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Er. Astrobiology Teachers’ Workshop Co-sponsored by NASA NAI, NASA JSC and LPI 1 May 2010 -- Houston TX Astrobiology Thinking about Life, the Universe and TEKS Dr. Margaret S. Race. Workshop Themes: Pattern Recognition New Understanding Paradigm Shifts in Science.

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  1. Er Astrobiology Teachers’ Workshop Co-sponsored by NASA NAI, NASA JSC and LPI 1 May 2010 -- Houston TX Astrobiology Thinking about Life, the Universe and TEKS Dr. Margaret S. Race

  2. Workshop Themes:Pattern Recognition New Understanding Paradigm Shifts in Science Understand real-life exploration and discoveryin a way that will interest and inspire students…

  3. Current Exploration is Interesting… but confusing?Fast Paced Changes in Understanding Of Life On Our Planet Expanding Notions About The Prospects Of Life Elsewhere Dealing with Information across scales, through time, on Earth & elsewhere Lots of Activities in many disciplines…

  4. Exploring The Universe is Like Solving a Really Big Puzzle: Take It One Piece at a Time…. Need A General Framework as a Guide Start With What You Know

  5. Overall Workshop in Context • Astrobiology What it is Astrobiology Roadmap • Astrobiology in Action How we explore and discover Seek to understand ‘Life’ in the Universe Interdisciplinary Science Links with TEKS • Workshop Overview Goals Pattern Recognition New Understanding Paradigm Shifts in Science Activities At End: Understand • AB Roadmap as a Conceptual Framework • Life, Searching for Life & Potential for Life in Universe • Science from Earth outward…through time… • Across Scales- Micro to Macro and Multidisciplinary

  6. Astrobiology Roadmap(1998; Revised 2003; 2008)Study of Origin, Evolution, Distribution and Fate of Life in Universe • Three Main Questions: • Where Do We Come From?How does life begin and evolve? • Are We Alone? Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? How can we Detect it? • Whatis the Future of Life on Earth & Beyond? • The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology • by Steven J. Dick & James E. Strick • Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 2004. • http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/roadmap

  7. Astrobiology in ActionMultiple Pathways for Research and Exploration SEVEN Science Goals- Outlines of Broad Domains of Investigation 1. Understand The Nature & Distribution Of Habitable Environments In The Universe 2. Explore For Habitable Environments & Life In Our Own Solar System 3. Understand The Emergence Of Life 4. Determine How Early Life On Earth Interacted & Evolved With Changing Environment 5. Understand The Evolutionary Mechanisms And Environmental Limits Of Life 6. Determine The Principles That Will Shape Life In The Future 7. Recognize Signatures Of Life On Other Worlds And On Early Earth VIA Eighteen Specific Objectives–High Priority Efforts for next 3-5 years

  8. Astrobiology Unites Disciplines to Study Life in the Universe Origins, Evolution,Distribution and Futureof Life

  9. Where to Start?

  10. Multiple Different Search Types(Question 2: Are We Alone?) • SETI Searches Extrasolar/Habitable Planets Exobiology in the Solar System

  11. Multiple Different Search Types • SETI Searches Radio-telescopes - within Galaxy Discovery: Intelligent Life Unknown Biology or Chemistry Light Years Away (still exist?) Aliens??? Extrasolar/Habitable Planets Telescopes - within Galaxy Discovery: Other Solar Systems; Terrestrial Planets? Information on Atmospheres (Compostion/Conditions?) Maybe Habitable? Life ???

  12. Multiple Different Search Types • SETI Searches • Extrasolar/Habitable Planets • Exobiology in the Solar System ** Missions-- visits Meteorites -- Fossil Evidence? Cosmochemistry(Process; Replication) Origin of Life Research (Lab Experiments) ** Real Time; Potential for Cross Contamination; Biohazards?

