Space

April 17, 2012

NASA, Library of Congress select first astrobiology chair


NASA and the Library of Congress have announced the selection of David H. Grinspoon to be the first Baruch S. Blumberg NASA-Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology.

The chair, selected through an international competition, is named for the late Nobel Laureate and founding director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, Baruch “Barry” Blumberg. Applications are solicited by the Library of Congress and reviewed by a panel jointly established by the Library and NASA. The prestigious position was created in November 2011.

Grinspoon will be in residence for a year beginning November 2012 at the library’s scholarly research organization, the Kluge Center, in Washington. He is the curator of astrobiology in the Department of Space Sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Grinspoon is a well-known researcher in planetary science and the author of the award-winning book “Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life.”

“Grinspoon’s background as an astrobiology researcher, writer and communicator of science makes him an ideal choice,” said Carl Pilcher, director of the Astrobiology Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. “This is certainly the start of what will become a great tradition of astrobiology chairs at the library.”

Astrobiology is the study of the origins, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. It addresses three fundamental questions: How did life begin and evolve? Is there life elsewhere? What is the future of life on Earth and beyond? The institute’s mission is to promote interdisciplinary research in astrobiology, train the next generation of astrobiologists and provide scientific and technical leadership for NASA space missions.

“Grinspoon is uniquely positioned to introduce the Library’s unique multidisciplinary collections on the emerging subject to a wide and diverse public,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

At the library, Blumberg was a founding member of the Scholar’s Council, a 12-member group of distinguished scholars who advise the Librarian of Congress on matters of scholarship.

Blumberg was awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovery of the Hepatitis B virus and development of a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B infection. He was the founding director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, serving from 1999 to 2002.

Grinspoon will examine choices facing humanity as we enter the Anthropocene Era, the epoch when human activities are becoming a defining characteristic of the physical nature and functioning of Earth. His research will include studies of the role of planetary exploration in fostering scientific and public understanding of climate change and the power of astrobiology as a model of interdisciplinary research and communication.

 

For more information about NASA’s Astrobiology Program, visit http://astrobiology.nasa.gov.

For more information about the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, visit http://www.loc.gov/loc/kluge.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s WISE spacecraft discovers most luminous galaxy in universe

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech This artist’s concept depicts the current record holder for the most luminous galaxy in the universe. The galaxy, WISE J224607.57-052635.0, is erupting with light equal to more than 300 ...
 
 

Air Force launches hush-hush mini-shuttle into space

A mysterious space plane rocketed into orbit May 20, carrying no crew but a full load of technology experiments. The Air Force launched its unmanned mini-shuttle late morning, May 20. An Atlas V rocket lifted it up and out over the Atlantic. This is the fourth flight for the military research program, which is shrouded...
 
 
Image courtesy NASA TV

Critical NASA research returns to Earth aboard U.S. SpaceX Dragon spacecraft

Image courtesy NASA TV The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 7:04 a.m., EDT, May 21. The capsule then performed a series of departure burns and maneuvers to ...
 

 

NASA, Canadian agency renew agreement to reduce aviation icing risks

On hand to sign the renewal agreement May 21 at the NRC offices in Ottawa, Ontario, were Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in Washington, and Ian Potter, the NRC’s vice-president of engineering. “The combined efforts of our two agencies will help solve some of the most difficult and challenging weather-related...
 
 
ULA photograph

Space and Missile Systems Center successfully launches the AFSPC-5 mission

ULA photograph An Atlas V rocket successfully launches the AFSPC-5 mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., May 20, 2015.   The Air Force and its mission partners successfully launched the AFSPC-5 mission aboar...
 
 

NASA’s CubeSat initiative aids in testing of technology for solar sails in space

With help from NASA, a small research satellite to test technology for in-space solar propulsion launched into space May 20 aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., as part of the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. The Atlas V sent the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane on its fourth mission,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>