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JHU Origins of Life Group Main Page

The JHU Origins of Life group is made up of biologists, astronomers, chemists, planetary scientists, medical researchers and others within the JHU community studying the origin of life in the Universe.

Planets, Life, and the Universe - The new JHU Astrobiology Seminar Series 2009-2010 at

September, 3, Stephen Freeland, Institute of Astronomy, Univ of Hawaii

June 18, Wes Traub, JPL, Caltech

May 7, Drake Deming, NASA GSFC

April 9, Chris McKay, NASA Ames Research Center

March 5, Olivier Mousis, Observatoire de Besançon, France

February 5, Jill Banfield, University of California, Berkeley

January 8: Stephen Mojzsis from the University of Colorado 

December 4: Jamie Elsila Cook from the Goddard Space Flight Center

November 6: Matthew Pasek from the University of South FLorida

Groups with common interests 

At the Space Telescope Science Institute:

Star & Planet Formation Group at

Solar System, Extrasolar Planets & Life at



A campus-wide mailing list for astrobiology open to all undergraduate/graduate students, faculty, and staff. Find info at; the list address is

Astrobiology Blog at Columbia University (Caleb Scharf)


Talks by group members



JHU Department of Physics and Astronomy Colloquium 2009


NASA Astrobiology Institute

NASA Science Plan

NAI Newletter

Exoplanet Newsletter

Upcoming items of interest

Origin of Life Group Meetings


Meeting Friday March 26 at 2PM in Bloomberg 475

 Dimitar Sasselov from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics was our guest.


Meeting Friday November 13 at 2PM in Bloomberg 475. 

Caleb Scharf from Columbia University, who presented the Physics and Astronomy Colloquium on Thursday, talked to us about his views on the "New Astrobiology". Caleb recently published "Extrasolar planets and Astrobiology". He is the Director of Astrobiology at Columbia University.


Meeting Friday October 2 at 2PM in Bloomberg 462 Discussions on the Astrobiology Seminar Series and funding opportunities.

Meeting Friday May 8 at 2PM in Bloomberg 475. Discussions on the latest discoveries presented during the STScI Symposium, May 4-7. 

Public lecture on Friday night,  May 8 at 7:00PM, by Steven Squyres at the Maryland Science Center entitled "Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity and the Exploration of the Red Planet ".

Meeting Friday March 13 at 2PM in Bloomberg 475.  This was a "Mars Day" with two speakers:

Luann Becker (jhu): The Mars Phoenix Mission

Mike Mumma (GSFC): Methane on Mars - Geology, Biology, neither, or Both?

Living systems produce more than 90% of Earth's atmospheric methane; the balance is of geochemical origin. Using high-dispersion infrared spectrometers at three ground-based telescopes, we measured methane and water vapor simultaneously on Mars over several longitude intervals in northern summer in 2003 and near the vernal equinox in 2006. When present, methane occurred in extended plumes associated with discrete active regions. In northern midsummer, the principal plume contained ~19,000 metric tons of methane, and the estimated source strength (≥0.6 kilogram per second) was comparable to that of the massive hydrocarbon seep at Coal Oil Point in Santa Barbara, California.  By vernal equinox about one-half the released methane had been lost.  Its possible origins are of considerable interest and will be discussed in the context of geologic and biologic terrestrial analogues.  


Funding Opportunities

NASA-Nordic Astrobiology Winter School 

Applications are being accepted from astrobiology graduate students and postdocs for a winter school on the theme of “Water and the Evolution of Life in the Cosmos,” in Hawaii, from Monday January 3rd to Monday January 17th 2011. This school will provide approximately 40 post-graduate participants with a broad but high-level introduction into astrobiology, emphasizing the origin and role of water in the emergence of life on our planet, and in the search for life elsewhere. It will be truly multidisciplinary, bringing together students and researchers from the diverse scientific backgrounds that contribute to our current understanding. Hawaii offers ideal resources for this training opportunity, from world-leading astronomical observing facilities through state of the art cosmochemistry simulation equipment to unique geologic environments in which extremophile life exists. 
Further information is available



NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) Program – 2009/2010 Academic Year. Call for graduate fellowship proposals for students enrolled in a full-time Masters and/or Ph.D. program at accredited U.S. universities.{1F7E010B-313E-EFDC-FBF6-05CC628055B6}&path=open



First Kepler Science Conference, December 5-7, 2011, NASA Ames Research Center, CA


Second IAA Symposium on "Searching for Life Signatures", October 6-8, 2010, Buckinghamshire, UK


Royal Society Meeting "Toward a Scientific and Societal Agenda on Extra-terrestrial Life", October 4-5, 2010, the Kavli Royal Society International Center, UK


The Delivery of Volatiles & Organics - From Earth to Exo-Earths with JWST

September 13-15, 2010  -  Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD

AbsSciCon 2010. April 26-29, 2010. League City, TX.


Space Telescope Science Institute May 2009 Symposium: The Search for Life in the Universe

See archives:



Other items

NASA Astrobiology Institute AO


Full Team Info




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