October 2017 Issue

In this issue:

Conferences, Field Trips and Workshops

Student and Early Career Opportunities

Funding Opportunities

Other Opportunities & Announcements

Conferences, Field Trips and Workshops

Eighth Moscow Solar System Symposium

Location: Moscow, Russia
Abstract Submission Deadline: 10 August 2017 (Closed)

Starting in 2010, the Space Research Institute has held annual international symposia on Solar system exploration. Main topics of these symposia include the wide range of problems related the formation and evolution of the solar system, planetary systems of other stars; exploration of Solar system planets, their moons, small bodies; and interplanetary environment and astrobiology problems. Experimental planetary studies, science instruments, and preparation for space missions are also considered at these symposia.

The Eight Moscow international Solar System Symposium (8M-S3) will be held from October 9-13, 2017. This year is marked by the 60th anniversary of the First satellite launch and the starting of the Space era.

Subject matter of this symposium will cover many problems of the solar system science with the central topic: “Moon, Mars, and Venus research”. This topic relates to scientific problems of several missions: “Mars Express”, “Venus Express”, the missions under development in Russia: “Luna-Glob”, “Luna-Resource”, “ExoMars 2016”( Roscosmos-ESA), which was launched on March 14, 2016, and “ExoMars 2020”( Roscosmos-ESA).

Website: https://ms2017.cosmos.ru/

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Fifth Workshop on Robotic Autonomous Observatories

Location: Mazagón, Spain
Oral Contribution Submission Deadline: 3 August 2017 (Closed)

The number of automatic astronomical facilities worldwide continues to grow, and the level of robotisation, autonomy, and networking is increasing as well. This has a strong impact in space debris surveillance and tracking as well as on many astrophysical fields, like fireball detection, the search for extra-solar planets, the monitoring of variable stars in our Galaxy, the study of active galactic nuclei, the detection and monitoring of supernovae, and the immediate follow-up of high-energy transients such as gamma-ray bursts and the search of neutrino and gravitational waves counterparts.

Thus, the main focus of the workshop, from October 16-20, will be on the new and existing astronomical facilities whose goal is to observe a wide variety of astrophysical targets with no (or very little) human interaction. The workshop will continue as an international forum for researchers to summarize the most recent developments and ideas in the field, with a special emphasis given to the Technical and Scientific results obtained within the last two years, with specific sessions on Educational Activities and Space Surveillance and Tracking.

Website: http://astrorob.iaa.es/

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Exobiologie Jeunes Chercheurs 2017

Location: Paris, France
Early Registration Deadline: 1 September 2017 (Closed)

Since 2013, every two years the French Society of Exobiology and its partners organize three days of seminars dedicated to young researchers involved in the study of the origin of life, its evolution, and life detection on Earth or in the Universe. The conference brings together young researchers (PhD students, post-docs, doctors for less than 5 years) from all disciplines: astrophysicists, chemists, biologists, geologists or historians of science. This year’s conference will take place at the Center National d’Etudes Spatiales in Paris from Monday 16 to Wednesday 18 October 2017.

Three main themes will be addressed at this symposium (one theme per day):

- Origin of Life: from Inorganic to Prebiotic Chemistry
– Terrestrial Life: Process, Environment and Conditions of its Development
– Exploring the Solar System and Beyond: Constraints and Limits of Extraterrestrial Life

Lectures will be given by renowned researchers such as Joseph Moran, Simonetta Gribaldo and Emeline Bolmont.

Website: http://www.exobiologie.fr/index.php/actualites/evenements/conference-exobiologie-jeunes-chercheurs-octobre-2017/

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The Cosmic Wheel and the Legacy of the AKARI Archive: From Galaxies and Stars to Planets and Life

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Poster Submission Deadline: 19 September 2017 (Closed)

The aim of the October 17-20, 2017 conference is twofold: first to highlight the most important AKARI contributions to our understanding of astronomical processes, and second to expose the astronomical community to the potential of the AKARI legacy so that the AKARI archive can be fully exploited in the following decades.

All of the AKARI observations, both the all-sky surveys and the pointed observations, have been reprocessed, producing high-quality final data-products, most of which have been made public at http://www.ir.isas.jaxa.jp/AKARI/Archive/. AKARI data can be directly combined with observations from other world-class facilities, as well as aiding future observations with upcoming missions and telescopes.

Website: http://www.ir.isas.jaxa.jp/AKARI/akari2017/

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9th International Conference of Geomorphology

Location: New Delhi, India
Registration Open

The 9th International Conference on Geomorphology of the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG) will take place in New Delhi at Vigyan Bhawan from 6 to 11 November, 2017. The main theme of this Conference is “Geomorphology and Society”.

Organized by the Indian Institute of Geomorphologists and open to all scientists and practitioners, this Conference will include scientific sessions, keynote lectures and a Workshop devoted to Young Geomorphologists.

Field trips will be arranged in various parts of India and neighboring countries, before, during and after the Conference.

