If you are trying to ask a question live during Ask an Astrobiologist, please do so in the main chatroom at the bottom of the screen! You can also ask on twitter @saganorg using #AskAstrobio

Right now, the SAGANet team is working hard to bring you a brand new version of the site! On our new platform, it will be much easier to ask your questions and get answers, interact with astrobiology Experts, and participate in our live show.

In the meantime, we have set up this temporary discussion forum where you can post your questions. We will do our best to move them over to the new site when we launch, so feel free to discuss anything astrobiology right here!

Views: 1361

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for the info.  I never heard of buoyancy principle before.  I will file that away in my archive of ideas.  I also plan on trying out the experiment.

For living underwater, maybe we can affect the gene expression of humans so they can transform into mermaids underwater and transform back into humans when they go out of the water like the Little Mermaid.  Or what about Water World where the male protagonist had gills and webbed feet.  I know that may sound far fetched but genes are a language and if we master it, anything is possible.

Thanks,

Matt/Ishka

Yeah, there's a lot of unknown potential in genetic engineering. Though much of it seems far-fetched or far-off in the future, we're on the cusp of learning a lot more about how to control phenotypic expression, so who knows what may be possible in 100, 1,000, or 10,000 years.

In the meantime, there are groups who are looking into moving humans into underwater colonies. Atlantica and the Seasteading Institute are both working in that realm. 

Matthew,

It seems unlikely that we could genetically engineer human beings to change between mermaid form and human form. Gene expression can change based on circumstances, yes, but the genes would have to be there to begin with in order for a change in expression to reveal anything. Further, genetically engineering humans with that level of sophistication is likely out of reach for us, at least within our lifetimes. The CRISPR baby fiasco demonstrates just how little we really know and how many ethical challenges have not been worked out. Lastly, even if we could do all of that, a change as significant as growing a tail and gills and then going back to legs, etc would be too difficult for the body given the metabolic resources that would be required to grow, lose, and regrow whole organs on an as-needed basis. It might make more sense for there to be one body type that is adapted to multiple environments. I do agree that genes are a language, and that mastering said language opens up many possibilities. I'm not sure this exact scenario you are describing is one of them, but perhaps once we work out the ethical quandaries of studying such drastic, intentional changes to human physiology, we will be able to do many things to help ourselves live our best lives.

Thanks for being in our community!

Gina

İs it possible to stop climate changing? And what should i do as a student for stop this change? Im a activist but it doesn't satisfy to just say things that we going to face in the future cause a lot of person doesn't mind me that means they're not mind my future. For this reason I want to make concrete and visible change for animals, humans, plants and for our future. 

Mert 

Hi Mert,

The short answer is probably not, in the sense that some amount of climate change is most likely inevitable at this point. Human-related climate change includes not only fossil fuel combustion over the past centuries but also changes in land use (such as deforestation) that have occurred over even longer periods of time. 

The good news is that the future is still open, and we can steer our planet and civilization toward a more desirable climate trajectory through policy and collective action. Even the worst climate change scenarios are unlikely to cause human extinction; however, a warming climate will make food more expensive, fresh water scarcer, immigration to temperate/wealthy nations greater, and generally contribute to political unrest from the combination of these and other factors. Taking action on climate change today is important to help reduce the impact of these issues and many more.

Activism is important for climate change, because part of the solution needs to involve cooperation among the world's nations. This is because climate change is a shared problem, analogous to the "Tragedy of the Commons," where it is everyone's problem and nobody's responsibility. We don't need to stick to any particular political party's agenda, but it is important that policymakers understand the science of climate change and then work within the constraints of their offices to develop realistic solution. So I definitely encourage you to continue your activism at federal, state, and local levels (this also applies outside the US).

Personal action is also important. We may not be able to solve climate change ourselves, but we can reduce our ecological footprint by creating less waste and examining our lifestyle choices. Part of the underlying cause of climate change is our continual demand for energy, so a general reduction in our energy consumption is probably a good place to start. Supporting renewable energy technology is also a way to make a difference at a personal level, as adopting such technologies shows companies that there is consumer demand for them and also helps to make such technologies more mainstream in the public's eye.

Ecologist James Lovelock has commented that instead of "sustainable development" we should be striving for a "sustainable retreat." Our world faces constant demands for continued growth, but addressing climate change requires grassroots and top-down strategies for reducing our consumption.

