CoS funding for GT Astrobiology!

Astrobiology News

The GT Astrobiology Program was funded by College of Sciences Strategic Goals and the Sutherland Dean’s Chair for an infusion of $69k over the next three years!

News article here.

We plan to use this award to fund student fellowships, ExplOrigins symposia, seminar speakers, student travel support, and creation of a new Astrobiology Undergraduate Certificate program!

Space Science Week @Tech is here! Join the festivities for the Perseverance Landing!

Events

Welcome to Space Science week at Georgia Tech!  Georgia Tech’s Center for Space Tecnology and Research and the ExplOrigins team–our GT Early career Astrobiology community–are teaming up to bring you a fantastic week of events and information about the Red Planet, and the history and exploration of our solar system.  We’re excited to showcase some of the exciting work being done here at Tech, and help celebrate the landing of NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars this Thursday!
Each day, we’ll send out some Mars Minutes to help you get informed and excited for the big events this Wednesday through Friday.  The schedule follows below.

Today’s Mars Minute is a rundown of the Mars 2020 mission and the Perseverance Rove
Every two years, the orbits are right to send a mission to Mars.  With the Mars 2020 mission, the goal is to start the ambitious Mars Sample Return program.  The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover will search for signs of ancient microbial life, which will advance NASA’s quest to explore the past habitability of Mars. The rover has a drill to collect core samples of Martian rock and soil, then store them in sealed tubes for pickup by a future mission that would ferry them back to Earth for detailed analysis. Perseverance will also test technologies to help pave the way for future human exploration of Mars. Strapped to the rover’s belly for the journey to Mars is a technology demonstration — the Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity, may achieve a “Wright Brothers moment “ by testing the first powered flight on the Red Planet.

Check out the Mars 2020 Mission Trailer here:https://mars.nasa.gov/resources/25473/perseverance-arrives-at-mars-feb-18-2021-mission-trailer/

Check out details here:

Titan@Tech

Events

CSTAR Distinguished Lecture

Dragonfly: In Situ Exploration of Titan’s Organic Chemistry and Habitability

Dr. Elizabeth Turtle, PI of Dragonfly Mission

Thursday, November 19, 6:30 pm

REGISTER: https://primetime.bluejeans.com/a2m/register/rgyxupxq

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is an Ocean World with a dense atmosphere, abundant complex organic material on its icy surface, and a liquid-water ocean in its interior. The joint NASA-ESA Cassini-Huygens mission revealed Titan to be surprisingly Earth-like, with active geological processes and opportunities for organic material to have mixed with liquid water on the surface in the past. These attributes make Titan a singular destination to seek answers to fundamental questions about what makes a planet or moon habitable and about the pre-biotic chemical processes that led to the development of life here on Earth.
 
NASA’s Dragonfly New Frontiers mission is a rotorcraft lander designed to perform wide-ranging in situ investigation of the chemistry and habitability of this fascinating extraterrestrial environment. Taking advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere and low gravity, Dragonfly can fly from place to place, exploring diverse geological settings to measure the compositions of surface materials and observe Titan’s geology and meteorology. Dragonfly will make multidisciplinary science measurements at dozens of sites, traveling ~150 km during a 3-year mission to characterize Titan’s habitability and determine how far organic chemistry has progressed in environments that provide key ingredients for life.
 
Speaker bio: Dr. Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle is a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Her research combines remote-sensing observations and numerical geophysical models to study geological structures and their implications for planetary surfaces, interiors, and evolution, including tectonics and impact cratering on terrestrial planets and outer planet satellites, the thickness of Europa’s ice shell, Ionian mountain formation, and Titan’s lakes and weather. She is the Principal Investigator for the Dragonfly New Frontiers mission to Titan and the Europa Imaging System (EIS) cameras on the Europa Clipper mission, and has participated in the Galileo, Cassini, and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter missions. She earned her Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences from Univ. Arizona and B.S. in Physics from MIT.