Website: http://www.icg2017.com/

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International Society for Subsurface Microbiology (ISSM) 2017 Conference

Location: Rotorua, New Zealand
Registration Open

The International Society for Subsurface Microbiology (ISSM) is pleased to invite delegates to attend ISSM 2017. This conference is the tenth in a series of international conferences devoted to providing a better understanding of the ecology, microbial community composition and function, and biogeochemistry of the earth’s subsurface environments. The Conference is being held in Rotorua, New Zealand, from November 6-10, 2017. Rotorua is a stunning location with a wide range of environments – physical, cultural and social, to discover and explore.

The conference promises to be an unforgettable event that will bring together a wide range of international delegates from all around the globe. The conference will span 5 days, including a day of excursions, and over this period conference delegates will hear from leading experts in subsurface microbiology and discuss cutting edge developments in this area.

Website: http://issm2017nz.com/

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Workshop on Modern Analytical Methods Applied to Earth, Planetary, and Material Sciences II

Location: Budapest, Hungary
Late Registration Deadline: 10 November 2017

METHODS 2017 follows on from the previous METHODS 2014 workshop held in Sopron, Hungary, with some of the same organizers and for which the Lunar and Planetary Institute provided similar support. The purpose of this November 10, 2017 workshop is to provide an opportunity for exchange of ideas between scientists and companies working on or producing different analytical facilities that are being used in the Earth, planetary, and material sciences. This can also aid in the exchange of ideas between basic research activities and applied science.

The workshop will cover a variety of analytical methods that have been used on different samples, including geological (i.e., minerals, rocks, meteorites), biological, and industrial materials:
– Microscopy [e.g., scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM), etc.]
– Spectroscopy [e.g., cathodoluminescence (CL), thermoluminescence (TL), electron spin resonance (ESR), Raman, etc.]
– Mass spectrometry – Microprobe (SIMS)

Website: https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/methods2017/

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Joint ISAS-LPL Workshop 2017

Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Abstract Submission Deadline: 27 October 2017

The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) of the University of Arizona will hold the second annual workshop dedicated to planetary science enabled by missions to be led JAXA on November 12 and 13, 2017, at the Michael J. Drake Building (a part of LPL) in Tucson, Arizona. Given the nature of the workshop described below, participation will be limited to the first 50 registrants.

This workshop will be devoted to discussions of planetary missions that are within the reach of ISAS capability and how to make these missions fruitful for the world-wide planetary science community. ISAS uses two launchers for its space science program, Epsilon for the competitive M-class and H-IIA/II for the strategic L-class. The planned cadence is a launch every other year and three in a decade for each class. Due to resource limitations (launch capability, budget, technology for a key instrument not available in Japan), however, it is not necessarily easy to construct a good planetary mission plan if a team is to be limited to domestic members. Participation from international partners such as the United States may be mandatory in some areas. The workshop is a part of the evaluation by ISAS of whether the M (Epsilon)-class planetary missions are attractive to the international (US) community.

Website: https://www.lpl.arizona.edu/jaxaworkshop/

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Habitable Worlds 2017

Location: Laramie, WY, USA
Late Registration Deadline: 30 October 2017

The Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS), a NASA research coordination network dedicated to the study of planetary habitability, is pleased to announce a five-day workshop on Habitable Worlds 2017: A System Science Workshop, November 13–17, 2017 at the University of Wyoming Conference Center in Laramie, Wyoming.

Following the goals of NExSS to investigate the diversity of exoplanets and to learn how their history, geology, and climate interact to create the conditions for life, and corresponding biosignature detection, the workshop aims to address these questions:

– What does it mean to be habitable?
– What conditions are needed for habitability, and how do those conditions arise?
– What are the indicators of these conditions and their histories?
– How can we observe these indicators?

Detailed information is available on the workshop website: http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/habitableworlds2017

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IAU Astrobiology 2017 Conference

Location: Coyhaique, Chile
Registration Open

Astrobiology is one of the most multidisciplinary areas of knowledge these days. Organized by IAU’s Commission F3, from November 26 to December 1, the Astrobiology 2017 meeting will provide prime opportunities to meet and connect with peers from different disciplines.

Invited talks from leading researchers in the field will present state of-the-art results from all the disciplines. Tens of talks contributed by the scientific community will provide a wealth of information and will fuel provocative discussions.

In Patagonia, participants will be surrounded by an exotic and beautiful wilderness that holds a truly scientific and ecological treasure. In this remarkable corner of the continent, our delegates will have the opportunity to trek around majestic hills, climb snowy peaks, flyfish in pristine rivers, sail through caverns in Chile’s largest lake and contemplate marvelous glaciers.

