News

2018

  • Astrobiology research in South Africa highlighted by University
    As part of the “Origins” project, astrobiology research by the ICP-TIMS lab is highlighted in the current issue of the College of Letters & Science newsletter. Link here.

    Posted 12 October 2018

  • Work on the Great Oxidation Event in the Huronian highlighted
    Work by the SIMS group on S isotopes in the Huronian Supergroup and GOE is highlighted on the NAI web site. Link here.

    Posted 21 June 2018

  • NASA selects new science teams for CAN-8
    The next round of teams to join the NASA Astrobiology Institute have been announced: Rutgers University, Penn State, and NASA JPL. See details on NAI site here.

    Posted 14 May 2018

  • UW-Madison highlights WARC research thru its “Origins” Project
    University Communications and University Marketing divisions of UW-Madison have assembled a web site and documentary film that explores our origins from a variety of perspectives. WARC research on the early Earth geologic record is highlighted. Link can be found here.

    Posted 23 April 2018

  • Life on Earth arose early and diversified rapidly
    NAI highlighted a new paper in PNAS by Co-I’s Schopf and Valley on the famous Apex Chert microfossils. Link here.

    Posted 18 January 2018


2017

  • Why Does a Yellowstone Microorganism Prefer Meager Rations Over Rich Ones?
    Highlight of Nature Geoscience paper by WARC Co-I’s Eric Boyd and Eric Roden on the NAI website. Link here.
    Posted 10 November 2017
  • A summer of astrobiology
    A large number of NAI teams have summer interns and other summer astrobiology activities, including WARC. NAI has just published a summary of these from the past summer. Link here.
    Posted 5 October 2017
  • Geology Museum, crop circles, and trilobites
    With inspiration from WARC Co-I Brooke Norsted and Geology Museum Director Rich Slaughter, Wisconsin farmers Angie and Alan Treinen constructed a 480 foot trilobite maze in a corn field. This is part of activities in the Geology Museum highlighting trilobites, an important Paleozoic fossil. See UW News story here.

    Posted 4 October 2017

  • Year 4 Annual Report Released

    NASA has released a new format for their NAI Annual Reports, now in a single pdf file with a high-end graphic layout. Direct links to the full report of all teams, as well as the Wisconsin-specific report, can be found on this web site under “Annual Reports”. A link to NAI’s page can be found here.