  13. Strategy: Build on What We Know… (Life & Environments) Search in Nearby Places Significant Changes in Understanding Universe, Planetary Dynamics Solar System and Earth Life and Its Role on Earth Earth: Only Life We Know in Universe Life: 3 Main Ingredients Raw Materials (chemical elements) Energy Source Liquid Water Advances in Environmental Microbiology Altered View of Earth: Bio-Geo-Chemical World Life Can Live in Extreme Places(Limits Expanded) Microbes Everywhere! Huge Biomass (Leapfrog of Science and Technology)

  14. Astrobiology Searches for • ET in the Solar System Focus on ‘Biological Potential’ andHabitability • Does Target Body have Habitable Conditions? • Could Body Have ET Life? (Now or in Past) • Can We Find Evidence of it now? • Mars:Study of Rocks; Evidence for ET Life (Biomarkers) • Search for Liquid Water • Other Clues (Environmental)? • If On Mars, Perhaps Elsewhere Too? • (likely to be microbial)

  15. 1976 2003 1996 2007 2011 Strategy Has Worked on Mars… Built Understanding about Mars and its Environment over time... More and more indications of water found… Small and large scales…

  16. Small Scale Evidence for Past Water - Sedimentary Layers - Former Salty Water - Watery Past Hematite ‘Blueberries’

  17. Large Scale Indications of Water Water Frost, late 1970’s Gullies; Landslides Glacial Features Snow Accumulation? Polar Ices Recent Gullies?

  18. Environmental Clues:Methane & Caves on Mars 2004 Methane Detected in Mars Atm. Methane degrades ~300 yrs, but replenished on Mars 2007 Caves found on Mars: 150 to 250m diameter 2007 Methanogens can grow in Mars simulant soils 2009 Methane localized in several places

  19. Significant Improvements In Resolution Viking MGS

  20. Continuing Studies of Mars See Present Day Processes Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Images Active Landslides (2008) 0.6 mi across/ Aug 2009

  21. Phoenix May 25, 2008! (Photos from orbiting spacecraft)

  22. Meteor Impact Craters (Before/After) 5 Locations – Indications of Ice

  23. Astrobiologists’ Thinking… • Accumulate Information; Interpret Patterns (‘story’) • Continuing Signs of Water (Ice); Methane; Sub-surface life? • Earth and Mars Similar Pasts? • No Plate Tectonics on Mars • Focus on ‘Best Locations’ to address hypotheses • Only Remote Data or Meteorites So Far… • Rove Further… Dig Deeper…Better Instruments • Hypothesis Testing on a Grand Scale (for all science areas) • For Many Bodies, Locations and Processes….

  24. Link with TEKS • Understand Earth, Life on Earth (as we know it) • Habitability; Conditions/Factors for life • Earth, Solar System Bodies, Features • Locations, Movements, Characteristics • Compare/Contrast Earth with Other Bodies • Environmental Features • Ecosystems, Changes Through Time • Hypothesis Testing-- Scientific Process

  25. Workshop Activities Linked with Themes:Pattern Recognition New Understanding Paradigm Shifts in Science Search for Extrasolar Planets (Kepler Mission) Edna DeVore Deep Time: Reinterpreting Early Earth Brooke Norsted Recognizing Patterns Daniella and Team Life on the Edge (extreme environments) Lisa Pratt & Ruth Droppo The Rock that Started it all- Scientific Process JSC Team

  26. Astrobiology, Incremental Data Accumulation, New Ideas & Understanding, Paradigm Shifts NOTICE THE TIME FRAMES…. Search for Extrasolar Planets ~ 15 years Deep Time: Reinterpreting Early Earth < 5-10 years Life on the Edge (extreme environments) Late 70’s Vents The Rock that Started it all- Scientific Process Mid 90’s Asteroids and Dinosaur Extinction ~ ’79 Human Microbiomes ~ 5-10 years Rapid Changes in Science and Understanding

  27. Experiencing real-time exploration & discovery in ways that will interest and inspire students… Astrobiology = Science Process on a Grand Scale -- Easy to Grasp Different Understanding of Earth and Planets Earth as a Bio-Geo-Chemical Place Think in Fresh Ways about Significance of Life- here & beyond Useful to think about Life-- past, present and future Sometimes, Need to Look Elsewhere to Understand Ourselves

  28. Science Involves Thinking Outside the Box Today’s Reality Comes From Yesterday’s ‘Outside The Box’ and Today’s ‘Outside The Box’ Represents Tomorrow’s Possibilities (Both Successes And Failures) Keeping up with changes is essential!