Website: http://astrobiology2017.org/

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51st ESLAB Symposium: Extreme Habitable Worlds

Location: Noordwijk, Netherlands
Early Registration Deadline: 25 October 2017

The ESLAB Symposium 2017 will convene researchers from all over the world who work on interdisciplinary aspects in the fields of extreme habitability on Earth, the solar system, and throughout the universe. Participants will report on research findings and plan future endeavors. Contributions are planned as invited keynote talks, oral and poster presentations, interactive presentations, and debates. The theme for ESLAB 2017, from December 4-8, is “Extreme Habitable Worlds”. The symposium will address topics such as:

– Venus, Earth, and Mars —the first 500 million years
– Planetary habitability processes: accretion, evolution, impacts, ingredients
– Evolution of habitability and settings for origins of life on Earth
– Earth extreme habitats: natural (surface and subsurface), artificial and sustainable
– Life support systems in Earth extreme places and in orbit, human spaceflight
– Making the Moon habitable
– Mars past, current , and future habitability
– Asteroids and small body habitats
– Outer solar system: Sub-surface Habitability at icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn
– Effects of space weather and Astrophysical hazards
– Planetary protection and measuring extreme biomarkers
– Stellar, interstellar and interplanetary ingredients for extreme habitability
– Engineering of travel to and exploration of Extreme Habitable Worlds
– Finding and Characterising Habitable Exoplanets: Proxima Centauri, Trappist1 and beyond
– Galactic and Extragalactic Habitability
– Education, outreach, societal, philosophical & artistic views on “Extreme Habitable Worlds”

Website: http://esaconferencebureau.com/2017-events/eslab2017

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Exoplanets and Planet Formation

Location: Shanghai, China
Late Registration Deadline: 10 November 2017

This international conference is devoted to the astrophysics of exoplanets. Among the more than 5000 exoplanets and candidates discovered so far are many extreme systems that are quite unlike our own solar system. Understanding these exoplanets, in conjunction with protoplanetary disks and the solar system planets, can provide new insights into the structure, formation and evolution of planetary systems.

The conference, scheduled from December 11 – 15, 2017, will consist of invited/solicited talks (mostly chosen from submitted abstracts) and posters. While all topics (observation and theory) of exoplanetary science are welcome, a general theme is planetary formation and evolution. To this end, related topics on protoplanetary disks and solar system planets will also be covered.

Website: http://epf2017.leeinst.sjtu.edu.cn/

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2017 AGU Fall Meeting

Location: New Orleans, LA, USA
Early Registration Deadline: 3 November 2017

With more than 23,000 Earth and space scientists in 2016, AGU’s Fall Meeting is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world. The meeting continues to be the premiere place to present research, hear about the latest discoveries, trends, and challenges in the field, and network with colleagues who can enhance your career.

AGU Fall Meeting sessions, scheduled from December 11-15, 2017, will take place throughout the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, located at 900 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, Louisiana. Fall Meeting brings together the entire Earth and space science community from across the globe for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical program includes presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published, meaning you’ll return to work with knowledge you can’t get anywhere else.

The scientific program spans the Earth and space sciences, offering something for everyone no matter their scientific discipline, with a unique mix of more than 20,000 oral and poster presentations, a broad range of keynote lectures, various types of formal and informal networking and career advancement opportunities, and an exhibit hall packed with hundreds of exhibitors showcasing new and relevant research tools and services that meet the professional needs of attendees year after year.

Website: http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2017/

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JWST Solar System Observation Planning Workshop

Location: Noordwijk, Netherlands
Registration and Abstract Submission Deadline: 1 November 2017

This December 13-15, 2017 workshop, for those interested in proposing solar system observations with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), will be held at the European Space Research Technology Center (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

The workshop will include a mixture of presentations about the promise of JWST for solar system science, specifics on observer planning tools and observatory capabilities, and hands-on training and Q&A with the planning tools. Observations of solar system targets approved for guaranteed-time observers (GTOs) and through the Early Release Science (ERS) program will be summarized. The workshop is timed to support JWST cycle-1 open time proposals, which are expected to be due in February, 2018.

To express interest in the ESTEC workshop and receive future emails, please send a blank email to: JWSTSS-ESTEC-Workshop@maillist.stsci.edu

As further details become available, they can be found at:


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Franco-Australian Astrobiology and Exoplanet School and Workshop (FAAbExo)

Location: Canberra, Australia
Abstract Submission Deadline: 5 November 2017

The Australian National University (ANU) in collaboration with the Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) Research University will host the first Franco-Australian Astrobiology and Exoplanet School and Workshop from December 16-20, 2017 at the Australian National University.

Over the past twenty years, astronomers have observed more than 3,000 extrasolar planets, consequently revealing the diversity of planets that exist in the universe. This has opened door for us to re-examine and re-define theories on the origin and evolution of planetary systems, and it has also brought us to the point where discovering extra-terrestrial life has become a real possibility. The ever-increasing number of detections continues to drive exoplanet research forward and we are currently on the cusp of a technological revolution where near-future space and ground-based observatories will allow an unprecedented opportunity to further explore and characterise smaller, potentially habitable exoplanets for signs of life.

Key questions to answer are: Do protoplanetary disks include compositional trends that imprint on the future planets? What should future observations of Solar System bodies focus on? Where should we search for nearby habitable Earth-like planets? How can the science of the remote detection of biosignatures be advanced? What can our knowledge of life on Earth tell us about life elsewhere in the universe?