    Posted 26 August 2017
  • Eric Boyd’s work in Yellowstone highlighted
    A new paper in Nature Geoscience, which landed the cover for the August 2017 issue, from Eric Boyd’s group (in collaboration with WARC Co-I Eric Roden, former NAI PI John Peters, and Everett Shock, of the former ASU NAI team), is discussed in Physics.org. Link can be found here.
    Posted 17 July 2017
  • NAI highlights paper on continental evolution
    NAI has highlighted a story, “The Interplay of Continental Evolution, Plate Tectonics, and Evolution of Life”, from the WARC web site that discusses work by post-doc Aaron Satkoski on Sr isotope evolution of the Archean oceans. Link can be found here.
    Posted 17 July 2017
  • Carl Pilcher Honored at AbSciCon 2017
    Former NAI Director Carl Pilcher was honored at AbSciCon, where many astrobiologists spoke of Carl’s leadership and his many contributions toward in fostering the field. Carl was deeply touched by this and responded with an open letter to the astrobiology community. The letter can be found here.
    Posted 11 May 2017
  • Special GSA Session Honoring John Valley
    At the 2017 GSA Annual meeting in Seattle, WA (Oct. 22-25, 2017), Aaron Cavosie, Jade Star Lackey, and William Peck have organized a session in honor of Dr. John W. Valley. We hope to receive many abstracts from the astrobiology community at UW and elsewhere. Information for the session is provided below. Abstract deadline is August 1 2017. Session T149. More information can be found here.
    Posted 5 May 2017
  • Recognizing the Criteria for Ancient Impact Structures
    Aaron Cavosie is organizing a Workshop-fieldtrip at the 2017 Meteoritical Society annual meeting held in Santa Fe, NM, titled “Recognizing the Criteria for Ancient Impact Structures”. The Metsoc workshop will consist of a morning of pre-conference talks and a half-day field trip on Sunday July 23, and a second afternoon field trip on Wednesday July 26 2017. Both field trips will visit sites at the Santa Fe impact structure, located near Santa Fe. More information can be found here.
    Posted 5 May 2017
  • Shock metamorphism in terrestrial and extra-terrestrial rocks
    Aaron Cavosie is organizing a SSERVI Australia workshop titled “Shock metamorphism in terrestrial and extra-terrestrial rocks” that is being held in Perth from June 26-29, 2017. In addition to the 4 day workshop, we have organized a 3-4 day trip to the far north of Western Australia to visit the Wolfe Creek impact crater. More information can be found here.
    Posted 5 May 2017
  • Two Billion Years of Magmatism in One Place on Mars
    An article by Planetary Science Research Discoveries [PSRD] on Tom Lapen’s work on Mars meteorites in collaboration with WARC scientists. Link here.
    Posted 5 May 2017
  • AbSciCon 2017 Team Abstracts
    Amenabar, MA, Shock, EL, Roden, EE, and Boyd, ES (2017) Energy demand, not supply, dictates microbial substrate preference.
    Bueter, LM, Johnson, CM, Beard, BL, Roden, EE, and Boyd, ES (2017) Reductive dissolution of pyrite by methanogens.Bywaters, KF, McKay, CP, and Quinn, RC (2017) Growth and Survival of Perchlorate-Reducing Bacteria in Media Containing Elevated Perchlorate Concentrations and UV-C Conditions.
    Cameron, ED, Valley, JW, Ortiz-Cordero, D, Kitajima, K, and Cavosie, AJ (2017) Oxygen Isotope Ratios Are Preserved In Water-Poor Jack Hills Zircons.
    Colman, DR, Lindsay, MR, Roden, ER, and Boyd, ES (2017) Transitioning metagenomes into interactomes in a chemosynthetic sulfur-based hot spring community.
    Colman, DR, Poudel, S, Hamilton, TL, Havig, JR, Selensky, MJ, Shock, EL, and Boyd, ES (2017) Oxygen and the evolution of thermoacidophiles.
    Cui, H, Kitajima, K, Farquhar, J, Śliwiński, MG, Spicuzza, MJ, Fournelle, JH, Ishida, A, Brown, PE, Valley, JW (2017) A Younger Great Oxidation Event In The Huronian Supergroup Of North America.
    Fortney, NW, He, S, Boyd, ES, and Roden, EE (2017) Geochemical and Genomic Evidence for an In Situ Lithoautotrophic Fe-Oxidizing Microbial Community at Chocolate Pots Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, USA.