  29. Try To Understand The Universe One Piece At A Time Astrobiologists: What is the Nature of Life? Do We Live In A Biological Universe? Is Life A Cosmic Imperative? If Yes If No Highly Significant

  30. Questions?

  31. Framing the Issues: Science & Scientists in the Real World(Recognize Where and How Science Fits) Science and Scientists (Not just in textbooks!) Need to Distinguish Basic Science Facts (Uncertainties; Data Interpretation) vs. Applied Science, Decision Making vs. Societal Implications (Short and Long Term)

  32. Viewing it in Context Era of Exploration… Perhaps Discovery? Need Broad Perspective: Astrobiology & Society • Science Ahead of Policy Science and Issues in a Democratic Process Uncertainty in Science and when Making Decisions Controversy- Experts on Both Sides Race

  33. Here’s Where Planetary Protection Fits… Responsible Exploration (Avoid Past Mistakes…) PP = Environmental Protection for the Solar System

  34. The Reasons for ‘Planetary Protection’ -- • Outer Space Treaty of 1967: • Avoid Harmful Cross Contamination of Planets and Adverse Effects on Earth from Space Exploration • Forward Contamination: • Introduction onto Mars of Terrestrial Microbes on Outbound Spacecraft or Equipment • Back Contamination: • Introduction onto Earth of Biological Contamination or Life Forms in Returned Samples or Equipment • How To Plan Missions With PP?? Translate Treaties & Policies Into “Responsible Exploration” ** Conservative Approach… Revise Over Time Based on Science Findings (Biosafety)

  35. Continue Responsible Exploration and Anticipate Ramifications of Current & Future Exploration • Much is ‘Routine’– Science and Technology Process • Until Now– Decisions Made by • Scientists &Technologists… (Outer Space Treaty) • Mission Planning and EISs (disclose & mitigate risks) • Begin to See Issues That Go Beyond Science • Recognize Need More than Just Science • Build On Existing Laws, Ethics, etc.But… • All Laws, Ethics, Theologies Based on Life as We Know It • Can We Systematically Address the Issues? • How do we know what’s Right? Responsible?

  36. One Way to Look Ahead “…I think it is important that the story be told. This country supports the largest scientific establishment in the history of mankind. New discoveries are constantly being made, and many of these discoveries have important political or social overtones. In the near future, we can expect more crises on the pattern of Andromeda. Thus I believe it is useful for the public to be made aware of the way in which scientific crises arise, and are dealt with.” Michael Crichton, January 1969 Impacts on us and by us…

  37. Examples of Possible Issues Ahead: Don’t need science fiction to anticipate… (Some May Be Years-Decades; Others Decades to Centuries) What = Environmental Ethics Beyond Earth? Plans/Issues Upon Discovery…vs. After Private Sector Activities Planetary Defensefrom Near Earth Objects (NEOs) Living in Space and Evolution of Life

  38. Outer Space Treaty 1967 Avoid harmful cross contamination during exploration PP Policiesbased on science and technology Avoid interfering with opportunity to explore Avoid Adverse changes on Earth (biosafety) BUT… There Could be ET life ?? Ethical considerations towards Mars and Martians?? No ethical input on how to approach ET environments So: Upcoming International Workshop (2010) (COSPAR) Examine whether to integrate ethical considerations into PP policy 1. Complications Involving Ethics of ET Life and Environments