This school and workshop, jointly sponsored by ANU and PSL, will bring leading experts from France, Australia and around the world to review these topics and identify new avenues for answering these questions. The outcomes of this workshop will inform future collaborative projects between Australia and France in these fields.

Website: http://faabexo.anu.edu.au/

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ELSI Symposium: Building Bridges from Earth to Life: From Chemical Mechanism to Ancient Biology

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Registration Deadline: 30 November 2017

Understanding the transition from the Earth’s earliest geochemistry to the later emergence of life requires a synthesis of knowledge across an unprecedented range of scales, including size, time, and complexity. Multiple topics need to be examined, such as elementary mechanisms in organic geochemistry and catalysis, energy sources and systems contributing to prebiotic reactions, the assembly and roles of intermediate-scale structures, and molecular and ecological systems evolutionary biology. Recent advances in several areas bring us closer to connecting several links needed to reason from micro to macro, and from geochemistry to nascent biochemistry.

The goals of the Building Bridges from Earth to Life: From Chemical Mechanism to Ancient Biology symposium, from January 9-11, 2018, are to hold a collaborative conversation among speakers and participants, to sketch the form of this emerging bridge, and to point out both the most compelling opportunities and the most urgent needs.

Website: https://elsi6sympo.com/

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Water During Planet Formation and Evolution 2018

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Registration Closed

The workshop, taking place February 12-16, 2018, will focus on processes governing the delivery of water to planetary bodies in solar and exoplanetary systems, during their formation and long-term evolution. The respective roles of water (ice) inheritance from the interstellar medium, condensation in the protoplanetary nebula and processing and delivery during accretion will be discussed. We will further consider in detail the implications of the late-stage impact phase and long-term consequences for the remarkable diversity of processes affecting the water budget during the evolution of a planetary body. The goal of the workshop is to critically assess the interplay of theory and observations/experiments on the effects of water on planets and establish new research directions.

Website: https://waterzurich.github.io/

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2nd Rencontres du Vietnam on Exoplanetary Science

Location: Quy Nhon, Vietnam
Registration Deadline: 1 February 2018

Exoplanetology has experienced extraordinary developments, and is now a mature and dynamic research field of astrophysics. The 2nd Rencontres du Vietnam aims to explore the Universe and its diversities, understand the formation and evolution models of planetary systems, and understand how this knowledge ties into the potential detection of extraterrestrial life.

From February 25 to March 2, 2018, the conference will gather together observers involved in various ground- and space-based programs with modelers and theoreticians to raise new observations and new models to improve participants’ comprehension and knowledges of exoplanets. The conference will consist of plenary sessions for oral presentations, including review talks and contributions on more specialized topics, as well as specialized posters. Short parallel, focused sessions will be organized as needed. The conference will be preceded by a two-day international school for students, with instructors and teachers chosen among the conference participants.

Website: http://rencontresduvietnam.org/conferences/2018/exoplanetary_science/

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IX Planetary Science Workshop

Location: La Plata, Argentina
Registration Closed

The Planetary Science Workshops emerged in 1999 as working meetings between researchers, professors, and university students. The objective is to exchange ideas and advances in the area of ​​planetary sciences in Latin America, around the following themes:

– Physics and dynamics of solar system bodies
– Astrophysical Observations in Planetary Science
– Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems
– Extrasolar planets: search, characterization and dynamics
– Instrumentation and monitoring projects

The objective of this 9th workshop is to create an open space for the exchange and discussion of projects and lines of work. The modality of presentation will be in the form of posters/oral presentations and invited oral presentations. In addition, we will have the traditional roundtable, with a theme to be defined. The 9th workshop will be held at the Ciudad de la Plata Planetarium, located in the city of La Plata (Argentina) between February 26 – March 2, 2018.

Website: http://tcp2018.fcaglp.unlp.edu.ar/

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From Mars Express to Exomars

Location: Madrid, Spain
Online Registration Deadline: 31 January 2018

Organized in the frame of the EU H2020 project “UPWARDS” at its closure, this workshop is perfectly timed to summarize recent progress in a great variety of research topics, aiming at a global and synergistic vision of Mars, its processes and couplings.

- Interior-Surface-Atmosphere exchanges of thermal fluxes and trace species
– Martian surface intrinsic reflectivity, spectral properties, topography effects
– Global water cycle (vapour & ice) and the role of water ice clouds
– Atmospheric dust, particles distribution & properties, dust storms and variability
– Photochemistry, atmospheric stability, trace species across the Terminator
– Upper atmosphere composition, wave propagation, airglow emissions, escape to space
– Delivering of Mars data products and modeling results to scientific archives

Especially welcome are analysis and revision of datasets from Mars Express and previous missions, as well as preliminary studies for the exploitation of the Exomars TGO measurements. These can include model developments, data assimilation techniques, and novel data analysis and retrieval tools. Results from the UPWARDS consortium are foreseen to be presented, including the delivery of this project’s data products to the ESA Planetary Science Archive. The workshop will be held from February 27-28, 2018 at ESAC (ESA), Madrid, Spain.