    Kelly, ET, Parenteau, MN, Wilhelm, MB, Davila, AF, Quinn, RC, Jahnke, LL, Rull, F, Sanz-Arranz, JA, and Sansano, A (2017) Production and Preservation of Lipid Biomarkers By Iron-Oxidizing Chemolithotrophs in Circumneutral Iron Deposits.
    Lee, S, and Xu, H (2017) The role of ε-Fe2O3 nano-mineral and domains with large coercivity in enhancing natural remanent magnetization.
    Levitt, NP, Eiler, JM, Beukes, NJ, and Johnson, CM (2017) Application of clumped isotope thermometry to Archean carbonates: Thermal histories and potential for biomarker preservation.
    Li, W, Skidmore, ML, Dore, JE, Lindsay, M, Steigmeyer, G, Tunby, P, and Boyd, ES (2017) Life detection in basal ice from the Greenland ice sheet: Challenges and opportunities.
    Lindsay, MR, Fristad, KE, Amenabar, MJ, Urschel, MR, Fecteau, KM, Debes, RV, Spear, JR, Hoehler, TM, Shock, EL, and Boyd, ES (2017) Subsurface source and biological fate of hydrogen in hot spring ecosystems.
    Napieralski, SA, Buss, HL, and Roden, EE (2017) Microbiological and Genomic Analysis of a Terrestrial Subsurface Fe(II)-Silicate Based Lithotrophic Microbial Community.
    Skidmore, ML, Mitchell, R, Steigmeyer, A, van Gelder, W, Dunham, E, and Boyd, ES (2017) Mineral dependent chemolithotrophy in subglacial systems.
    Wolf, S, Elsaesser, A, Quinn, R, Kros, A, Mattioda, A, Ricco, A, Salama, F, Cottin, H, Dartois, E, d’Hendecourt, L, Foing, B, Martins, Z, Sephton, M, and Spaans, M (2017) OREOcube – ORganics Exposure in Orbit: In-Situ Spectroscopy of Organic Compounds on the International Space Station.
    Xu, H (2017) Catalytic roles of microbes and polysaccharides in dolomite crystallization at low-temperature.
    Zheng, X-Y, Beard, BL, Reddy, TR, Roden, EE, and Johnson, CM (2017) Tracing biological and abiological processes in the early earth using silicon isotopes.Posted 1 April 2017
  • Workshop on rock-hosted life
    Max Coleman was one of the organizers of the workshop on rock-hosted life, held in early February and supported by NASA HQ. In the two-day meeting a strategy was evolved for Mars exploration for Rock-hosted life for the Mars 2020 mission and developed a presentation which was given at the Mars 2020 Landing Site Workshop, held immediately after. In addition, Max gave two talks on Astrobiology with reference to Mars and Water Worlds over two hours to a very receptive audience of 89 people at the Pasadena Senior Center.
    Posted 1 April 2017
  • Shoemaker Award goes to Morgan Cox
    Morgan Cox, and undergraduate student at Curtin University working with Aaron Cavosie to search for Hadean shocked zircon, received the 2016 Shoemaker Award for Impact Cratering, awarded by the Planetary Geology Division of GSA. This award comes with a research stipend, and is most often awarded to graduate students. The announcement was made in the Lunar and Planetary Institution Bulletin 147 (Dec. 2016). Ms. Cox will be presented with the award at the 2017 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
    Posted 1 February 2017
  • Special session at AGU
    Max Coleman convened and chaired a session at AGU, “Advances in Approaches and Instruments for Isotope Studies” which amazingly attracted enough abstracts to merit two oral sessions as well as posters. We took advantage of the new AGU flexibility of format to include a Panel Discussion, where John Hayes, John Eiler, Ed Young and Marilyn Fogel discussed among other topics their vision for the future of isotope science.
    Posted 1 February 2017
  • Crystal clear thinking helps scientist advance knowledge of Earth’s geology
    An interview with Aaron Cavosie in the Sydney Morning Herald from late November probed topics related to geoscience as a profession. See press release here.
    Posted 1 February 2017
  • New paper on Mars meteorites
    WARC Co-I Brian Beard, along with post-doc Aaron Satkoski, published a paper on Mars meteorites, in collaboration with University of Houston researchers. See press release here.
    Posted 1 February 2017

