Building on the success of the 2018 Astrobiology Colloquium, Georgia Tech Astrobiology and ExplOrigins groups are proud to announce the 2019 Exploration and Origins Colloquium, which will take place on March 29, 2019. This is the 2nd annual networking event under the theme of exploring the universe and origins of life.

This year the colloquium is split in two sections: the first section is focused on space exploration technology and planetary science, and the second is oriented toward the chemistry and biology of the origins and the search for life. The event will consist of presentations and talks by early career scientists, i.e. graduate and undergraduate students, and post-doctoral fellows, working in the exciting fields of space and planetary science, engineering and astrobiology across Georgia Tech campus and the greater Atlanta. There will also be plenary lectures given by distinguished members of the global astrobiology community. The objective of this interdisciplinary colloquium is to forge connections across the kinds of research at Georgia Tech straddling the boundaries between technology development and hypothesis testing in the search for life’s beginnings and to explore collaborative ideas among participants. Hence, senior researchers and faculty are also highly encouraged to attend.

Registration and Abstract Submission

Registration forthe 2019Exploration and Origins Colloquium has opened up! Please note:

  • Abstracts must be no more than 2000 characters including spaces.
  • Abstracts will be accepted as written, so please check for spelling and grammar.
  • No e-mails or PDF uploads are allowed.

Submit an abstract and register as a presenter

Register for the program (general attendees)

Keynote and oral presentations
will be in Room 1005 of Krone Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB), 950 Atlantic Drive, NW, Atlanta. GA 30332.

The poster session will be in the Atrium 1 (first floor) and Atrium 2 (second floor) of Molecular Science and Engineering Building (MoSE), 901 Atlantic Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30318.

For all other questions, please contact us

Plenary Speakers:

Kevin Hand, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr. Hand is a Deputy Project Scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is also the founder of Cosmos Education and was its president until 2007. As a planetary scientist and astrobiologist, his research focuses on numerical modeling, laboratory experiments, and instrument development to advance our understanding of the physics and chemistry of icy moons in the outer solar system. He is also interested in characterizing the connection between terrestrial cryosphere processes and the climate change record. Dr. Hand is currently involved in projects connected to NASA’s Europa mission which will conduct detailed investigation on whether the icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life.

Sara Walker, Arizona State University

Professor Walker is an astrobiologist and theoretical physicist at Arizona State University, the Deputy Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, and the Associate Director of the ASU-Santa Fe Institute Center for Biosocial Complex Systems. She is also Co-founder of the astrobiology-themed social website, and a member of the Board of Directors of Blue Marble Space. Her work centers on in the origin of life and how to find life on other worlds. She is most interested in whether or not there are ‘laws of life’ – related to how information structures the physical world – that could universally describe life here on Earth and on other planets. She is active in public engagement in science, with appearances at the World Science Festival and on “Through the Wormhole” and NPR’s Science Frid


Organizing Committee

Micah Schaible (Postdoctoral Fellow)
George Dragos Zaharescu (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Peter Colin (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Tyler Roche (Graduate Student)
Zijian Li (Graduate Student)
Pengxiao Xu (Graduate Student)

Faculty Advisors

Martha Grover

Schedule (tentative)

March 29, 2019

  • 8:15 AM – 9:00 AM: Coffee and Poster Setup
  • 9:00 AM – 9:10 AM: Welcome notes

Topic: Planetary Science and Exploration

  • 9:10 AM – 10:10 AM: Plenary 1: Kevin Hand, NASA JPL
  • 10:10 AM – 12:10 PM: Explorationsection
  • 12:10 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch, atrium of Krone Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB)

Topic: Life Origins and its Detection

  • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Plenary 2: Sara Walker, Arizona State University
  • 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Originssection
  • 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Postersession
  • 6:00 PM – 7:15 PM: Dinner (location TBD)