Space Science & Astrobiology Division Highlights week ending 03/13/09
Scott Sandford (Astrophysics Branch SSA):
Dr. Scott Sandford made a presentation on the final Comet Coma Rendezvous and Sample Return (CCRSR) concept mission at NASA Headquarters on Friday, February 27. The CCRSR is one of the missions being studied under the Discovery and Scout Mission Capabilities Expansion (DSMCE) program, which is investigating the possible use and testing of the new ASRG power unit on a Discovery-class mission.
The CCRSR mission would rendezvous with a comet and follow it for much on an entire orbit, during which time it would periodically dip down into the comet’s coma and collect dust samples for subsequent return to Earth for study.
Dr. Sandford was the PI on the concept study effort, which was successfully completed this February.
David Des Marais (Exobiology Branch / SSX):
On March 7, Dr. David Des Marais gave a public lecture in Columbia, MO (University of Missouri) that received press coverage.
Tori Hoehler (Exobiology Branch / SSX)
Dr. Tori Hoehler will be featured on the next episode of the SETI Institute’s radio program, “Are We Alone?”. Contributing to an episode entitled “Slime World”, Hoehler discusses the prominent focus of astrobiology research on microorganisms (“slime”), including the the attributes that may make microbial life the most abundant form in the universe. “Are We Alone” is broadcast weekly to a public radio audience in 16 markets, and podcast to a worldwide audience of more than 30,000 listeners.