Status Report

Private Sector Joins NASA in Funding Astrobiology Research

By SpaceRef Editor
September 30, 2021
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Join us in congratulating eight new astrobiology research teams on their 2021 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Awards! The Heising-Simons Foundation, the Kavli Foundation, and NASA all provided funding in a new public-private partnership to advance astrobiology research.

The Scialog: Signatures of Life in the Universe initiative supporting these teams joins several prior Scialogs, including such themes as Mitigating Zoonotic Threats, Advancing BioImaging, and Solar Energy Conversion. Scialog is a program of the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, created in 2010 to bring together early career scientists into high risk, high-reward collaborative research.

The awardees include two early-career astrobiologists at NASA:

Dr. Laurie Barge is a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she studies how life emerges and can be detected on other worlds. Dr. Barge is also the HiRISE Investigation Scientist for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.

Dr. Marc Neveu is a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. His main research interests are planetary exploration and astrobiology, the search for the origins, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe.

The awards stem from a conference of 54 early career Scialog Fellows, convened in June 2021. The Fellows formed teams to propose cutting-edge research with the potential to transform our understanding of the habitability of planets, of how the occurrence of life alters planets and leaves signatures, and of how to detect such signatures beyond Earth, both within our solar system and on exoplanets.

A list of teams and their awarded research can be found here:

SpaceRef staff editor.