SAGANet Community Newsletter - Nov. 2015


In-person & Online Workshop on the Consequences of Internal Planet Evolution for the Habitability and Detectability of Life

Upstairs Downstairs: Consequences of Internal Planet Evolution for the Habitability and Detectability of Life on Extrasolar Planets

A Workshop Without Walls Presented by the NAI, NExSS, and NSF

Where: Arizona State University & Virtual Locations
Date: February 17th - 19th, 2016
Time: 9:00AM - 5:00PM MST

The chemistry and physics of planetary interiors shapes conditions at their surfaces in ways that profoundly affect habitability and our ability to detect life. The nature and extent of these interactions are not well understood even on Earth. For example, we debate the ways in which internal processes affected the emergence of an O2-rich surface environment on Earth, paving the way for complex life. As a result, we lack a guiding theory from which we can infer the likelihood that O2 will accumulate in the atmospheres of exoplanets with slightly different mass or composition from Earth. The implications for exoplanet habitability and life detection strategies have barely been considered.

The goal is a community research roadmap and white paper aimed at developing a theory of planetary evolution, from solar nebula to evolving world, that will guide the search for inhabited worlds into the next generation. To this end, the workshop will be open to community participation via face-to-face attendance at ASU, and virtual participation as a NASA Workshop Without Walls.
This workshop will bring together astrobiologists, astronomers, planetary scientists, geochemists, geophysicists, and others needed to develop a working theory about the complex relationships between the surface habitability and internal evolution of Earth and Earth-like worlds.

Click here to RSVP
No commitment necessary!

Key themes:

Exoplanetary Observations
What can we observe now and in the near future that has bearing on facets of exoplanet geophysics and geochemistry that shape habitability and detectability?

Physics and Chemistry in Planetary Formation
How does our understanding of planetary formation inform our ability to predict planetary compositions and hence important geophysical and geochemical parameters?

Atmospheres and Biosignatures
What are our longer-term observational aims and how are they affected by surface-interior interactions?

Physical Behavior of Planetary Materials and Planetary Structure
What are our limits of understanding of planetary material behaviors and surface tectonics, and how must this understanding extend and evolve to guide the search?

Thermal and Chemical Evolution of Planets
What are our limits of understanding of solid planet evolution and how must this understanding extend and evolve to guide the search?

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LPI Summer Intern Program in Planetary Science - Deadline: Jan. 8, 2016

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) invites undergraduates with at least 50 semester hours of credit to experience cutting-edge research in the lunar and planetary sciences.

The deadline for application is January 8, 2016.

Summer interns will work one-on-one with a scientist at the LPI or at the NASA Johnson Space Center on a research project of current interest in lunar and planetary science. Furthermore, they will participate in peer-reviewed research, learn from top-notch planetary scientists, and preview various careers in science.

The 10-week program begins June 6, 2016, and ends on August 12, 2016. Selected students will receive a $5675.00 stipend; in addition, U.S. students will receive a $1000.00 travel stipend, and foreign nationals will receive a $1500.00 foreign travel reimbursement.

Applications are only accepted via the electronic application form found at the LPI’s intern website

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Exploration Science Summer Intern Program in Planetary Science - Deadline: Jan. 15, 2016

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) is hosting a special Exploration Science Summer Intern Program to build on the success of the former Lunar Exploration Summer Intern Program that was designed to evaluate possible landing sites on the Moon for robotic and human exploration missions. Over a five year period (2008–2012), teams of students worked with Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) science staff and their collaborators to produce A Global Lunar Landing Site Study to Provide the Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon. The program for 2016 is designed to have the same impact on future exploration activities, but has a broader scope that includes both the Moon and near-Earth asteroids. It is a unique opportunity to integrate scientific input with exploration activities in a way that mission architects and spacecraft engineers can use. Activities may involve assessments and traverse plans for a particular destination (e.g., on the lunar farside) or a more general assessment of a class of possible exploration targets (e.g., small near-Earth asteroids).

The 10-week program runs from May 23, 2016, through July 29, 2016. Selected interns will receive a $5675 stipend to cover the costs associated with being in Houston for the duration of the program. Additionally, U.S. citizens will receive up to $1000 in travel expense reimbursement and foreign nationals will receive up to $1500 in travel expense reimbursement.

**APPLICATION DEADLINE: January 15, 2016**

Applications are only accepted using the electronic application form found at LPI’s
Exploration Science Summer Intern website.

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NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) Program - Deadline Feb. 1, 2016

NASA announces a call for graduate fellowship proposals to the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) program for the 2016-2017 academic year.  This call for fellowship proposals solicits applications from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of individuals pursuing Master of Science (M.Sc.) or Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in Earth and space sciences, or related disciplines. The purpose of NESSF is to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines needed to achieve NASA’s scientific goals. Awards resulting from this competitive selection will be made in the form of training grants to the respective universities.

The deadline for new applications is February 1, 2016.

The NESSF call for proposals and submission instructions are located at the NESSF 16 solicitation index page at - click on "Solicitations" then click on "Open Solicitations" then select the "NESSF 16" announcement.  Also refer to “Program Specific Questions” and “Frequently Asked Questions” listed under “Other Documents” on the NESSF 16 solicitation index page.

For further information contact Claire Macaulay, Program Administrator for NESSF Earth Science Research, Telephone: (202) 358-0151, E-mail: or Dolores Holland, Program Administrator for NESSF Heliophysics Research, Planetary Science Research, and Astrophysics Research, Telephone: (202) 358-0734, E-mail:.

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