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Sorry I was just curious to know , 

Sorry !! 

No worries! Like I said, we'll happily try to answer your questions as you have them, and I totally understand your excitement and curiosity about being involved in astrobiology (it's a wonderful realm of study that has room for everyone and I'm glad you want to know more!). However, please do understand that it can take some time for us to be able to answer.

Do dark matter inetarct ? 

That's a fun question. I assume you're asking if dark matter interacts with other matter that we know of, but the real answer is "we don't know". What makes dark matter "dark", is that we can't observe it directly using any of our current methods (instead, we infer it due to how it appears to effect things like the rotation of galaxies). However, it might even be a bad name, because we also don't really know if dark matter is even matter. A lot of particle physicists like to think that everything must be explained by particles, but maybe there aren't any particles for dark matter. It could be something else that our current physics doesn't quite allow us to explain. Dark matter and dark energy are two of the places where cosmology is trying to help us uncover more of the universe than we currently understand!

Thanks for thinking me about it in nights !!

Hello all! 

I had a question I was hoping to get some advice on. I am a current graduate student working on my master's in biology studying viruses. My current school does not have any astrobiology program or astronomy program to speak of so I was planning on moving on to another school that has an astrobiology certification or something similar to do my Ph.D. The problem I am seeing is a lot of the schools do not seem to be current in publications and their astrobiology websites do not seem to update very often. For the purpose of an aspiring astrobiologist should I go ahead and move schools or stay at my current school and just continue to do my Ph.D. 

Thanks!

Hi Gage. This is a pretty important question, and I don't think anyone wants to tell you what is inherently best to do. For instance, many of the schools that have astrobiology certificates or dual degrees with astrobiology also do happen to have programs, departments, or at the least communities centered around astrobiology. These are schools like CU Boulder, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin Madison, Georgia Tech, Pennstate, and several others. However, just because your school doesn't have an astrobiology degree or certificate or a developed program, that doesn't in any way mean that you need to change schools or have those things to become an astrobiologist. You could certainly continue on your PhD at your current institution and still be an astrobiologist. However, it depends on the kinds of questions you want to answer, the research you want to do, who you want to work with, and what you feel you need in your professional life to find satisfaction and to feel like you are contributing within your communities. If you feel you need to be among a community who support astrobiology research and want have programs in place, then you may wish to consider some of these other schools and other potential PhD advisors. However, if you stayed at your current school, perhaps you could create an astrobiology journal club, astrobiology coffee hour or meetup, or be the person who wrangles others with interest. And, really, when it comes to it, you could stay at your current school and still join the rest of us online for so many webinars and remote programs. So, I won't say I think it's best to go one way or the other, but I do think it's best for you to ask yourself what will mean the most for you and how will you find the most meaning in your life.

Thank you, Graham this was very helpful. I guess was just stuck in this idea that to get a job as an astrobiologist I had to attend one of those schools. This gives me more to think about! 

Oh, yeah. I understand that, but can also 100% confirm that that is not the case. Many of us come to astrobiology from a variety of schools, departments, degree programs, and life experiences. While being at a school with a developed and supportive astrobiology community and program can be helpful for a lot of people, it's also not necessary for joining us in astrobiology. Indeed, with so many things moving online these days, it's easier than ever to connect with other astrobiologists and nerd out on all of the awesomeness regardless of where you live!

Thank you for the insight! While I have you; Is virology a discussed topic amongst astrobiologists? I can't seem to find a lot of literature on the subject. 

It is! Just back in 2019 there was an astrovirology workshop-without-walls held by the NASA Astrobiology Institute: https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/seminars/featured-seminar-channel....

The organizers had been working on some papers to bring together the current knowledge in astrovirology (though I'm not sure of the current status of those papers). Also, virology in general is an important topic in the realm of understanding life and seeking out signs of other life (especially as viruses have long been one of the primary reasons that our attempted definitions of life seems to fail). 

I watched this live and totally forgot it happened! This is a gold mine of information. Thank you!

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