SAGANet Community Newsletter - Oct. 2015


Introducing SAGANet's new Classroom Astrobiology

Are you an educator or know one? Bring astrobiology into your classroom!

Classroom Astrobiology is SAGANet's newest feature, started by Svetlana Shkolyar. Svetlana has been developing this classroom science package around the theme, “Are we alone in the universe?” This project supplements K-12 classroom science using effective, engaging, 21st Century activities. Each lesson is adapted for a particular grade level and features fun, free online resources. All material is aligned with the newest Next Generation Science Standards. Each lesson can be used as a stand-alone or in a sequence with the others. This project has the potential to increase teacher confidence, change bad attitudes towards science, and increase the range of students exposed to NASA materials. Whether you are an educator who wants to use or pilot materials and provide valuable expert feedback, a science or science education student who would like to partner with me, a homeschooling parent, or if you would simply like to know more, please visit and leave a comment!

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FameLab USA: Exploring Earth and Beyond!

Calling all early career scientists! Passionnate about science? Love to communicate--or want to learn how?
You are wholeheartedly invited to participate in FameLab USA: Exploring Earth and Beyond!

This is probably the last heat we’ll do in San Francisco!
FameLab is something like American Idol for scientists. Sponsored by NASA in the US, it’s a fun-filled day of competition, coaching, and camaraderie that’s all about science communication! Early career scientists from diverse scientific disciplines craft a 3-minute, powerpoint-free talk on their research or a related topic and deliver it in a supportive environment to judges who give only constructive feedback. No slides, no charts—just the power of words and any prop you can hold in your hands. The heart of the whole thing is a workshop conducted by communication professionals to help you enrich your skills. So unlike American Idol, everyone wins!
See video clips of prior FameLabbers here:
Our next regional heat will be held on October 27-28th and November 2nd in San Francisco, CA in conjunction with the Bay Area Science Festival!
Register today or sign up for the mailing list to hear about future competitions:
Winners from the regional competitions will advance to the US National Final in April, 2016, and the winner there goes on to compete with peers from around the world at the FameLab International Final in the UK in June, 2016. 25 countries (and counting) from across the globe participate in FameLab!
New frontiers await scientists in every field of research, whether on land, under the sea, or in space. From our origins as humans to the origins of our Solar System, from climate change to the possibility life elsewhere in the Universe, sheer curiosity and passion for knowledge will always keep us at the cutting edge of exploration. In today’s media-intensive environment, your ability to convey your science can reshape the face of scientific exploration and discovery.
FameLab asks…how are you exploring Earth and beyond?

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Celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Planetary Society

To celebrate its 35th anniversary, the Planetary Society is having a celebration in Pasadena, CA on Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24. Proceeds will benefit the establishment of its archive. Events include a reception honoring its founders and a preview of the Planetary Society Archive, dedication and launch of its new headquarters, a family festival & book signing open house, and a gala dinner.

RSVP by Thursday, October 15. 

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Workshop on first human landing site on Mars

You are invited to participate in the First Landing Site (LS)/Exploration Zone (EZ) Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars. The workshop will be held October 27–30, 2015, at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, Texas.

The purpose of this workshop is to identify and discuss candidate locations where humans could land, live, and work on the martian surface.

We refer to such a location as an Exploration Zone (EZ). Given current mission concepts, an EZ is a collection of Regions of Interest (ROIs) that are located within approximately 100 kilometers of a centralized landing site. ROIs are areas that are relevant for scientific investigation and/or development/maturation of capabilities and resources necessary for a sustainable human presence. The EZ also contains a landing site and a habitation site that will be used by multiple human crews during missions to explore and utilize the ROIs.

These candidate EZs will be used by NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) and Science Mission Directorate (SMD) as part of the multi-year process of determining where and how we would like to explore Mars with humans. In the near term, this process includes: (a) identifying locations that would maximize the potential science return from future human exploration missions, (b) identifying locations with the potential for resources required to support humans, (c) developing concepts and engineering systems needed by future human crews to conduct operations within an EZ, and (d) identifying key characteristics of the proposed candidate EZs that cannot be evaluated using existing data sets, thus helping to define precursor measurements needed in advance of human missions. Existing and future robotic spacecraft will be tasked with gathering data from specific Mars surface sites within the representative EZs to support these HEOMD and SMD activities.

It is anticipated that funding and support for future calls will be available for teams of scientists and engineers to conduct detailed characterizations of the EZs that emerge from this workshop.

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Call for 2016 Sagan Fellow Applications - Deadline Nov. 5

The NASA Exoplanet Science Institute solicits applications for Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowships to begin in the fall of 2016. The deadline for applications and letters of reference is Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 4 pm PDT.

The Sagan Fellowships support outstanding recent postdoctoral scientists to conduct independent research that is broadly related to the science goals of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration program. The primary goal of missions within this program is to discover and characterize planetary systems and Earth-like planets around nearby stars.

More information:


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Ask your questions here!

Started by Gina Misra in SAGANet Discussions. Last reply by Cesar Andres Alfonso Zamora 21 hours ago. 178 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 @saganorg…Continue

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