UK Centre for Astrobiology


Here you can find the latest news from the UK Centre for Astrobiology.

Fifth Astrobiology Academy gets underway in July

New lesson plans and curriculum for primary and secondary schools

On July 10th, the UKCA will host its fifth Astrobiology Academy, a teaching training initiative designed to develop astrobiology curriculum materials. This year, bringing 20 primary and secondary school teachers together from across Scotland and the US, it will continue to develop curriculum materials for primary and secondary schools using astrobiolgy to tecah basis science.

It will be working with Nicole Chambers from California to translate its astrobiology lesson plans into the Californian education system.

The lesson plans developed by the academy can be accessed here:

UKCA to be joined by Javier Martin-Torres

In September 2017 the UKCA will be joined by Javier Martin-Torres, who currently leads a planetary science and atmospheric research group at the Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, division of Space technology. Javier is PI of the HABIT instrument to be flown on the ExoMars European Mars lander and will join us as a Visiting Fellow.

New Marie-Curie Fellow to join UKCA

The UKCA will be joined by by Marie-Curie Fellow, Sean McMahon in September 2017. His work has focused on early life on Earth and its application to looking at the habitability of other planets such as Mars. Previusly at Yale and Aberdeen, at the University of Edinburgh he plans to work on subsurface biosignatures and how they can inform the search for life elsewhere.

New NSF Fellow to join UKCA

The UKCA will be joined by Rebecca P:reescott. Currently at the University of Hawaii, her NSF (National Science Foundation) Fellowship will be held jointly at the University of Edinburgh and the University of South Carolina. She will be focusing on quorum sensing molecules in microbial mats and the search for biosignatures on Mars.

UKCA prepares for MINAR 5, 1km underground

Fifth astrobiology analog campaign using its deep subsurface astrobiology laboratory

The UKCA is preparing for a two week campaign of testing space instruments and studying life in extreme environments using its underground astrobiology laboratory 1 km underground at the Boulby Mine, UK.

MINAR 5 (Mine Analog Research) will run during October 2017 for two weeks and involve scientists from NASA, Sweden, Switzerland and a number of groups from the UK. It will focus on the study of life and gases in the deep subsurface and the testing of a variety of instruments including drones, life detection equipment and other new planetary instruments.

You can read about the MINAR 1-3 campaigns here.

The UK completes pilot phase of astrobiology in prisons

The UKCA has completed a pilot phase of its 'Life Beyond' programme focused on taking astrobiology and science education into the prison environment. Lectures and inmate-led discussions were held at HMP Shotts, Edinburgh, Glenochil and Lowmoss.