2016

  • Aaron Cavosie gives newspaper interview
    Based on WARC Co-I Aaron Cavosie’s paper on Meteor Crater zircons published in September issue of Geology, Aaron provides an interview Madison paper ‘The Isthmus’.
    Posted 15 November 2016
  • Bill Schopf honored at Oberlin CollegeBill Schopf, a WARC Co-I, was honored as an invited speaker at Oberlin College, OH, where they celebrated the 23 graduates who have become members of the National Academy. He gave a entitled “Three-Billion-Year-Old Fossil Bacteria and the U.S. Congress.”, where he summarized (1) his recent discovery of the second-oldest cellular fossils now known (3400 Ma-old microbial communities from the Strelley Pool chert of Western Australia ); (2) the first evidence of metabolic cooperation among microbial communities (symbiotic mutualism) to be documented in the geological record; (3) paleoecologically and fossil-based evidence of the anoxic nature of the Paleoarchean atmosphere and Earth-surface environment; and — this being an election year — (4) a solution to the gridlock of the U.S. Congress: “if by their cooperative interaction, disparate microbial groups inhabiting the H2S-saturated ‘rotten-egg stinky’ anoxic world three billion years ago could live in harmony, each dependent on the other to survive and thrive, perhaps politically differing factions of the U.S. Congress could, too.”
    Posted 15 November 2016
  •  Planetary Missions conference
    WARC Co-I Max Coleman attended the Instruments for Planetary Missions conference, held in Pasadena CA, and presented a paper on an instrument concept utilizing the new technology of Capillary Absorption Spectrometry.
    Posted 15 November 2016
  • New post-doc Antoine Crémière joins group
    New post-doc, Antoine Crémière, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Paris and most recently has been doing a postdoc at the Geological Survey of Norway on carbonates and carbonate-associated sulfate, joined WARC Co-I Max Coleman’s gorup at JPL. Antoine will be working on ancient carbonate concretions to understand the microbial ecosystems in which they formed, while undertaking microbial culture experiments to simulate such environments.
    Posted 15 November 2016
  • Life in ancient oceans enabled by erosion from land
    Post-doc Aaron Satkoski’s work on radiogenic Sr isotopes in early Archean seawater is highlighted in several news releases, including UW-Madison as well as NASA. In addition, Aaron provided a radio interview to WORT FM.
    Posted 7 November 2016
  • Geological Society of America Annual Meeting
    WARC Co-I John Valley gave an invited talk at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America: “Valley JW, Blum T, Reinhard D (2016) How Small is Too Small for Isotope Ratio Analysis? GSA Ann. Meet. Abst. 35-1 (invited).”
    Posted 16 October 2016
  • NASA press release on Meteor Crater research
    Press release on Aaron Cavosie’s work on Meteor Crater featured on the NAI website.
    Posted 16 October 2016
  • New post-doc Piyali Chanda joins group
    Fresh from her Ph.D. at Penn State, new post-doc Piyali Chanda joins the group, where she will work on Mg, Fe, and Si isotopes in experimental systems on carbonates and Fe-bearing cherts, as well as applications to the Archean rock record.
    Posted 1 September 2016
  • Breana Hashman finishes M.S. degree
    M.S. student Breana Hashman completed her degree, entitled “A Mesoarchean microbial iron shuttle, Witwatersrand Basin, South Africa”.
    Posted 30 August 2016
  • Geomicrobiology conference in Germany
    Geomicrobiology 2016, a conference held at the University of Tuebingen, Germany, May 30-June 3, 2106, was attended by WARC Co-I Bill Schopf, who also gave a lecture at the conference.
    Posted 24 August 2016
  • Astrobiology Primer v2.0 Released
    The long awaited second edition of the Astrobiology Primer has been published in the journal Astrobiology. More information can be found here.
    Posted 23 August 2016
  • Lecture on genomic analysis
    Eric Roden, WARC Co-I, gave a 1-hour talk on genomic approaches to the analysis of microbial communities and the relevance of microbial communities to astrobiology to a group of about 20 high school teachers who were participants in a Promega-sponsored K-12 teacher training program through the BioPharmaceutica Technology Center Institute located on Promega’s Fitchburg campus. Teachers who participated in this could provide a good vehicle to convey Astrobiology-related concepts to high school students throughout the state.
    Posted 24 August 2016
  • Impact zircons in Meteor Crater
    One of many news releases on WARC Co-I Aaron Cavosie’s new study published in Geology on the effects of impacts on zircons from Meteor Crater.
    Posted 24 August 2016
  • Meteoritical Society Annual Meeting
    WARC Co-I Aaron Cavosie co-chaired a workshop at the 2016 Meteoritical Society annual meeting in Berlin titled “Microstructure and Geochronology of Shocked Accessory Minerals”, which took place on Sunday August 7, 2016. The main meeting ran from 7-12 August, 2016.
    Posted 24 August 2016
  • Group collects Archean samples in Australia and South Africa
    Post-doc Aaron Satkoski and Clark Johnson worked in the Pilbara craton of South Africa, in collaboration with Martin Van Kranendonk, in July. In August, they traveled to South Africa where Ph.D. student Kick Levitt joined for field work and core sampling of the Campbellrand sequence (in collaboration with Nic Beukes) and the Barberton Greenstone Belt (in collaboration with Christoph Huebeck).
    Posted 10 Aug 2016
  • Eric Boyd presents lectures to Geobiology course