  39. SETI Principles….Upon Discovery Short Term- Verification and sharing of information Long Term– Consult with humankind before respond Who besides scientist should decide? No enforcement How would the world react? Psychological Effects? “Meaning” todifferent religions or culture? Significance? Similar Questions about Microbial ET life?(sooner) NO Operational vs. Long Term Policies Exist at present Colonization? Tourism? Resource Use? Reversible Contamination? Terraforming? (what kind of life to favor?) If ET exists, How relate to Genesis and Creation? Psychology? New View: Biological Universe. Need Cosmocentric focus? Interdisciplinary Workshops on Astrobiology Societal Issues Develop Roadmap of Astrobiology Issues (Research Needs) Questions About Interactions with Other Beings

  40. 2. Looking Beyond Science… Private Sector Making Gains

  41. Commercial & Private Venture Plans: Commercial Delivery Business -- Transport payloads to the Moon for science, exploration and commerce Modular Lunar Landers–Spacecraft Bus Airline approach to pricing & cost sharing Other Ventures: Tourism, Astro-Burials; Strip Mining & Resource Use; Asteroids; Stake Claims/Ownership Space Debris - End of Life? (Liability? Cumulative Impacts etc.) Many Questions about Private Sector: Human Sites Preserved? Monuments To Humankind? Who Regulates? Private Sector Vs. Government Environmental Management? Designated Pristine Areas? Celestial Bodies As Sacred To Some Cultures Relationship To Bodies Without Life? With Life? Space Faring Nations vs. Non-Spacefaring; Future Generations etc.

  42. 3. PLANETARY DEFENSE from Near Earth Objects(NEOs)THREATS TO LIFE-Potentially Hazardous Asteroids and Comets Leonid meteor shower Smallest, most frequent Second Week Dust Peekskill meteorite Boulder Huge, extremely rare Building 15 km Millennium 100 Myr Tunguska, 1908 K-T mass extinction, 65 Myr ago Mountain 500,000 yr SL9 hits Jupiter 1994 Sizes and Impact Frequencies of NEOs

  43. We Know How to Detect and Deflect NEOs Smallest NEOs: “Natural Hazards” & Disasters (Localized) Do we deflect (at great cost) or let them hit? Largest: End of Civilization(Philosophical concern) Most Dangerous, but most unlikely. NEOs >1 km require nuclear technique: Do we use it? Costs? Liability? Unusual International Political, Military, Legal Issues Who Should Make Decisions? (Just scientists now) There’s no national or international responsibility (yet) Report to UN (COPUOS) by Assn. of Space Explorers (Feb 2009)

  44. 4. Some Issues are More Hypothetical: Really Long Term…. Many Decades or Longer Human Directed Evolution? Migration Beyond Earth? Mutation… Speciation? Obligations to Humans Afar? Astrobiology PLUS Other Fields Transformations of Mind and Body Like Synthetic Biology; Nanotechnology…. Deliberate Evolution? Transhumans ? Life’s Future?

  45. Who Knows What the Future Holds ? The World Need Lots of Experts… Many Occupations…and Roles.. Personal & Professional Decision Making… Astronaut, Rocket Scientist, Doctor, Marine Biologist, Inventor, Lawyer, Nurse, Environmentalist, Nutritionist, Journalist, Geologist, Clothing Designer, Chemist, Ethicist, Psychologist, Finance, Statistician, Artist, Hospital Administrator, Business, Teacher, Auto Industry Sports Trainer, Architect, Computer Programmer, Engineers, City Planner, Physics, Forensics, Agriculture, Environmental Management, Fire Sciences, Paramedic, Green Technology, Film Making, ‘Consumer’,Citizen,etc… Progress is based on STEM subjects plus others… Need To Keep Thinking… Lots Of Teamwork… Soon It’ll Be Students’ Turn To Make Decisions….

  46. Science Involves Thinking Outside the Box Today’s Reality Comes From Yesterday’s ‘Outside The Box’ and Today’s ‘Outside The Box’ Represents Tomorrow’s Possibilities (Both Successes And Failures) Keeping up with changes is essential!

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