From: Amity University Mumbai
Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2021
In keeping with the growing penchant for Astrobiology, Amity has established India's first-ever Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology at Amity University Maharashtra. Together with its national and international partners, the researchers at the Amity Centre are developing space experiments, conducting field studies in Mars-like regions of India, and enabling students from various science and engineering programs to take up Astrobiology as an exciting new career choice.
Astrobiology is an extremely interesting and emerging, interdisciplinary scientific field that aims to study and understand life in the universe. This is the science which will help answer those nagging questions on the origin of life as one knows it, the human existence; the possibility of other living beings across the multiverse. This is the next big scientific discipline to watch out for and the career implications are both exciting and divergent. Armed with a degree in Astrobiology, a netizen can truly contribute to a bigger life stage and pursue a higher calling.
Astrobiology is the prime dominion of space agencies such as NASA, ISRO, Roscosmos, who have flown several missions into Outer Space and the next decade will see further exploration of other worlds, carefully scanning the atmosphere, the surface, and interiors to answer these age-old questions- is there life beyond earth? Mars, Venus, Titan, Enceladus, and Europa are target destinations for these life finding missions- for these are worlds that can help one uncover the answers to these questions.
With the progress in space missions, astrobiology has become an eagerly explored career path. The field requires the conjunction of biologists, chemists, astronomers, and engineers to address experiments that aim to solve questions about life in the universe. Astrobiology is a unique field that sits at the cross-roads of fundamental research, technology development, education, and scientific communication.
In India, there are several government research institutions where a potential astrobiology graduate can apply for full-time positions in State and Central Government Laboratories under Department of Biotechnology, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Space and Ministry of Earth Sciences. Overseas, various Astrobiology Centres and Programs absorb graduate and doctoral researchers in Astrobiology. (NASA Astrobiology Program, Australian Centre of Astrobiology, Centre for Astrobiology Studies, Madrid, Earth Life Science Institute (ELSI) Japan). The skill sets picked up by astrobiologists are laterally useful for several industries such as Biotechnology, Energy, Space, Defense and Nanotechnology
Astrobiology is a broad discipline that requires a complete understanding of an alien environment- inputs from geology, chemistry, physics, engineering, and biology. This emerging field requires bringing together cross-pollinating alliances between scientists across disciplines. To help conceptualize and design future missions, the Amity Centre is also helping the preparation of an astrobiology roadmap for the Space Science Program Office at ISRO.
Amity researchers, in collaboration with international partners have been testing Mars prototype instruments and studying the samples to help characterize the region for assessing Martian surface environment. This year, an exciting first-of-its-kind Earth and Space Exploration Program (ESEP) in Ladakh has been announced by Amity that will allow science and engineering students (class 11 and above) to work in teams on exciting education projects under the mentorship of Space scientists and research analysts. There are plans to establish a semi-permanent outpost that will allow these Mars' scientists to live, work and simulate Mars exploration operations in Ladakh, as part of the Mars Amity Research Station (MARS).
In line with this programme, Amity University Mumbai conducted India's first 'Introduction to Astrobiology' Online Course in partnership with Mars Society Australia, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, Open University UK during September to November 2020. Over 790 students from 53 countries participated in the course run over 8 weeks. Close to 300 students successfully graduated from the course as the first Astrobiology students of India. The course is open to students from all disciplines, from undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The details for the next edition of the course are to be announced later this year.
An applicant to Bachelors in Astrobiology needs to have a science background with minimum threshold grades. In order to pursue Master's degree in the stream, a B.Sc. or B. Tech degree in geology/chemistry/biology/ physics is a must.
Astrobiology is more than just a scientific discipline, it is a way of life. This field covers the most elusive topics including, Life & its origin, History of life on Earth, Habitable Environments elsewhere in our solar system, the search for habitable exoplanets, Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Mass Extinctions & Radiations, among other intriguing theories of life.
The career applications of Astrobiology are startling and can be pragmatically applied across varied fields of Astronomy, Environment research, Geology, Post-secondary teaching, University-based research, Space sciences research, Biomedical research.
Astrobiology is a rapidly emerging coveted educational course across budding scientists and young researchers aiming to make a difference in the future course of Life and Evolution as we know it and Amity is ready with its differentiated curriculum of offer to budding astrobiologists.
About Amity University Mumbai:
Amity University Mumbai has been established under Maharashtra Govt. Act of 2014 of Government of Maharashtra and is recognized as per Section 2(f) of the UGC Act with the rights to confer degrees. The University with its future-ready, sprawling campus, a world - class learning infrastructure and over a kilometer-long frontage on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway offers a 360 degree career transformational set-up. With its state-of-the-art infrastructure, the campus facilitates all-round growth of students. The university has tie-ups with IBM, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, CA Technologies & others for skill enhancement of the students.
For further information, please visit: https://www.amity.edu/mumbai/
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