    WARC Co-I Eric Boyd provided an evening seminar at the International Geobiology Course on Catalina Island on July 5th. The talk centered on the dynamic nature of geological and biological co-evolution.
    Posted 5 July 2016
  • John Eiler elected to the National Academy
    WARC Co-I John Eiler has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. John’s work with WARC involves application of clumped isotope thermometry to carbonate sequences to determine paleotemperatures and thermal histories.
    Posted 5 June 2016
  • Graduate student Melody Lindsay received graduate fellowship
    Melody Lindsay, a doctoral candidate in the lab of WARC Co-I Eric Boyd at MSU, received a NASA earth and space science graduate fellowship.
    Posted 5 June 2016
  • Researcher Taylor Kelly joins group
    The SETI Institute has hired Taylor Kelly as a full-time WACR NAI researcher to work on the analysis of samples that have been returned to earth following space radiation exposure on the ISS, and to investigate biomarker retention and extraction in Mars analog materials. Taylor will be working with WARC Co-I Richard Quinn, as well as collaborator Niki Parenteau, at NASA Ames Research Center.
    Posted 5 June 2016
  • Thiru Reddy finishes M.S. degree
    M.S. student Thiru Reddy completed her degree, entitled “Si isotope variations in the Precambrian rock record explained through experimental studies and development of new methods on femtosecond laser ablation for in situ Si analysis”.
    Posted 30 May 2016
  • New Insight into Microbial Communities in Anoxic Sediments
    A new study from WARC Co-I Eric Roden’s group, provides insight into a well-recognized chemolithotrophic pathway that can be used by microorganisms inhabiting anoxic sediments. News release can be found here.
    Posted 24 May 2016
  • EXPOSE-R2 samples returned from ISS
    The EXPOSE-R2 Photochemistry on the Space Station (PSS) samples were safely returned from the International Space Station (ISS) on March 2, 2016. This project, led by WARC Co-I’s Richard Quinn and Pascale Ehrenfreund, involves sample analysis that will be performed in a round-robin fashion beginning at Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques Université Paris-Est Créteil, with samples sent to the SETI Institute/NASA Ames Research Center for analysis later in 2016.
    Posted 5 May 2016
  • Life in the Universe – The Science of Astrobiology
    NAI Interim Director, Carl Pilcher, presented an overview of astrobiology to a public audience on the Big Island of Hawaii at the invitation of the Keck Observatory. More information can be found here.
    Posted 18 April 2016
  • Short courses at the University of Auckland and Nanjing University
    As part of his sabbatical visits to the University of Auckland and Nanjing University, WARC PI Clark Johnson presented five-day short courses on stable isotope geochemistry, as well as a general lecture on astrobiology.
    Posted March 30, 2016
  • Penny Boston Spelunking for Alien Life on Earth
    An interview with incoming NAI Director Penny Boston about her research. More information can be found here.
    Posted 25 March 2016
  • AstRoMap – European Astrobiology Roadmap
    The European AstRoMap project (supported by the European Commission Seventh Framework Program) surveyed the state of the art of astrobiology in Europe and beyond and produced the first European roadmap for astrobiology research. More information can be found here.
    Posted 23 March 2016
  • NASA Selects New Director for Astrobiology Institute
    Penelope Boston has been selected as the director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute (NAI), in Moffett Field, California, to lead the scientific activities of the institute’s member teams and all operational aspects of the organization. Her appointment is effective May 31. More information can be found here.
    Posted 22 March 2016
  • New post-doc Ishida Akizumi joins group
    Dr. Ishida Akizumi Ishida arrived in Madison in January 2016 and will work with WARC Co-I John Valley on developing techniques for nitrogen isotope analysis in organic matter by SIMS. He will initially refine techniques for analysis of N isotopes in anthracite standards with the goal to adapt procedures to analysis of putative microfossils in 3.4 to 3.5 Ga cherts. Ishida completed his Ph.D. in 2012 at Tohoku University with Prof. Takeshi Kakegawa on “Microbial Activity in the Gunflint and Rove Formations”.
    Posted 18 February 2016
  • NAI 2015 Director’s Discretionary Fund (DDF) Selections
    The NASA Astrobiology Institute announced nine selections for the Director’s Discretionary Fund for 2015. This included a WARC-related project with the UC-Boulder team. More information can be found here.
    Posted 15 January 2016
  • New post-doc Huan Cui joins group
    Dr. Huan Cui arrived in Madison in December 2015, and he will work with WARC Co-I John Valley on sulfur 4-isotope ratios in pyrite by SIMS across the GOE. In December, Huan and Mike Spicuzza traveled to Sault St. Marie, Ontario and sampled drill core (stored outside!) from the Huronian. Huan completed his PhD in Nov. 2015 with Prof. Jay Kaufman at the University of Maryland on “Authigenesis, biomineralization, and redox dynamics of the late Precambrian ocean”.
    Posted 12 January 2016
  • John Valley appears in NOVA special
    A new PBS NOVA special, “Life’s Rocky Start”, follows Carnegie scientist Bob Hazen around the world looking at life in a mineralogical context. Part of the episode features WARC Co-I John Valley and his research on Archean/Hadean zircons. Episode first airs Jan. 13, 2016, and is available for streaming. For more information, see the NAI website.
    Posted 12 January 2016