Website: http://upwards.iaa.es/content/mars-express-exomars

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Diversis Mundi: The Solar System in an Exoplanetary Context

Location: Santiago, Chile
Normal Registration Deadline: 20 January 2018

This March 5-9, 2018 workshop brings together the Solar System and exoplanet scientific communities to explore how the expertise and recent discoveries in those fields can feed and contrast each other. Strong interactions and collaborations between both communities are essential, as the discovery of exoplanetary systems with a large variety of architectures can teach us about the formation and history of our own solar system, and the deep understanding of our own environment can help us towards our search for life traces outside of the solar system. Various aspects such as formation and architecture of planetary systems, small components of planetary systems, or planetary atmospheres and biomarkers will be discussed from both points of view and in the context of the forthcoming new observational facilities. During this workshop, emphasis will be made on developing new ideas and encouraging synergies between both fields, and plenty of time will be left for discussion and interactions. The main topics and related questions are:

a) Formation of planetary systems and their components: How do theories for the formation of exoplanets affect Solar System formation models? How well do they match the observations?

b) Architecture and evolution of planetary systems: How does the Solar System structure compare to other planetary systems? Why haven’t we yet found a Solar System analog? What are the consequences of planet migration here and beyond?

c) Small components of planetary systems: moons, comets, trojans, asteroid/Kuiper belts, debris disks, rings… Are they the outcome of the formation of planetary systems? What is the status of the search for exomoons, exorings, exotrojans, exocomets and how do they compare with the components in our Solar System?

d) Atmospheres and biomarkers: How do exoatmospheres compare to Solar System planets? What are the prospects for the atmospheres of rocky exoplanets based on Venus/Mars/Earth? How do moon atmospheres compare in the Solar System and what do we expect for exomoons?

Website: http://www.eso.org/sci/meetings/2018/ops2018.html

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Science with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX)

Location: Tegernsee, Germany
Registration Open

After more than 12 years in operation, the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) 12 m submillimeter telescope has significantly contributed to a wide variety of submillimeter astronomy science areas, ranging from the discoveries of new molecules to large and deep imaging of the submillimeter sky.

Since 2012 the Ringberg APEX workshops bring together APEX users working on a wide range of exciting results covering the Solar System to distance galaxies in the early universe. APEX2018, from March 11-14, aims at presenting new science results and to looking into new science opportunities for the next years.

The conference venue Ringberg Castle provides a unique setting for in depth discussions on current and future science with APEX. In particular, sessions on new scientific results, on synergies with other observatories, and on the utilization of the upcoming new APEX capabilities are envisioned.

Website: https://events.mpifr-bonn.mpg.de/indico/event/58/overview

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Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP 2018)

Location: Fukuoka, Japan
Regular Registration Deadline: 28 February 2018

The CAP Conference series is organised by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), through Commission 2 — Communicating Astronomy with the Public. The IAU has more than 10,000 active members in 98 countries worldwide and its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation.

The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), a leading astronomy research organization, and Fukuoka City, an area with historical connections to science and astronomy, teamed up to bring the international astronomy outreach and education community to Japan to directly experience the latest Japanese and Asian advances in astronomy communication.

Since 2003, CAP conferences have facilitated the exchange of ideas and best practices. The conference helps strengthen the local community of professionals by connecting them to the global network. CAP 2018, March 24-28, in Japan will be a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with new professionals in the Japanese, Asian, and worldwide astronomy communication communities.

Website: https://www.communicatingastronomy.org/cap2018/

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Astrobiology Australasia Conference 2018

Location: Rotorua, New Zealand
Abstract Submission Deadline: 30 April 2018

The Astrobiology Australasia Meeting will be held on 25-26th June 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand, organised by Haritina Mogosanu (New Zealand Astrobiology Network) and Professor Kathy Campbell (University of Auckland).

Important Dates:
Abstracts deadline: 30 April 2018
Teachers Astrobiology Workshop: 24 June 2018
Astrobiology Australasia Meeting: 25-26 June 2018
AAM2018 Field Trip TVZ: 27-29 June 2018
Grand Tour Western Australia: 1-9 July 2018

Meeting Themes:
Contributions in the general fields of astrobiology will be considered but we particularly welcome offers of presentations on the following special themes and sessions:
1. The Origin and Evolution of Life: What is life? What was the origin of life: How did life originate and evolve?
(1a) Prebiotic chemistry / evolutionary organic chemistry; (1b) Earliest life and habitats on Earth: the fossil and geological records; (1c) Evolution of microbial and eukaryotic life; (1d) Terrestrial vs deep sea environments for the origin of life; (1e) Analog environments for early Earth and elsewhere
2. Life beyond Earth & its detection: Is there life beyond Earth? – past or present – and, if so, how can we detect it?
(2a)Exoplanet science and discoveries; (2b) Habitability of our solar system; (2c) Search for life on Mars: past climate; past environments; current life? Potential for life on Icy Worlds; (2d) SETI & other initiatives (e.g. Breakthrough Initiatives)
(2e) New technologies for life detection
3. Future of life: What is the future of life on Earth and the Universe?
(3a) New ways of thinking about Space Exploration & Astrobiology research; (3b) Astrobiology, Art, Culture & Indigenous Knowledge; (3c) Outreach and Education; (3d) Cities on Mars; (3e) Space and Security & Planetary Protection