Jacob

Hello all,

I graduated with a degree in Cell Biology and Neuroscience in 2018. I have always thought that I would go on to medical school and become a physician, but since graduation, I have taken time off to reconsider my options. I love life, and I want to help figure out where it came from. I am fascinated by the oceans, the cosmos, the mind/brain, and humanity itself. While in school, I never participated in research or summer internships relating to astrobiology like so many other prospective astrobiologists have. How hard would it be for me to enter the field so far behind the curve?

Despite my interest in science, I have always been insecure while conducting research because I feel as though there was always someone better at experiments/smarter than I. I am worried that would limit my career and prevent me from getting grant money to do field research. I want to be out in the field collecting and analyzing data (preferably the oceans). I'm also uncomfortable with the amount of grant writing that goes into science as a whole. I don't want to go through extensive schooling just to be stuck behind a desk writing all day. 

To summarize, my questions are: How could I possibly get into the field? Could I find a niche doing oceanographic astrobiology? Could I do field research or will I have a desk job? Who could I contact to discuss my situation further? I'm at a crossroads and need all the help I can get. Thank you!!!

Hi Drew, 

I'm a postdoc with a PhD in oceanography and I do quite a bit of astrobiology-related research. When I was an undergrad I was studying biology thinking I was going to go into molecular bio or biotech. I decided to do my PhD in oceanography because, like you, I wanted to do field research and I was fascinated by life and particularly marine life. I didn't have any real exposure at all to astrobiology until after I got my PhD. But it turns out there is a lot of overlap between oceanography and astrobiology, because of the likelihood of finding life on ocean worlds, and because some marine habitats (like hydrothermal vents) are great analogs for places we might find alien life. 

So long story short, you are not behind any sort of curve. Astrobiology is a really broad and interdisciplinary field, and people who do research in astrobiology come from a lot of different backgrounds- not all of them studied "astrobiology" as a discipline, but came to it through other topics of interest. A lot of them are cell biologists and biochemists!

In terms of grant writing, it's something that sort of comes with the territory. Most scientists have to write grants, even ones in industry occasionally. But grant writing doesn't have to keep you chained to a desk all day, or keep you out of the field. In general, the more senior people in a lab tend to do a lot of the writing, so if running a lab and having to write the grants to keep that lab funded doesn't sound appealing to you, there are field technician jobs for example in oceanography where you spend a lot of time at sea and doing laboratory work. 

As far as feeling insecure, all scientists feel that way from time to time, at all stages of their careers. I certainly do. And I have definitely had more grants rejected than funded. The best advice I can give is to remember that you are only seeing the "blooper reel," so to speak, of your own life but nobody else's. When you see other people celebrate their successes, you aren't seeing all the failures that happened in between. The people who seem to be really smart and successful also receive rejections, have experiments fail, and make mistakes. It's good to keep an open dialogue with other people at different stages in their careers for advice, help, or sympathy. Fortunately, astrobiology is probably one of the most welcoming fields I can think of. 

I recommend at your stage to start looking around at master's programs and seeking out astrobiology-related research that interests you. If you find someone that's working on a project that sounds appealing, reach out to them and ask them about it, and see if they are accepting students to mentor in their lab. (SAGANet is a great place to start looking for people doing cool research.) And if someone doesn't get back to you, don't take it personally. A lot of times people are busy and emails get lost in the shuffle. Be persistent and stay optimistic! 

Good luck!

-Lauren

Lauren,

Thank you so much for your reply! It is informative and addressed my questions very well. I feel a lot better hearing that from someone enrolled in a postdoc. I'll take your advice and start looking around. 

Drew

Hello and thank you for the add! This might be a little long winded so I appreciate your time in advance.

I was raised and schooled up through high school in a creationist home/church/school system. My high school science experiences were... subpar at best.

I had a general avoidance/resistance to math and science going into college because of this. I eventually majored in a really broad arts degree to avoid these subjects as much as possible.

A long story short, I, now at 32 years old have absolutely fallen in love with astrobiology. I think it’s partially because it touches so many subjects that were so “taboo” for me as a youth, but also like... you guys! There’s so much to learn!

I have spent the better part of the past two years learning absolutely everything I could about astrophysics, evolution, cosmology... you name it.

I’m considering going back to school to get a bachelor of science degree in biology to, at the very least, seriously make up for years of missing knowledge.

Anyone else here take a more non-traditional route in life and eventually landed on astrobiology as a career? My story is a little out of the box and I would love to hear any encouragement!