2015

  • Clark Johnson gives NASA Director’s Seminar
    A joint seminar was given by Clark Johnson and Loren Williams (Georgia Tech) entitled “Ironing out the Universe and Life”. Information on this virtual seminar can be found here. The archived video can be found here (Adobe Connect).
    Posted 13 November 2015
  • New study questions dates for cataclysms on early moon, Earth
    WARC Co-PI Aaron Cavosie just published a study in Geology on zircons from a gigantic meteorite impact in South Africa, which questions the methods used to date large impacts using shock features in zircons. Further information can be found in this press release from UW-Madison News.
    Posted 22 October 2015
  • Clark Johnson’s talk at University Colorado blogged on STEPPE Newsletter
    “Using Geology to Put Time Stamps on the Tree of Life” article on Clark’s talk by STEPPE blogger Zoe Gentes, can be found here.
    Posted 22 October 2015
  • New EPSL paper on origin of oxygenic photosynthesis highlighted in press release
    Further coverage of Aaron Satkoski’s paper that suggests oxygenic photosynthesis arose prior to 3.2 b.y. ago can be found in this press release from UW-Madison News.
    Posted 7 October 2015
  • An ancient iron world
    Clark Johnson talks about an ancient iron world for Wednesday Nite at the Lab at UW-Madison. Link to video can be found here.
    Posted 7 October 2015
  • WARC hosts NASA Astrobiology Executive Council meeting in Madison
    The NAI Executive Council met at UW-Madison September 29 & 30, and as part of this, WARC PI’s, staff, post-docs, and students provided overviews of WARC research and tours of the laboratory facilities and the Geology Museum in the Department of Geoscience.
    Posted 1 October 2015
  • Nick Levitt awarded research grant from the Geological Society of America
    WARC Ph.D. student Nick Levitt was selected to receive a 2015 GSA Student Research Award as well as a GSA Division of Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, and Volcanology (MGPV) Supplemental Research Award for his proposal to investigate the “Temperature and Geochemical Composition of the Archean Ocean by Clumped Isotope Analysis of Stromatolitic Carbonates”. More information can be found here.
    Posted 15 September 2015
  • Aaron Satkoski’s research highlighted in Science News
    WARC post-doc Aaron Satkoski is interviewed by Science News on his discovery of the oldest redox gradient known in the ancient Earth at 3.2 b.y. ago. Article can be found here.
    Posted 8 September 2015
  • Astrobiology interview with UW-Madison Daily Cardinal
    WARC PI Clark Johnson is interviewed about recent research in astrobiology on the origin of banded iron formations by the UW-Madison student newspaper, The Daily Cardinal. Story can be found here.
    Posted 2 September 2015
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: New probe gives closer look at oldest terrestrial material
    In his MSA Presidential Address, WARC Co-I John Valley describes the development of the atom probe as applied to studying Hadean zircons from the Jack Hills, Australia. More information can be found here.
    Posted 18 August 2015
  • Searching for alien life – a YouTube interview
    WARC PI Clark Johnson is interviewed on a PBS-sponsored YouTube channel called “The Good Stuff”, about astrobiology and searching for aliens. Link to video here. Link to news story at UW-Madison here.
    Posted 28 July 2015
  • Iron: A biological element?
    The results of a new study by WARC researchers published in PNAS demonstrates that 2.5 b.y. old Banded Iron Formations (BIFs) contain a large amount of biologically cycled iron. More information can be found here.
    Posted 25 June 2015
  • WARC team member Pascale Ehrenfreund Appointed to Chair the German Aerospace Center
    The German Aerospace Center has selected Pascale Ehrenfreund as their new Chair of the Executive Board. The is a very prestigious honor, and we congratulate our colleague. More information can be found here.
    Posted 20 June 2015
  • UW-Madison hosting AbGradCon 2015
    We are proud to announce that UW-Madison is hosting the annual astrobiology science conference that is aimed at early career astrobiologists – “AbGradCon” – which will be held in Madison, WI on July 19 thru 23, 2015. More information can be found here.
    Posted 15 April 2015
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: Ancient Organisms That Have Not Evolved
    WARC scientists have discovered 1.8 billion-year-old fossil microorganisms in fossilized deep-sea mud from Western Australia. It appears that the sulfur-cycling microbial community is almost identical to microbial fossils from 2.3 billion-years-ago, and to modern communities found off the coast of South America. More information can be found here.
    Posted 26 February 2015
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: Rare Mineral in Wisconsin Meteorite Crater
    Researchers have identified a rare mineral in a Wisconsin meteorite crater. The mineral reidite was found in the Rock Elm impact structure, making this only the fourth site on Earth where it has been identified. More information can be found here.
    Posted 13 January 2015