Talks and posters on current topics in astrobiology will be preceded by a one-day astrobiology teachers workshop and followed by a three-day field trip to the diverse and spectacular geothermal features of the central North Island’s Taupo Volcanic Zone (2 Ma-present). The TVZ is one of the most active volcanic regions on the planet, complete with its own supervolcano and high geothermal heat flux. Hot springs of varied fluid compositions will be visited, including the world renowned, Au-bearing Champagne Pool (pictured) and the colourful microbial mat-draped, fault-bounded sinter terraces of Orakei Korako, to mention only two.

New Zealand is also famous amongst astronomy buffs for its South Island dark skies and wide-open views of the Milky Way, and amongst marine scientists for its extreme offshore environments – hydrothermal vents, hydrocarbon seeps and gas hydrates. Visitors to New Zealand, both astrobiologists and non-astrobiologists, will also encounter a vibrant Māori culture, stunning natural landscapes, and multiple film shooting locations crammed into a country the size of California.

Come enjoy some friendly Kiwi hospitality in a Southern Hemisphere gem of a place to visit. Be sure to bring warm clothing in case of rain during our cooler winter months as well as your togs (aka bathing suits) for hot pool soaks!

Website: http://astrobiology.nz/aam2018/

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Astrobiology Grand Tour 2018

Location: Western Australia
Indication of Interest Open

The Australian Centre for Astrobiology at UNSW is running another Astrobiology “Grand Tour” on July 1-9, 2018, led by Professor Martin Van Kranendonk, a leading expert in Precambrian geobiology. This field trip in Western Australia will visit sites that every astrobiologist or geobiologist should see at least once in their lives. It will be a high level educational and cultural/sensory experience that will enrich all participants – scientists and non-scientists alike!

The trip will traverse back through time, starting with the spectacular, living stromatolites of Shark Bay, with a rare opportunity to swim with these protected microbial structures. Following this, we will visit the remote sites of fossilised stromatolites from the c. 1.8 Ga Duck Creek Dolomite and c. 2.4 Ga Turee Creek Group, and walk through the transition across the rise of atmospheric oxygen (the GOE). We will then camp at Karijini National Park and hike through a canyon with walls made of 2.5 Ga Banded Iron Formation (BIF), and swim at the beautiful Fortescue Falls. Following this will be a visit to stromatolites of the c. 2.7 Ga Fortescue Group, then the c. 3.35-3.49 Ga fossiliferous units of the Pilbara Craton, including newly discovered geyserite in the Dresser Formation, site of the oldest evidence for life on land.

For more information, or to join the expressions of interest mailing list, please email Erica Barlow (e.barlow@unsw.edu.au). Further details including cost and a more detailed itinerary will be emailed to the EOI list in the coming months.

Website: https://www.aca.unsw.edu.au/content/news/astrobiology-grand-tour-–-notice-2018

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Exoplanets II

Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Abstract Submission Deadline: 15 March 2018

The astronomical community is in an expansion phase of exoplanet science, especially with several American and European space missions (TESS, CHEOPS, PLATO, JWST) on the horizon (2017 to 2024). The new Exoplanets conference series aims to consolidate all aspects of exoplanet science and strike a balance between:
– Exoplanet theory, observations and instrumentation
– Exoplanet discovery and atmospheric characterisation
– Transiting and directly imaged exoplanets
– Ground- and space-based surveys/missions
– American and European participation

Exoplanets II will be hosted at the University of Cambridge, UK, on July 2-6, 2018.

Website: https://www.exoplanetscience2.org//

Please direct any questions regarding Exoplanets II to exoplanets2@mrao.cam.ac.uk

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Location: Pasadena, CA, USA
Abstract Submission Deadline: 9 February 2018

The 42nd COSPAR Scientific Assembly will be held in Pasadena, CA, USA, July 14-22, 2018. Information on the scientific program and other relevant links, including to abstract submission, will come on-line as they become available at https://www.cospar-assembly.org/. The site of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), with information on registration, accommodation and many other matters, is open at http://cospar2018.org/.

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81st Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society

Location: Moscow, Russia
Abstract Submission Opens: 9 March 2018

The July 22-27, 2018 meeting is jointly organized by the V.I. Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, the Russian Academy of Sciences, V. I. Vernadsky Geological State Museum , the Ural Federal University, and the Kazan Federal University.

Website: http://metsoc81-moscow.ru/

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Goldschmidt 2018

Location: Boston, MA, USA
Abstract Submission Deadline: 30 March 2018

Goldschmidt is the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organised by the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry.

