Geobiology in Space Exploration Workshop II: First Announcement

Geobiology in Space Exploration Workshop II: First Announcement

- Extraterrestrial Subsurface Exploration and Geomicrobiology

 

25th – 28th May 2015, Iglesias, Sardinia, Italy.

 

Registration deadline April 17th.

 

The exploration of extraterrestrial subsurface environments is one of the major modern challenges in space exploration. This second Geobiology in Space Exploration (GESE) workshop will build on the first GESE workshop held in Marrakech in 2011 and will be based in the town of Iglesias, Sardinia, from 25-28th May 2015. This workshop will explore strategies and approaches to the subsurface exploration of other planetary environments, and the geomicrobiology of such habitats.  The surrounding region has a large number of diverse mine and cave networks have a range of speleothem, microbial, and mineral features for geomicrobiological research. To register contact Toby Samuels (toby.samuels@ed.ac.uk).

 

1) Location and Transport

The workshop will be held within the town of Iglesias, Sardinia. The closest international airport is Cagliari, approximately 40 minute drive from Iglesias by car/shuttle.

 

 2) Accommodation

Accommodation is provided for all attendees (5 nights, 24th – 29th May) in shared rooms (2 people per room), in either one of the following hotels within Iglesias:
> Hotel Artu
> Hotel Eurohotel
Both hotels are in walking distance to the meeting and include breakfast. There will be a workshop dinner for all attendees (also provided) on Day 1 (25th May), and lunch will be provided on all four days, including the field excursions. For all other evening meals, we encourage attendees to explore the culinary delights that Iglesias has to offer!

 

3) Field excursions

Guided excursions will take place on Days 3 and 4 to Is Zuddas cave, Su Zurfuru Mine and Su Mannau Cave. The aim of these visits is for attendees to explore the wide range of subsurface environments within which geomicrobiological and mineralogical processes occur. These sites have undergone very little investigation and hold much potential for future research projects in mineral-microbe interactions, and how such subsurface environments may be explored with existing and future space technology. Transport will be provided between Iglesias to the cave and mine sites. The cave sites we will visit are not physically challenging, but we strongly recommend that all attendees bring comfortable and study footwear as the floor may be slippy. Likewise, it can be colder within the cave environment, so please bring suitable clothing. Cave sites as follows:

 

  • Is Zuddas: The owners of the cave are keen in collaborating for research and there will be an opportunity before lunch for some people to take samples, so if you’re interested in this make sure to bring sampling equipment. As it is a show cave it is not possible to have everyone wandering around the cave sampling unsupervised, but if anyone sees something of interest then let us know.
  • Su Mannau cave: Same as for Is Zuddas.
  • Zurfuru mine: Here all people can take samples if needed.

 

*See below (#5) for information on pre-workshop sampling trips

 

4) Provisional programme

 

Evening: Ice breaker/Registration
DAY 1 – University conference rooms
9.15 Registration/coffee
10.15 Welcome
Session 1: Cave and subsurface geomicrobiology and biosignatures
10.30 2 Talks
11.10 Invited Talk: Penny Boston
11.40 Coffee Break
12.00 3 Talks
13.00 Lunch
Session 2: Extraterrestrial subsurface exploration
14.00 3 Talks
15.00 Invited Talk: Charles Cockell – Mine Analogue Programme
15.30 Coffee Break
16.00 3 Talks
17.00 FINISH
19.00 Workshop Dinner (TBD venue)
DAY 2 – University conference rooms
9.00 Coffee
Session 3: Mineral – microbe interactions and biogeochemical cycling
9.30 Invited Talk: TBD
10.00 3 Talks
11.00 Coffee Break
11.30 3 Talks
12.30 Lunch
Session 4: Geobiology in Space – ISS experiments and radiation biology
13.30 Invited Talk: Loredana Bessone – ESA Caves programme
14.00 3 Talks
15.00 Poster Session
17.00 FINISH
DAY 3 – Geomining park
TBD am Leave Iglesias
TBD pm Return to Iglesias
DAY 4 – Geomining park and University conference rooms
TBD am Leave Iglesias (actual times TBD)
12.00 Lunch and return to Iglesias
14.00 Open discussion – “Cave systems for geobiology research”- Ideas bringing together cave geobiology and new/in situ  instrumentation- How cave geobiology can be applied to space (e.g. long-term experiments, geobiology for human space exploration, geobiology for planetary exploration).- Scope for geobiology activities in ESA CAVES
16.00 FINISH

