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|ASB Decadic Review|
UK Space Agency announces £2M funding awards for astrobiology and planetary science
The UKSA has announced nine funding awards, totalling £2M, for science associated with Mars exploration. This scheme will enhance the UK’s science capabilities; help us to understand the Martian environment and to search for traces of past and present life.
Two of the awards will enable UK researchers to benefit from NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. The new American rover, ‘Curiosity,’ is due to land on the Red Planet in August 2012, and will deliver vital data for scientists assessing the viability of life on the planet.
Fellowships were awarded to Dr Lewis Dartnell to move to the University of Leicester and Dr Karen Olsson-Francis of the Open University, both of whom sit on the committee for the Astrobiology Society of Britain, and Dr Pete Grindrod of University College London. Each Fellow will work for three years on key scientific questions focused on the search for life on Mars. Dr Dartnell said “I’m absolutely delighted with this award. The fellowship will allow me to really focus on research. Raman is particularly exciting as it can spot signs of extreme life in the most hostile environments on Earth – and has lots of other applications, like detecting drugs – but has not yet been deployed on a planetary mission.
Charles Cockell from the University of Edinburgh, Mark Sephton from Imperial College London and Mark Price of the University of Kent all received awards to support their work, looking respectively at the habitability of Mars; the application of Mars-bound instruments in Earth-based experiments; and the chemistry of meteor and comet impacts on the Martian surface. Axel Hagermann of the Open University received an award to enable his study of the Martian polar caps, and the potential of these regions to support life.
For a full list of the successful principal investigators, project titles, and awarded funds, see the UKSA announcement
ASB Decadic Review - Members Questionnaire
Since its inception in 2003, the Astrobiology Society of Britain (ASB) has set out to be the national organization representing all practicing scientists, researchers, teachers, students with an interest in astrobiology.
As 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the ASB, now would appear a good time to take stock and assess how the ASB should focus its collective attentions for the next 5-10 year period. As part of this forward look the ASB committee have commissioned a short questionnaire for all members to gauge your views on:
(i) The ASB mission. Does it need reviewing; and if so how?
(ii) Are there any new/different activities that the ASB should engage in?
(iii) How best these ASB activities can support its members and the wider community
Current ASB Mission Statement
From the origins of life to a human presence on other planetary surfaces, from the effects of asteroid and comet impacts on the Earth's environment to the search for life elsewhere, the field of astrobiology covers scientific questions and problems that require inter-disciplinary connections between biological and space sciences. The Astrobiology Society of Britain, founded in March 2003, serves its members and the astrobiology community as a whole in the UK in:
(i) Fostering links between the various and many disciplines that comprise the science of astrobiology in order to ensure that astrobiology research in the UK is vigorous, progressive and successful.
(ii) To provide a mechanism for members of the astrobiology community to meet, collaborate make the community aware of UK astrobiology activities, and encourage new students and researchers into the field.
(iii) To act as a professional society to organise and co-sponsor meetings and provide an environment favourable for the development of inter-disciplinary connections between biological and space sciences.
We are most grateful for your time and good offices in completing this questionnaire, which should hopefully take little more than few minutes. Please tick the box that you consider to be the most appropriate response for each question. The numbers 1 – 6 refer respectively to low value and high value answers respectively. Following each question, there is a space available for additional comments and it is these entries that are most valued as they give us a better indication of how the ASB can best serve its member and the wider astrobiological community.
The Decadic review can be downloaded here
|Last Updated on Monday, 02 July 2012 16:52|