Goldschmidt 2018 is planned for August 12-17, 2018. More details will become available at the website: https://goldschmidt.info/2018/index

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XXXth General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union

Location: Vienna, Austria
Abstract Submission Deadline: 28 February 2018

IAU General Assembly (GA) takes place every three years and lasts for two five-day sessions spread over two weeks.

This event is a unique opportunity for astronomers worldwide working in all fields of astronomy to come together. In addition to the core administrative meetings, the General Assembly also includes a substantial and attractive scientific program, usually comprised of two series of three Symposia, each lasting for three days and scheduled during the first and second weeks. Fifteen to twenty more specialized “Focus Meetings” are also held, with up to five topics running in parallel. Two full days are reserved for Division Meetings, with no overlap with the general program.

The 2018 IAU will take place August 20-31, 2018 in Vienna, Austria, a city that has a long history of excellent scientific and medical research.

Website: http://astronomy2018.univie.ac.at/home/

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Comparative Climatology of Terrestrial Planets: From Stars to Surfaces (CCTP-3)

Location: Houston, TX, USA
Indication of Interest Deadline: 6 April, 2018

NASA’s 3rd Comparative Climatology of Terrestrial Planets: From Stars to Surfaces (CCTP-3) conference will promote cross-disciplinary conversation on climate processes at work on terrestrial planets both within our solar system and in extrasolar systems. The conference will synthesize present and past research in terrestrial climate science including solar/stellar influences. Also, it will provide a multidisciplinary forum for the identification of future research needs and missions. CCTP-3 will continue the dialogue and interactions started at the two previous conferences, CCTP-1 and CCTP-2. Scientists from all aspects of climatic processes research – including planetary science, heliophysics, Earth science, and exoplanet astronomy – are encouraged by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) to participate in and contribute to this conference.

Website: https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/climatology2018/

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A Century of Asteroid Families

Location: Vienna, Austria
Oral Abstract Submission and Grant Application Deadlines: 28 February 2018

This focus meeting, from August 28-30, 2018, is intended to review the history of asteroid family science, highlight some of the major results as well as watershed moments in the field, discuss new work being done, and provide predictions for the future of the field in light of the new techniques and data sets that are currently being developed. An Asteroid Family Focus Meeting would provide the international community a chance to celebrate the centennial of the birth of this field, reflect on the broader insights provided by asteroid families, and chart a new, unified path forward in the era of large surveys that are ongoing or will be beginning in the near future. Asteroid families will continue to be a touchstone for Solar System science in the next century, providing insights and test populations for planetary formation models not available in any other way.

Website: http://asteroidfamilies.net/IAU2018/

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Student and Early Career Opportunities

2018 EON-ELSI Winter School

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Application Deadline: 19 September 2017 (Closed)

What is the interplay between planetary and biological evolution? How did the Earth form and evolve? How did life emerge and evolve?

This interdisciplinary training course held at the Earth-Life Science Institute at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and a nearby field site will include lectures from experts and hands-on training in field techniques and computational approaches. Attendees will go home with an integrated perspective and new tools and concepts to apply in their own research.

Dates: January 22 – February 2, 2018

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Tentative seminar and tutorial topics:
– Deep Earth Core and Mantle Dynamics
– Seismology
– Planetary Formation and Star System Evolution
– Exoplanets
– Geochemistry and Geobiology
– Bioinformatics
– Molecular Phylogenetics
– Prebiotic Chemistry
– Microbial Physiology
– Extremophiles
– Artificial Life
– Open Questions in the Origin of Life

Website: https://elsischool.com/

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Rencontres Exobiologiques Pour Doctorants Astrobiology Introductory Course (RED’18)

Location: Le Teich, France
Application Deadline: 15 January 2018

The RED’18/Astrobiology Introductory Course will be held from 4 to 10 March 2018 in the Ornithological Park of le Teich (33, France).

This meeting is addressed to:

  • Any student preparing his PhD thesis in Astronomy, Geology, Chemistry, Biology or History/Philosophy of sciences in France or any other country.
  • Any students wishing to acquire an interdisciplinary training in astrobiology to complete their initial training and to be able to address issues at the origins of life on Earth, its evolution and its distribution in the Universe.

The program of RED’18/Astrobiology Introductory Course is complementary to that of RED’17, however it is not necessary to have followed last year’s program to participate in this new school.

12 grants of 400€ each are available to cover stay expenses (but not transportation) for COST ORIGINS members. PhD, post-docs, and researchers willing to develop an astrobiology course in their country can send a motivation letter together with the registration form to Muriel Gargaud (muriel.gargaud@u-bordeaux.fr) and Herve Cottin (herve.cottin@lisa.u-pec.fr). Priority will be given to people from Inclusiveness Target Countries (http://www.cost.eu/about_cost/strategy/excellence-inclusiveness).

