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FAR Seminar Archive


Education & Outreach

At a Glance

The 2010 Summer Undergraduate Internships in Astrobiology is a ten-week research program held each year at Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland. During this period, each Intern conducts an intensive research project on a state-of-the art question under the direction of an individual mentor. Mentors are members of the Goddard Center for Astrobiology. At the conclusion of the ten-week program, each student presents his or her research in a NAI Forum in Astrobiology Research (FAR).


The 2010 SUIA Students - Pictured left to right: Jan-Luca Bell (Eckerd College), Emily Sudholt (University of Missouri), Rebecca Mickol (University of Colorado), Michael Kopstein (College of William and Mary), Sean Po (Harvard University), Iva Gerasimenko (Randolph College)

_ The SUIA Students ready for their first day at GSFC.

Jan-Luca Bell's Presentation

Co-I Reggie Hudson(GSFC/NASA) mentored Jan-Luca Bell (Eckerd College). Mr. Bell's project during his 10-week SUIA internship at the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center was to work on two different projects. The first project was to study low-temperature pathways to amino-acid formation. The second project measured optical properties, such as refractive indices, of icy materials.


Iva Gerasimenko's Presentation

Iva Gerasimenko (Randolph College) measured the abundances of the highly siderophile elements in multiple chunks of the same rock in order to identify its "fingerprints". This work contributed to the expanding database for lunar impactors. Her mentor was Dr. Richard Walker (GCA/U of Md).


Michael Kopstein (College of William and Mary) was mentored by Drs. Natasha Johnson, Jason Dworkin and Jamie Elisla (NASA/GSFC). Under the guidance of Natasha Johnson, Mr. Kopstein generated FTT organic residues at a given temperature and periodically extract them from the apparatus based on the infrared spectra. This material was split and one fraction analyzed for bulk ∂15N and ∂13C via elemental analysis-isotopic ratio mass spectrometry (EA-IRMS) under the guidance of Jamie Elsila and the other fraction extracted for amino acids via fluorescence liquid chromatography-time of flight mass spectrometry (LC-FD/ToF-MS) under the guidance of Jason Dworkin and Jamie Elsila.


Rebecca Mickol's Presentation

Rebecca Mickol (University of Colorado) worked with Dr. Geronimo Villanueva (GCA/Catholic U), analyzing the echelle infrared spectra of Mars and created a spectral catalog. The observed spectra was compared to the expected signatures of more than 20 biomarker gases, and abundances or upper limits were derived.


Sean Po (Harvard University) was mentored by Dr. Avi Mandell (NASA/GSFC).Sean examined infrared observations of gas in protoplanetary disks around young stars, in order to quantify the presence of water and organic molecules in the region of the disk where planets form. He acquired a basic understanding of how to detect molecules using infrared spectroscopy, focusing specifically on the structure of spectra of simple molecules such as H2O, OH, and HCN and then learn to reduce data for protoplanetary disks acquired with the Keck telescope, primarily working with existing computer programs that rapidly convert the original data images to spectra.


Undergraduate student Emily Sudholt (University of Missouri - St. Louis) conducted a preliminary search for HDO and detected H2O and OH* in the spectra of comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin) obtained by NIRSPEC at the Keck II telescope atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii. She obtained spatial profiles and g-factors (prompt emission efficiency measured in OH photons / sec / H2O molecule) for OH* and rotational temperature and production rate for H2O. Emily also derived a preliminary upper limit for HDO/H2O. Her mentor was Dr. Boncho Bonev (GCA/Catholic U).



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