You have to understand life if you are going to try and find it, particularly when you are looking in hostile alien environments.
Scientists at Arizona State University are engaged in a broadly-based search for ancient and current life that extends from the biosystems of toxic hot springs of the deep ocean, to the deep subsurface crust, to salty, alkaline lakes, and back in time to looking at stardust and meteorites left over from the early evolution of the solar system, to the fossil record of ancient life both here on Earth and on other bodies in the solar system, like Mars and Europa. This work involves the use of a wide variety of advanced technologies, ranging from highly sophisticated molecular analysis, to robots and advanced sensors for exploring distant planets and moons.
Though they come from diverse disciplines, these researchers are all united by a central question -- does life exist beyond the earth?
Now, thanks to a new NASA research initiative, these disparate efforts will be connected by more than their goals. ASU is one of 5 university partners selected for membership in NASA's new "virtual" Astrobiology Institute and ASU research will be united under the auspices of a new ASU Astrobiology Center that will coordinate curriculum development in astrobiology and help coordinate ongoing research with the work of scientists at other institutions around the country.
Planned to take advantage of the next generation of internet technology, the NASA
Astrobiology Institute will be administered by Ames Research Center in California, NASA's
center of excellence for Astrobiology and Information Technology. The new institute will use
Next Generation Internet (NGI) and advanced telecommunications to link together the
investigators and students at separate member institutions around the country. The NGI will also
be used to facilitate the development of a variety of "virtual" institute activities to advance
research and educat
Contact: James Hathaway
Arizona State University