2014

  • 2014 NAI Team Overviews
    On November 17-18, 2014, the new NAI CAN-7 (1/15-12/19) Principal Investigators (PIs) joined the CAN-6 (1/13-12/17; includes WARC) PIs at an in-person meeting hosted by the University of Southern California team, presenting overviews of their teams and their research. More information can be found here.
    Posted 01 December 2014
  • NASA funds a new set of teams
    The NASA Astrobiology Institute has named seven teams via its seventh cycle of funding (“CAN-7”) for five years of funding, including the Institute in Mountain View, CA; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA; the University of California, Riverside; NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD; the University of Montana, Missoula; and the University of Colorado, Boulder. The full announcement can be found here.
    Posted 07 October 2014
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: Earth’s Crust Younger Than Moon-Forming Impact
    The age of the Earth’s crust is contentious, and geologic material available for analysis is few and far between. In a new study in Nature Geoscience, NAI-funded astrobiologists have mapped the distribution of radiogenic isotopes within an ancient zircon from the Jack Hills in Western Australia (a site with some of Earth’s oldest rocks). More information can be found here.
    Posted 28 April 2014
  • Early Earth research on zircons
    Professor John Valley summarizes his work on Earth’s oldest materials, zircons from the Jack Hills of Western Australia, here.
    Posted 23 February 2014

2013

  • NRC Review of the NAI
    NAI was reviewed by the National Research Council, and their final report has been posted here.
    Posted 4 November 2013
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: Grand Opening of Biosignatures Exhibit in Wisconsin
    The NAI’s University of Wisconsin, Madison team had the grand opening of their new Biosignatures exhibit at the University’s Geology Museum this week. More information can be found here.
    Posted 26 September 2013
  • Exhibiting signs of life
    What if you could travel back in time 3 billion years, and take a breath? What would earth’s air smell like? Deeply stinky, according to Brooke Norsted, an outreach specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Geology Museum. Visitors to a new exhibit, “Biosignatures: What Does Life Leave Behind?” created by Norsted and Museum Director Richard Slaughter, can get a whiff by lifting the cap of a display labeled “Aromas of Astrobiology.” More information can be found here.
    Posted 18 September 2013
  • 2014 Astrobiology Strategic Plan
    The NASA Astrobiology Program is presently engaged in creating a 2014 Strategic Plan. More information can be found here.
    Posted 12 August 2013
  • The Next Step for Astrobiology’s Roadmap
    The Astrobiology Program has completed the first step in creating a new Astrobiology Roadmap. Thenext phase in outlining the future direction for astrobiology research and technology development at NASA is set to begin next week. More information can be found here.
    Posted 12 June 2013
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: Detailing Precambrian Microfossils
    NAI-supported WARC research published in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta presents new techniques for analyzing Precambrian microscopic fossils. More information can be found here.
    Posted 26 April 2013
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: The Biology Behind Banded Iron Formations
    A long-enduring puzzle in the evolution of the early Earth concerns when and to what extent surface oxidation occurred. One important piece of this puzzle is determining when oxygen production began, and how early oxygen was consumed by reduced species, such as iron (Fe(II)), in the oceans. More information can be found here.
    Posted 04 March 2013
  • Clark Johnson and Astrobiology group on CBS
    An article and YouTube video that features Clark Johnson and the Wisconsin Astrobiology group. More information can be found here.
    Posted 13 February 2013
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: New Evidence for a Wet and Clay-Rich Ancient Mars 
    NAI-funded astrobiologists have uncovered new evidence that the martian surface was wet and clay-rich prior to 4.2 billion years ago. Their study was published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters and focused on aqueous alterations in the Mars meteorite ALH84001. More information can be found here.
    Posted 11 February 2013

2012

  • Michael Feldman and Clark Johnson talk about astrobiology on “Whad’Ya Know?”
    Mars, 3.5 b.y. old stromatolites, and isotope geochemistry are some of the topics Clark Johnson and Michael Feldman talked about on “Whad’Ya Know?” on Wisconsin Public Radio. More information can be found here.
    Posted 10 December 2012
  • NASA renews WARC funding for another five years
    The NASA Astrobiology Institute has named five teams for five years of funding via its sixth cycle of funding (“CAN-6”), including the University of Wisconsin-based WARC team. This is a renewal of the current WARC grant, and with the new grant, NASA will supply a decade of support for our astrobiology program. Other teams announced are housed at MIT, University of Washington, University of Illinois, and USC. The full announcement can be found here.
    Posted 07 September 2012
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: O/OREOS Nanosatellite Success in Orbit
    NASA’s Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses (O/OREOS) nanosatellite has successfully carried microorganisms to a high-inclination, low-Earth orbit and monitored the effects of the space environment on their growth and metabolism. WARC Co-I Pascale Ehrenfreund is deeply involved in O/OREOS. More information can be found here.
    Posted 30 January 2012