 

 

 

5) Pre-workshop sampling trips

On the Saturday and Sunday before the workshop, dedicated sampling trips for up to 6 people can be arranged to the Coronae sa Craba cave (quartzite cave) and Sa Marchesa mine (Pb-Zn-Fe mine). This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to acquire geomicrobiology samples from exceptional cave environments that otherwise have limited accessibility. If anyone is interested in sampling at these sites before the start of the workshop please contact Professor Jo De Waele (jo.dewaele@unibo.it) to arrange this. Please note these sampling trips will be at individuals own expense (vehicle fuel, food, and equipment hire costs).

 

 

Workshop and discussion in the caves of Sardinia: Extraterrestrial Subsurface Exploration

Extraterrestrial Subsurface Exploration and Geomicrobiology

 

Workshop, discussions, and study in the caves of Sardinia

 

The exploration of extraterrestrial subsurface environments is one of the major modern challenges in space exploration. This second Geobiology in Space Exploration (GESE) workshop will build on the first GESE workshop held in Marrakech in 2011 and will be based in the town of Iglesias, Sardinia, from 25-28th May 2015. This workshop will explore strategies and approaches to the subsurface exploration of other planetary environments, and the geomicrobiology of such habitats.  The surrounding region has a large number of diverse mine and cave networks have a range of speleothem, microbial, and mineral features for geomicrobiological research.

 

The first two days of the workshop will involve presentations, round table discussions and poster sessions in the conference facilities of the University of Sulcis Iglesiente, with abstracts invited from the following themes:

 

  • Subsurface exploration
  • Instruments for extraterrestrial subsurface exploration
  • ISS Experiments and radiation geobiology
  • Mineral-microbe interactions
  • Biogeochemical cycling of bioessential elements – on Earth and in Space
  • Geobiology and heavy metals/toxicity
  • Cave and subsurface geomicrobiology and biosignatures

 

The following two days will involve field excursions to the three following sites:  Is Zuddas Cave, Su Zurfuru Mine and Su Mannau Cave.

 

These sites have a variety of microbial environments, “moonmilk”, mineral deposits on the rock surface below wall seeps, unusual sulphate deposits, and active hydrological and sedimentary systems. These will be educational and informative trips, with some brief opportunities for sampling. Please note we recommend sturdy footwear/walking boots for all cave tours. On Saturday and Sunday before the workshop sampling trips for up to 6 people can be arranged to the Corona ‘e sa Craba cave (quartzite cave) and Sa Marchesa mine (Pb-Zn-Fe mine). If anyone is interested in sampling at these sites before the start of the workshop please contact Professor Jo De Waele (jo.dewaele@unibo.it) to arrange this.

 

The cost of attendance is €450 which includes accommodation, lunch, workshop dinner, and all excursions during the workshop. To attend please register by clicking this link and submit an abstract (no longer than 200 words) for oral or poster presentation to Toby Samuels (toby.samuels@ed.ac.uk) by April 17th.

 

 

This meeting is co-organized between the ESA Topical team GESE (Geobiology in Space Exploration), the UK Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh, and academics at the Italian Institute of Speleology at the University of Bologna and the University of Sulcis Iglesiente, with additional support from members of the Geomining Park in Sardinia.

 

 

Teachers – Apply for the 2015 Astrobiology Summer Academy!

The UKCA’s Astrobiology Summer Academy is an initiative to develop lesson plans for schools in the UK that use the excitement and interdisciplinary nature of astrobiology to advance science teaching.

 

The Centre is making an ‘Astrobiology Lesson Plan’ collection which is available on TES Resources where teachers can access these lesson plans. Fourteen of them were written by teacher attendees of the 2014 ASA.

 

The lesson plans include a rock cycle you can illustrate with chocolate, lessons on extremophiles, Mars exploration and lesson plans about extinction and human impacts on the Earth.

 

 

The Astrobiology Summer Academy will run in 2015 (July 12-15th) and if you know of any teachers interested in contributing to this effort and attending the ASA to learn about astrobiology in an informal setting, let them know about ASA 2015!

 

You can see more information about the academy on our web site: www.astrobiologyacademy.org