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Post-Doctoral research in the Space Science & Astrobiology Division
The Space Science and Astrobiology Division has a long and successful history of stewarding promising young scientists through their post-doctoral experience. A post-doctoral fellowship at NASA Ames provides not only a creative and stimulating research environment but also the opportunity to interact with ongoing and future missions, and to interface with the diverse scientific and technological expertise at Ames. The high standing of Ames scientists in their fields has allowed them to serve as valuable mentors and to provide contacts leading Fellows to productive careers as next-generation leaders in Space and Earth science disciplines both within NASA and in the academic community.
The NASA Post-Doctoral Program (NPP) offers an opportunity for NASA to lure in the 'best of the best' is exemplified by the myriad past graduates from the (then NRC) post-doctoral program at Ames who have since become NASA civil servant space scientists, both at other Centers and at NASA Ames. Such Ames alumni include well known astrobiologist Chris McKay, AAAS fellow Louis Allamandola, Stardust mission Co-I Scott Sandford, Interdisciplinary Scientist for Rings and Dust for the Cassini mission Jeff Cuzzi, Ames NAI team P.I. and MER scientist Dave Des Marais, Mars GCM guru Robert Haberle, Kevin Zahnle, Tom Greene, Ted Roush, LCROSS mission P.I. Tony Colaprete, and Diane Wooden. In addition, NASA Ames managers and alumni have come from the ranks of the NRC post-doctoral program: Michael Bicay (Director of Science at Ames), Michael New (Discovery Program Scientist at HQ), and Doug Hudgins (Spitzer Program Scientist at HQ). It is our intention to continue this rich tradition to help replenish the Agency's aging workforce.
Similarly, past Ames NRC postdocs have become eminent academic community leaders, including David Black (President of USRA), Pam Matson (Dean of Earth Sciences, Stanford), Jim Kasting (Penn State), Alan Boss (Carnegie), Brian Toon (Colorado), Steve Squyres (Cornell), Chris Chyba (Princeton) and Greg Laughlin (UCSC). To date, three of our NRCs have gone on to win the American Astronomical Society/Division of Planetary Sciences Urey prize, based partly on work done at Ames. Our connections with nearby universities (Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, San Jose State, and Santa Clara University) will continue to provide an important additional benefit to Ames NPP Fellows.
In just the past year our NPP program has produced such young up-and-coming scientists such as Jennifer Heldmann who is Observation Campaign Coordinator on the LCROSS mission, Andrew Mattioda, who's work on lab astrophysics was featured in chemical and engineering news, and Jonathan Fortney who recently won one of NASA's coveted Carl Sagan early career scientist awards, and a Spitzer Fellowship.
The Space Science and Astrobiology Division at NASA Ames will continue its tradition of using the Fellowships as an important educational experience and a training ground to provide future leaders for NASA and the academic community. More information about the NASA Post-Doctoral Program can be found at the ORAU postdoc web page and also you can read our 'implementation plan' - the document that we wrote for NASA H.Q. describing the program here at NASA Ames.
Click here for more information.
NASA Ames Conference Center (NACC)March 3, 2015 - 8:00am - 5:00pmOn March 3, 2015 we will have a full day of talks and poster sessions in order to showcase the work done by the Space Science and Astrobiology Division and Space Science projects at Ames. Please make time to join us, learn something new, chat with new folks and maybe even start up a new collaboration. There are lots of ways you can participate: give a talk, present a poster, demo your equipment, nominate someone to give one of the lectures and -- of course -- attend.Important Dates:Abstract Submission Deadline: January 16, 2015Lecturer Nomination Deadline: January 16, 2015Registration Deadline: February 24, 2015Jamboree: March 3, 2015Abstract Submission -- Due January 16If you are interested in giving a talk, presenting a poster, or providing an equipment display, please email a PDF of your one page abstract to email@example.com. We will be devoting one page in the Jamboree abstract booklet to each submitted abstract — so feel free to use the entire page. In the PDF, please include:+ Title+ Authors+ Science Topic (choose one): Astrobiology, Astrophysics, Exoplanet, Planetary Atmosphere & Climate, or Planetary Surfaces and Interiors+ Abstract (one page or less; pictures and plots are great to include!)In your email please specify the following:+ Poster, Talk, or Display+ If Display, please specify space requirements (how much space, is electrical needed, …)
Lecturer Nominations -- Due January 16We will have two longer (one hour) lectures. The lecturers will be chosen among the nominations received in the following categories. (To be considered in either category, candidates should be Space Scientists resident at Ames)+ Outstanding Early Career Space Scientist -- A researcher who has done outstanding work who has not reached their 37th birthday OR have held a doctorate for no more than 6 years (whichever is later) at the end of 2015.+ Pollack lecture -- a Senior scientist who is being recognized for their lifetime achievement.Nominations should be no more than one page and should summarize the body of meritorious work. References to the key publications should be included. It is also helpful to mention previously received accolades.Nominations will be accepted from anyone in SS. Self nominations are acceptable. Any individual can only nominate one candidate in each category.Please email all nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration -- Due February 24In order to have an accurate headcount for refreshments (and to allow us sufficient time to make name tags), we ask that all attendees register by February 24. Any member of the Ames community may attend the SS Jamboree. In order to register, please send an email to email@example.com with a subject line of Jamboree Registration. In the body of the message, please specify your name as you'd like it to appear on your name tag.
Ames Center for Exoplanet Studies (ACES) Seminar Announcement - Michael Line, University of California Santa CruzN245, Conference Room 215March 13, 2015 - 2:30pm - 3:30pm
“Characterizing the Diversity of Atmospheres: From Planets to Brown Dwarfs”
Abstract: Atmospheres are the most readily observable aspect of an exoplanet; it is critical to understand the physics and chemistry operating in planetary atmospheres if we are to understand exoplanets as a whole. I will give a broad overview on what we can learn about exoplanet atmospheres from observing them in transit with a focus on how transit transmission and occultation observations can provide insight into their thermal structure, chemistry, and dynamics as well as their formation environments. Furthermore, I will discuss how brown dwarfs can be used as exoplanet analogues in order to gain a better understanding of atmospheric processes. Finally, I will discuss future prospects for characterizing exoplanet atmospheres with the James Webb Space Telescope and smaller space based surveyor missions.
Nasa Ames, Building 152March 24, 2015 - 8:00am - March 26, 2015 - 5:00pm
NASA's Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute will co-host a workshop on Planetary Protection Knowledge Gaps for Human Extraterrestrial Missions on March 24-26, 2015, in Moffett Field, California.
While planetary protection requirements are in place for robotic missions, there is presently insufficient scientific and technological knowledge to establish effective quantitative requirements for the development of crewed spacecraft and missions. To prepare for such future missions, NASA created the NASA Policy on Planetary Protection Requirements for Human Extraterrestrial Missions (NPI 8020.7) that outlines the need to increase knowledge in the following study areas while iteratively developing an appropriate set of requirements:
• Study Area 1: Microbial and human health monitoring
• Study Area 2: Technology and operations for contamination control
• Study Area 3: Natural transport of contamination on Mars
The goal of this workshop is to capture the current state of knowledge in the aforementioned areas and identify additional research to appropriately inform planetary protection requirements development for the human exploration of Mars.