Website: http://www.exobiologie.fr/red/index.php/en/red16-astrobiology-course/

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Geobiology 2018

Location: Owens Valley, Pasadena, and Avalon, CA, USA
Application Deadline: 9 February 2018

Now entering its 15th year, the International Geobiology Course is an intense, multidisciplinary summer course exploring the coevolution of the Earth and its biosphere, with an emphasis on how microbial processes affect the environment and leave imprints on the rock record. Participants get hands-on experience in cutting-edge geobiological techniques, learn from a broad team of eminent scientists in the field, and work in research groups to solve relevant questions.

Geobiology 2018 takes place June 12-July 15, 2018.

Website: http://web.gps.caltech.edu/GBcourse/

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Cloud Academy: Cloud Formation and Properties in Extrasolar Planets

Location: Les Houches, France
Application Submission Opens: 1 March 2018

Clouds and hazes have a fundamental impact on the physical structure and appearance of planetary atmospheres and even influence the habitability of earth-like planets. Recent years have brought an abundance of data on clouds in exoplanets. The Cloud Academy program will review physical models for cloud formation in Solar System planets, exoplanet observations, and laboratory studies.

Dates: September 23-28, 2018

Venue: Les Houches Advanced School for Physics

Topics covered:
– A physical picture of cloud and haze formation in Earth’s Atmosphere
– Atmospheric Circulation Regimes for Solar System and Exoplanets
– Cloud Properties and Planetary Habitability
– Clouds and Hazes in Solar System Giant and Rocky Planets: Observations
– Clouds and Hazes in Strongly Irradiated Exoplanets: Observations
– Clouds and Hazes in Strongly Irradiated Exoplanets: Theory
– Clouds and Hazes in Weakly Irradiated Exoplanets and Brown Dwarfs: Observations
– Clouds and Hazes in Weakly Irradiated Exoplanets and Brown Dwarfs: Theory
– Clouds and Hazes: Laboratory Studies

Website: http://eos-nexus.org/clouds/

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Funding Opportunities

European Space Agency (ESA) Fellowships in Space Science

Application Deadline: 2 October 2017 (Closed)

The aim of these fellowships is to provide young scientists, holding a PhD or the equivalent degree, with the means of performing space science research in fields related to the ESA Science Programmes.

Areas of research include planetary science, astronomy and astrophysics, solar and solar-terrestrial science, plasma physics and fundamental physics. The fellowships have a duration of two years, with the possible extension to three years, and are tenable at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, or at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Villafranca del Castillo, near Madrid, Spain.

Applications are now solicited for fellowships in space science to begin in the fall of 2018. Preference will be given to candidates within five years of receiving their PhD. Candidates not holding a PhD yet are encouraged to apply, but they must provide evidence of receiving their degree before starting the fellowship.

Website: https://cosmos.esa.int/web/science-faculty/research-fellowship

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Computational Biology

Location: Oberlin, Ohio, USA
Position Open Until Filled

The Goldman lab in the Department of Biology at Oberlin College invites applications for a full-time postdoctoral research position in computational biology. The postdoctoral fellow will work with Dr. Aaron Goldman on a NASA-funded research project investigating the early evolution of metabolism. The research, which will be entirely computational in nature, seeks to identify the earliest metabolic pathways and is part of a larger research collaboration involving origin of life laboratories at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Southern California. The position is funded for two years at a starting salary of $48,500.

Website: https://jobs.oberlin.edu/postings/5244

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Other Opportunities & Announcements

Call for Submissions for Thematic Issue of Subsurface Microbiology (related to ISSM Conference)

Submission Deadline: 30 January 2018

FEMS Microbiology Ecology invites submissions to a special issue on Subsurface Microbiology. The issue will be related to “The International Society for Subsurface Microbiology” (ISSM) Conference, taking place in Rotorua, New Zealand from November 6 to 10, 2017. For more information on the conference, visit the conference website: http://issm2017nz.com/

This thematic issue will focus on increasing understanding of subsurface microbial communities through rapid advances in detection technologies, the impact of groundwater uses on subsurface microbiology, and the microbial ecology of novel and extreme environments.

All manuscripts will undergo regular review by members of the Editorial Board and other appropriate experts. Submission starts immediately and authors should specify ‘Subsurface Microbiology’ in their cover letter. Prospective Authors for MiniReviews/Perspective/Opinion articles should contact Editors in advance.

For instructions on submitting a manuscript please see the FEMS Microbiology Ecology journal page: academic.oup.com/femsec

View flyer: ISSM17-Flyer.pdf

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International Astronomical Union: Online Courses in Astrobiology

Location: Online

The IAU is pleased to announce the launch of “Online Courses in Astrobiology,” the first of its kind. Videos spanning numerous current topics in astrobiology are available in French, Spanish, and English.

Course website: http://astrobiovideo.com/en/

This platform was created in the context of the IAU (International Astronomical Union) working group: “Education and Training in Astrobiology”: https://www.iau.org/science/scientific_bodies/workinggroups/EducationandTraininginAstrobiology/.

For more information, contact: Muriel Gargaud (<muriel.gargaud@u-bordeaux.fr) et Hervé Cottin (herve.cottin@lisa.u-pec.fr).

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