2011

  • NAI-WARC Highlight: Beyond the Edge of the Sea, in Wisconsin
    Beyond the Edge of the Sea is a breath-taking exhibit consisting of hand-drawn scientific illustrations from hydrothermal vents experienced first hand by scientist Cindy Van Dover and artist Karen Jacobsen. Making its debut in Madison, WI recently, the exhibit was joined by these two collaborators and local residents reaped the benefits. More information can be found here.
    Posted 07 December 2011
  • In Memoriam: Dr. Baruch S. “Barry” Blumberg 1925 – 2011
    Nobel Laureate Baruch S. Blumberg died of an apparent heart attack on April 5, while attending a conference at NASA Ames Research Center. He was 85. Known to friends and colleagues as Barry, Dr. Blumberg served as the first director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (1999-2002) and an advocate for astrobiology ever since. At the time of his death, he was Distinguished Scientist at the both the NASA Astrobiology Institute and the NASA Lunar Science Institute. More information can be found here.
    Posted 02 April 2011

2010

  • NAI-WARC Highlight: Evidence of Ancient Impact Preserved in Modern Sand
    WARC Co-I Aaron Cavosie at the University of Puerto Rico and their collaborators have identified a unique record of an ancient meteorite impact event that is preserved in microstructures in detrital grains of quartz, zircon, and monazite in the Vaal River, South Africa. More information can be found here.
    Posted 22 November 2010
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: Microbial Iron Reduction in BIF’s?
    A recent study published by the Wisconsin Astrobiology Research Consortium in Geobiology provides an example of such a modern analog study in the context of Archean and Paleoproterozoic Banded Iron Formations (BIFs). More information can be found here.
    Posted 27 April 2010
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: Rock of Ages – a Younger ALH84001
    NAI scientists from the University of Wisconsin Team and their colleagues have shown that the true age of this famous meteorite is 4.091 billion years, about 400 million years younger than earlier age estimates. More information can be found here.
    Posted 16 April 2010
  • NAI-WARC Highlight: Isotopic Evidence of Early Life in Western Australia
    Researchers from NAI’s University of Wisconsin team studied carbon and iron isotopes in core samplesfrom 2.7-2.5 billion year old rocks in Western Australia. More information can be found here.
    Posted 22 March 2010

2009

  • NAI Team Seminars Recorded and Available Online
    A series of virtual seminars highlighting the work of the NAI’s fourteen teams (CAN-4 and CAN-5) concluded on April 27, 2009. More information can be found here.
    Posted 08 May 2009
  • The Science of NAI – Overview Presentations Available as Podcasts
    At last week’s NAI Executive Council meeting, each of NAI’s Principal Investigators for CAN-4 and CAN-5 teams delivered presentations outlining the science of their teams. More information can be found here.
    Posted 06 February 2009

2008

  • NASA Selects New Science Teams for Astrobiology Institute
    The NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) has awarded a new round of five-year grants, averaging $7 million each, to 10 research teams from across the country to study the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. These ten teams, part of the fifth cycle of NAI awards (“CAN-5”) are in addition to four continuing (“CAN-4”) teams that include our Wisconsin-based WARC team, as well as those at MIT, University of Washington, and Montana State, bringing the total number of NAI teams to 14. The 10 new teams are based at NASA’s Ames Research Center, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (2 teams), NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of Hawaii, Arizona State University, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Pennsylvania State University, Georgia Tech, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Details may be found here.
    Posted 22 October 2008
  • NASA releases new version of the Astrobiology Roadmap
    The Roadmap addresses three basic questions: how does life begin and evolve, does life exist elsewhere in the universe, and what is the future of life on Earth and beyond? For each of these goals, Science Objectives outline more specific high priority efforts for the next three to five years. A copy of the updated Roadmap can be found here.
    Posted 25 September 2008

2007

  • NASA Announces four new science teams for Astrobiology Institute
    The results for the fourth cycle of awards (“CAN-4”) from the NASA Astrobiology Institute were announced, which includes four new teams: The University of Washington, Montana State University, MIT, and UW-Madison, the later of which forms the beginnings of The Wisconsin Astrobiology Research Consortium (WARC). Additional information can be found here.
    Posted 9 May 2007