Hi Sara,

There are indeed a number of us who were drawn to astrobiology because of the big picture questions, often because of a religious upbringing that started us out thinking about similar issues. I was raised evangelical Christian myself, with evolution one of the "taboo" topics in science, among others. Explaining the extinction of the dinosaurs was another problematic issue for our theology. intelligent design was a popular solution, although as I dug into the intelligent design books, I found no real coherent alternative to evolution. Eventually, I had read enough intelligent design books that I had inadvertently learned the fundamentals of evolutionary biology! After further thinking and reading, I decided that evolution was a much more satisfying idea. However, only a handful of others in my church community agreed.

If you're interested, you can watch this short talk I gave at a conference last year that describes a little bit of my spiritual journey.

One feature of the astrobiology community that I really enjoy is that most astrobiologists have a bigger-picture view of their science and may be more willing to engage in thinking about the philosophical or social consequences of our field. 

There are certainly many paths to becoming an astrobiologist, and you don't necessarily need an undergraduate degree in biology. My own undergraduate training was in astrophysics and computer science, but I have astrobiology colleagues who are social scientists, economists, educators, and more. The idea behind astrobiology is that everybody brings their expertise from a different perspective to work together in the search for life.

Good luck in the next step of your journey!

Jacob

JACOB!!! That talk... your comments... amazing. Thank you for your thoughts and sharing! Wow you are eloquent and moving!

Which of the great filters is the most likely to stop intelligent life from being everywhere? Is it the power of an individual, as technology improves, with bad intent to end life and civilization?

RSS

Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

Blog Posts

¿Are the Venusian sulphuric acid clouds the by product of long dead anoxogenic photosynthetic organisms?

Posted by Andrew Planet on May 4, 2020 at 2:51pm 2 Comments

I just read the piece at the link below entitled "Study: Life might survive, and thrive, in a hydrogen world."

I'd been thinking on similar lines recently, on different atmospheres with early life, but I was considering anoxogenic bacteria whose byproduct is sulfur instead of molecular oxygen. ¿Had life evolved on Venus could its sulfuric clouds be the signature byproduct of such life with no branches ever evolving to produce the equivalent of Earth's Great…

Continue

100 years tomorrow 26th April 2020 since we looked beyond the Milky Way Galaxy

Posted by Andrew Planet on April 25, 2020 at 11:10am 0 Comments

Exactly 100 years ago tomorrow, the subject on whether this Universe is larger than the Milky Way Galaxy was brought up publicly at an event sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, known as The Great Debate. Until then the Milky Way was thought to be this Universe.  Conference at the NAS http://www.nasonline.org/about-nas/events/annual-meeting/nas157/

See this…

Continue

The 5th Mexican School of Astrobiology

Posted by Tardigrelda on June 24, 2019 at 1:00pm 0 Comments

I am really glad to invite everyone to the next Mexican School of Astrobiology (aka EMA) which is this August.

¡Anímate a participar en la 5ta Escuela Mexicana de…

Continue

A consortium of representatives of European Research Organisations has taken the initiative to create a virtual institute named the “European Astrobiology Institute” (EAI) with the ambition of enabli…

Posted by Wolf D. Geppert on February 24, 2019 at 1:33am 0 Comments

A consortium of representatives of European Research Organisations has taken the initiative to create a virtual institute named the “European Astrobiology Institute” (EAI) with the ambition of enabling Europe to emerge as a key player in Astrobiology and to…

Continue

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Forum

Ask your questions here!

Started by Gina Riggio in SAGANet Discussions. Last reply by JohnCDraper yesterday. 122 Replies

If you are trying to ask a question live during Ask an Astrobiologist, please do so in the main chatroom at the bottom of the screen! You can also ask on twitter…Continue

Have we been looking in the wrong time-frame? Requesting feedback on a recent paper.

Started by Christopher J Reiss in The Cutting-Edge of Astrobiology Apr 3. 0 Replies

Let me first say Hi to everyone as a new member here!   I hope you are all safe, sound, and not too stir-crazy during this Pandemic.I recently stumbled upon a notion for SETI which seems so simple I…Continue

Interactive Online Astrobiology for 10-12 yr olds

Started by Julia Brodsky in Education and Public Outreach Mar 9. 0 Replies

If your 10-12 yr old child is interested in space science, I would like to invite them to our courses. I am a former science teacher,  mom of three, and a former NASA astronaut instructor. I also…Continue

Tags: school, education, middle, astrobiology, STEM

zahra cell

Started by adam nurjaman in Education and Public Outreach Mar 7. 0 Replies

Hallo apa kabar ? semoga selalu baik2 saja zahra cell adalah blog yang…Continue

Tags: cell, zahra

© 2020   Blue Marble Space, a non-profit organization committed to science and science outreach.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service