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Thank you very much for your humble response. I will definitely contact Dr. Pandey in time of need. Will definitely stay in touch. 

Once again, Thank You very much!

Hi, 

My name is Eva Zanditenas, I am in my final year of biotechnology (in Paris) and I looking for an internship of six months to conclude my studies.   

I am passionate about astrobiology, and it is my dream to realize my last internship in this field.

So I need your help with two thinks : 

The first is to find an astrobiology lab whish takes interns and proposes Ph.D. 

The second is to find a scholarship or fellowship to help me with my expenses during these six months. Do you know institutes or associations that propose a scholarship?

Thank you in advance for your help. 

Eva Zanditenas 

(eva.zanditenas@gmail.com) 

 

Which example of an alien species in science fiction would you say is the most realistic?

Hi Jonas,

This is a pretty tough question, because there's a lot of science fiction out there (and I've only read so much of it), and there are an infinite number of possible lifeforms we might find on other worlds. There's a wide range of conditions in our own solar system that could support life, not to mention all the exoplanets we've discovered (literally thousands!), many of which are in the theoretical "habitable zone." That said, I have my personal favorites.

In film, I love the aliens in James Cameron's "The Abyss." They were modeled on comb jellies and were designed to look like they live on an ocean world, under the intense pressures experienced in the deep ocean. Much of NASA's search for life involves exploring ocean worlds, because life as we know it relies on water as a solvent, and because our oceans contain a vast diversity of life and geochemical reactions (reactions between rock and water) that support complex ecosystems at hydrothermal vents. Plus, Cameron's Abyss aliens are bioluminescent, which is just so pretty. Overall I just think it's a very well-researched film, including a great scene where they demonstrate how liquid breathing could be used for really deep dives using a rat- no special effects, they really show a rat breathing liquid! I highly recommend checking out the director's cut of the film if you can, as it contains some great extra scenes that really round out the story. 

As far as books go though, I cannot speak highly enough of Peter Watts's "Blindsight." The aliens in "Blindsight" feel truly alien. They can tolerate huge amounts of radiation- enough to kill a human in several hours- and they live without oxygen despite being multicellular, going dormant for long periods of time to conserve energy. An important plot point is that despite being highly intelligent, these aliens are not self-aware, and do not experience consciousness as we understand it. The book is incredibly well-researched and provides a list of references to real scientific studies to back up the design of the aliens and the tech used on the spaceship that carries the protagonists to the point of first contact. It discusses how consciousness might have evolved and how it might be a drawback rather than an advantage. Also there are vampires. No really. Best of all, Watts publishes all his work under creative commons, so you can read his books for free here: https://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm

I hope this helps, but I'm sure other folks on here can also chime in with their personal favorites!

-Lauren

What to do to be a astrobiologist?

Hi Mert,

Here is are two links that hopefully, you'll find helpful!

http://saganet.ning.com/forum/topics/so-you-want-to-become-an-astro...

https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/ask-an-astrobiologist/ (scroll down the FAQ's)

Best,
Sanjoy

 This is a question for the upcoming "Ask an Astrobiologist" session on Obtober 23, 2019.
    Dear Dr. Laurie Barge: Prof. Jeremy England at MIT and Dr. Karo Michaelian at the National Autonomous University of Mexico tell us that “dissipation-driven adaptation” causes life processes to occur spontaneously whenever energy flows through a symbolic logic media over a sustained period of time, e.g. the evolution of RNA, DNA, and cellular life from the first symbolic logic media on early Earth. The first symbolic logic media on Earth was amino acid networks in liquid water, driven by geothermal and electromagnetic energy flows. A "creator" was not required; only a symbolic logic media in a flow of energy.
      Biologists (who sometimes are also astrobiologists) perform metagenomic analysis (binning groups, function analysis) on genetic code to identify life forms even when we do not know in advance what is there.
     We are now pushing a huge amount of energy through a new symbolic logic media, computer media.
     Shouldn't astrobiologists be interested in applying the code-based techniques from metagenomics to study whether dissipation driven adaptation and life processes are occurring spontaneously in computer media? Contiguous code groups can be binned (e.g. executables), function analysis can be performed with decompilers. The "easy" and "hard" ways to perform metagenomics can be performed on computer media (with/without a starting library of code signatures corresponding to code groups). It is striking how readily metagenomic techniques could be ported to computer media.
     This type of analysis would be an aid to computer scientists who are beginning to wonder where the evolution of computer technologies is heading. 
     For astrobiologists, this would be practice for what we would do if we ever start to receive an interstellar digital bit stream. 
     If computer media is a symbolic logic media and if a huge amount of energy is flowing through it, wouldn't it be urgent for scientists (e.g. astrobiologists and computer scientists ) to sample this symbolic logic media over time and try to understand what is taking place in it from a perspective informed by biology? We also know that life processes transform their symbolic logic media and the surrounding environment. 
     Would you or another astrobiologist be interested in speaking with Stephen Wolfram or another computer scientist regarding what it would look like to perform metagenomic analysis on computer media?
    Thank you for your time and consideration. Martin Garthwaite
    More at www.exobiology.earth

Hello Martin,

Thanks for reaching out. Sorry that we didn't get to ask your question to Dr. Barge during AAA. We couldn't find a way to quickly distill it for a quick "ask".

I read your question again, and unfortunately, I don't know enough about the field of science you are coming from to give you a meaningful response. I would encourage you to learn about the research of Dr. Sara Imari Walker, who comes closest to what I think you are asking:

http://emergence.asu.edu/research.html

You also might want to check out one of her papers that comes to my mind:

https://arxiv.org/abs/1207.4803 "The Algorithmic Origin of Life"

Best,

Sanjoy

Hello,

I am a  Biologist and have developed keen interest in the field of Astrobiology. However, I could not find any technical manual/guide/book to learn the practical aspects of Astrobiology i.e. how to get access to satellite data from Kapler or TESS telescopes or from cassini, Juno or Curiosity rovers etc. And how a Biologist can make use of this data; What are the protocols to understand and interpret the spectroscopy data from these sources etc. Can you please guide me in this regard by letting me know of any such practical guide or protocol manual? Any help in this regard will be highly appreciated.
Regards,
Ammad

Hi Ammad,

Great question! All data from NASA is made available to the public and usually can be found online. The most typical place for data to be archived is the Planetary Data System, which you can find here: https://pds.nasa.gov/

You could also try the specific website of the mission you are interested in and follow the links.

The PDS website also includes some description of how the data is stored and how you might start with analysis.

In general, you will want to learn some programming skills in order to understand the techniques of data analysis. Python is a popular choice today among astronomers and biologists, but any modern language should work. I hope this helps!

Jacob

Thank you very much for these useful suggestions Jacob. 

Hello,

I'm currently attending Virginia Tech as an undergraduate. I read the career path suggestions sheet posted by NASA as well as some other pages on astrobiology career paths, and I was curious about what roles engineers play with astrobiologists. Most of these career sheets said nothing about engineering, so I was curious are there any engineering majors that work closely with astrobiologists. If so which ones and how do they interact with them, or are there some engineers that have become astrobiologists? Also, who designs the collection systems for soil samples from mars? Are these people Mechanical engineers? Mining engineers? 

Thanks,

Marcel Paris-Agafonov

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