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Methane Viewer

Spotlight on GCA Video

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Mumma who receives the 2010 NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award:
"In recognition of the first definitive detection of methane in the atmosphere of Mars, revealing an active and dynamic planet and a
possible abode for life beyond Earth."


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News 2010

Amino Acids Found in Meteorites from Asteroid 2008 TC3

GCA scientists Drs. Jason Dworkin, Michael Callahan, and Jamie Elsila analyzed fragments of meteorites from the asteroid 2008 TC3 that were recovered from the Nubian Desert of northern Sudan after its impact on October 7, 2008. To their surprise, they detected 19 different amino acids from the sample. The sample had various minerals that only form under high temperatures, indicating it was forged in a violent collision. The team thinks that it's unlikely amino acids from the colliding parent bodies could have survived the conditions that created the meteorite, which endured temperatures of more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (over 1,100 Celsius) – over a long period. The team is planning experiments to test an alternative way to produce amino acids involving reactions in gases as a very hot asteroid cools down. Having more ways to make amino acids in space would increase the chance for finding life elsewhere in the Universe. - 12.15.2010

Glavin's Paper in Meteoritics and Planetary Science
Now Accepting Applications for 2011-Undergraduate Research Associates in Astrobiology Program

The 2011 Undergraduate Research Associates in Astrobiology Program (UR-AA) is a 10-week program for undergraduate candidates. Research Associates work with a mentor and participate in weekly seminars, laboratory visits, and a field trip to Greenbank Radio Observatory. The URAA program culminates with a poster presentation and a brief seminar given during the last week of the program in a NAI Forum in Astrobiology Research (FAR) Seminar. The application can be found by clicking the Education and Outreach tab.

2010 Students
Why the Earth and Mars have more glitzy metals than the Moon

The Moon has much less gold, platinum and palladium (highly siderophile elements) compared to Earth and Mars. These heavy elements were likely delivered to the mantles of Earth, Moon and Mars by asteroid impacts after completion of their respective core formation, via a process termed "late accretion". William Bottke at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado and GCA Co-I Richard Walker at the University of Maryland built a dynamical model of late accretion with impactors of different sizes. They concluded that the disparity in these elemental abundances could be explained if Earth and Mars received their highly siderophile elements from impacts of a very limited number of large (Pluto-size) bodies, whereas the Moon was struck by much smaller bodies. They note that such Moon-impacting bodies could have delivered enough water to provide an alternate explanation for the presence of water in the lunar mantle. -12.09.2010

Nature Blog
Europa's Hidden Ice Chemistry

Mark Loeffler (GSFC) and Reggie Hudson (GCA) report reactions between two ices at temperatures hundreds of degrees below freezing without the need for radiation to drive the chemistry. The findings could revamp our understanding of Europa and other icy moons. - 10.5.2010

Dust Models Paint Alien's View of Solar System

Collaboration between scientists at two NASA Astrobiology Institutes: Marc Kuchner (GCA) and Chris Stark (Carnegie Institute of Washington), produced supercomputer simulations tracking the interactions of thousands of dust grains that show what the solar system might look like to alien astronomers searching for planets. The models also provide a glimpse of how this view might have changed as our planetary system matured. - 09.23.2010

GCA Releases Video Highlight in Spanish

Geronimo Villanueva talks about the possibility of life on Mars, trips to remote telescopes, and the research opportunities at NASA in Spanish - 09.14.2010

Spanish Video  |  Other GCA Video Highlights
Extrasolar Origin of Oort Cloud Comets

GCA Co-I Hal Levison (SwRI) and his international team demonstrated through computer simulations that many of the most well known Oort Cloud comets, including Halley, Hale-Bopp and, most recently, McNaught, may have been born in orbit around other stars. - 6.10.2010

SwRI press release  |  Science Express Article
Oort Cloud
GCA Scientist L.D.Deming Awarded the Tinsley Prize for Detection of IR Radiation from Exoplanets

Dr. L. Drake Deming of the Goddard Center for Astrobiology (GCA) has been named by the American Astronomical Society as the recipient of the 2010 Beatrice Tinsley Prize. The Tinsley Prize is awarded bi-annually for unusually creative or innovative research in astrophysics. Deming was cited for "...detecting thermal infrared emission from transiting extrasolar planets using the Spitzer Space Telescope.  - Press Release 1.13.2010
Sun Glints From Space Signal Oceans and Lakes

In two new videos from NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft, bright flashes of light known as sun glints act as beacons signaling large bodies of water on Earth. These observations give scientists a way to pick out planets beyond our solar system (extrasolar planets) that are likely to have expanses of liquid, and so stand a better chance of having life. - 01.05.2010

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  Other Things
Dr. M. Mumma Audio Interview from Science Friday - Mysterious Gas on Mars - 01.16.09
Dr. M. Mumma Audio Interview - Gas Plume on Mars Signals Potential Life - 01.16.09
Interview on Left Handed Acid from Space - Dr. Danny Glavin
Podcast of Dr. Drake Deming's - There is No Place Like Home - 03.03.09
Comet Wild 2 Podcast
Media / Articles
Review Article on Emerging Classification of Comets based on Chemical Composition
GSFC Press Release on Hartlet-2 - A New Breed of Comet?
Animation on the Stardust path through Wild 2 Jets
Dr. Mumma's Keck Lecture on Comets - 2004
Published Paper in Science - Methane on Mars - 2003
Baking the Rover is Not An Option - 11/20/08
Volcanoes May Have Provided Sparks and Chemistry for First Life - 10.16.08
Mars - An Active Planet (1 of 2)
Mars - An Active Planet (2 of 2) - 1.15.09
Dr. Danny Glavin's Article in "Quirks & Quarks" - 3.21.09
Conceptual Animation Demonstrating Spectroscopy to Find Methane on
Mars - 1.15.09
Visualization of Methane Plume Found on Mars During Northern Summer Season - 1.15.09
Methane on Mars - How Geochemical Processes and How Biological Organisms Under Mars Surface May Have Produced Methane - 1.15.09
Press on Astrobio 2010 Santiago

More Media / Articles...

Key Publications
Absolute Measurements of Methane on Mars
Methane and Water
on Mars: Maps of Active Regions and Their Seasonal Variability
Measurement of the
Isotopic Signatures of Water on Mars; Implications for Studying Methane
Measurements with the Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument
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