Astrobiology and Space Science in India”   Project Description  Astrobiology India, an initiative of Blue Marble Space, is aimed to encourage and promote awareness of Astrobiology and Space Sciences in India and to bring together the Indian Astrobiology community worldwide. The Young Scientist Program intends to promote the vision and mission of Astrobiology India by offering an opportunity to a student to conduct a study of the past, present, and future of space science and astrobiology research in India. Specifically, the student would carry out the in-depth literature study of the historical development and present scenario of space science and astrobiology research in India. The report will discuss the foundation of Astrobiology India, its goals, contributions, identification of possible challenges in the…

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By: Benu Atri Science Hack Day is a 2-day-all-night event where anyone excited about making weird, silly or serious things with science get together at a venue to see what they can create within 24 consecutive hours. People form multidisciplinary teams over the course of a weekend: particle physicists team up with school kids, scientists join forces with musicians, and molecular biologists collaborate with electrical circuit building enthusiasts. This excellent video from SHD-2013 beautifully captures the essence of the event: On October 23-24 2015, the 6th annual Science Hack Day took place at the GitHub headquarters in San Francisco. I was very fortunate to have been invited to attend as a science ambassador. Being a part of this accomplished group of folks was incredible! Check out the bios of all the other ambassadors. As an ambassador, I was to participate in the event, give an optional science hack related talk…

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Dr. Dimitra Atri is a computational physicist working on various aspects of astroparticle physics, radiation biophysics, and astrobiology at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science (BMSIS). Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Kansas in May 2011. He has written a number of articles on topics like effects of ionizing radiation on human health, observation of muon excess due to gamma ray bursts detected from space etc. For a full list of his publications, go to http://kusmos.phsx.ku.edu/~dimitra/Publications.html Some of his current projects include, modeling the impact of hard solar events and galactic cosmic rays on astronaut health in long-term space missions, exploring the impact of particle interaction models tuned with LHC data on gamma-ray and neutrino production in our galaxy, modeling the background flux of protons, antiprotons, neutrinos and…

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By: Benu Atri I was recently invited to attend the 1st Blue Marble Science Symposium held in the exquisite Hilton Hotel in Downtown, Chicago on Sunday, 14th of June, 2015. Dr. Jacob Haqq-Misra and Dr. Sanjoy Som, co-founders of the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science (BMSIS) who are also members of the organizing committee of Astrobiology India, organized the symposium. BMSIS is a non-profit research institute with an interdisciplinary approach to studying the relationship between Earth system science, space exploration, and the future of humanity. The attendees of the Blue Marble Science Symposium were a mix of undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and early career investigators from United States as well as international institutions and many of these were BMSIS scientists. The timing of the Blue Marble Symposium was impeccably chosen to be a day before the start of the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) 2015, also held at the same venue. AbSciCon…

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  Professor Vinod Chandra Tewari Senior Scientist (Geology), Astrobiologist, India   Professor Vinod Chandra Tewari recently retired (November 2014) as Senior Scientist (G) and Project Director at  Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, India. He has done extensive research for over 35 years in the field of Precambrian Phanerozoic stromatollites; sedimentation and carbon isotope chemostratigraphy; genesis, early evolution and diversification of life and its astrobiological significance. In his illustrious scientific career, he has been awarded many international fellowships. He was the senior associate and TRIL fellow at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy. He has contributed to several International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) projects such as stromatolites, bio-sedimentology of microbial buildups, phosphorites, Precambrian – Cambrian boundary, global bioevents and the rise and fall of Vendian biota. He is currently the convener of the IGCP project on Asian Tethyan Realm in India.  It is a huge multinational project which, through multidisciplinary investigations, is expected to…

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  NASA SPACEWARD BOUND The Spaceward Bound Program is an educational program developed at NASA Ames Research Center. More information here. The objective is for participating scientific researchers, educators and students to visit remote and extreme environments in different parts of the world and conduct astrogeological/biological experiments, make observations and learn about the origin, sustenance and adaptation of living organisms within such biospheres. Previous spaceward bound expeditions have been conducted in the Mohave Desert USA, North Dakota USA; Idaho USA, Western Australia, Namibian Desert, UAE, Antarctica; high Arctic regions, New Zealand. More information here Traditionally, after the scientific theme of the expedition has been defined, (for example, hot acidic lakes, cold-dry desert, hot-dry desert, etc.), a team consisting of scientists, educators and students visits the site, each with their own objectives to accomplish. The scientists collect samples, conduct preliminary on-site sampling, make observations, and the work usually results in publish worthy data. The…

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Are we alone? Is there life elsewhere in the Universe? Astrobiology attempts to answer such questions. To explain what Astrobiology is, and comment on its status as a research topic in India and India’s first interplanetary mission ‘Mangalyan’, or the Mars Orbiter Mission, Dr. Preeti Nema was invited to the All India Radio Science Magazine program. Dr. Preeti Nema, is a research scientist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, Seattle. She is an astrobiologist, microbiologist, science communicator and is also one of the core team members of Astrobiology India. Here is a segment of the radio program featuring her comments:

    The New Zealand Astrobiology Initiative (NZAI) of the Royal Astronomical Society, New Zealand (RASNZ), is dedicated to encouraging, assisting, and promoting astrobiology research, education and outreach in New Zealand. The lead of the group, Haritina Mogosanu is an astrobiologist (life sciences) who is also trained in public relations, international security and outreach. She loves to travel and share her passion for astronomy, astrobiology and space. She believes that scientific education is a gatekeeper of peace. It makes humankind a better place for all of us. She is a founding and board member of KiwiSpace Foundation and Mars Society New Zealand, and executive member of the World Space Week Association. Hari has been a great friend and supporter of Astrobiology India since its inception. As we continue to collaborate, we as Astrobiology India team congratulate NZAI as they complete a year and wish them boundless success for many more years to…

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Space Pioneer award for the year 2015 was presented to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the Science and Engineering category during the 34th Annual International Space Development Conference held at Toronto in Canada during May 20 -24, 2015. National Space Society (NSS) of USA presented this award in recognition of ISRO’s efforts in accomplishing Mars Mission in its very first attempt. Read More…

Dr K Sivan, Distinguished Scientist and Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Thiruvananthapuram, has assumed the office of the Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, today.  He took over as Director, VSSC from Mr M Chandradathan, who superannuated in end May 2015. Dr Sivan graduated from Madras Institute of Technology in Aeronautical Engineering in 1980 and took his Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore in 1982. Subsequently, he completed his PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2006. Dr Sivan joined ISRO in 1982 to Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) Project and has made rich contributions towards end to end mission planning, mission design, mission integration and analysis. The mission design process and innovative mission design strategies perfected by him for PSLV has become the foundation for ISRO launch vehicles like Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV),  GSLV Mk-III, as well…

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