Posts tagged evolution
As mentioned on the email list, this year we’re attempting to do a little astrobiology public outreach and education. Our first series of efforts are interviews with faculty and researchers here at Johns Hopkins who are actively involved in astrobiology-related research. These interviews will be featured on the once-a-day podcast site, 365 Days Of Astronomy. We’ve done two interviews so far, and the first one goes live on that site tomorrow. It’s an abridged, 12-minute version of our discussion with Dr. Jocelyne DiRuggiero of the Biology department about her research with halobacterium and hyperthermophiles, extremophiles that live in high salt and high temperature regions, respectively. Below I’m attaching the full, 24-minute interview as well as the transcript.
Let us know, either through the comments section below or on the email list, if you’re interested in helping out by suggesting someone to interview, being interviewed yourself, or anything else you’re interested in trying (it’d be nice if we had a theme song….). Our next interview is with Dr. Naomi Levin of the Earth & Planetary Science department. It should be going up in the next month and will be featured on 365 Days Of Astronomy in April.
Now, on with the podcast!
With the Kepler Mission’s discovery of 4 potential Earth-sized planets orbiting in their host star’s habitability zones, the main question about life is no longer “Is there life out there somewhere?” Instead we must ask, “Exactly what sort of life could exist on these strange planets?” For today’s 365 Days Of Astronomy podcast, the JHU Astrobiology Forum’s Adam Fuller begin answering this question by speaking with Dr. Jocelyne DiRuggiero, an associate research professor in the Biology department at Johns Hopkins University, about her research with microorganisms here on Earth that live in environments so hellacious, they could easily be thought to be from another world.
“Will Alien Life Resemble Us (and How Could We Possibly Know)? Astrobiology, Evolution and the Amino Acids”
The first lecture of the semester in the STSci Astrobiology Lecture Series is coming up this Friday! This lecture will be by Stephen Freeland from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. It’ll be in Bahcall Auditorium at STSCI starting at 12pm on Friday, September 3rd. The lecture is entitled “Will Alien Life Resemble Us (and How Could We Possibly Know)? Astrobiology, Evolution and the Amino Acids.” The abstract:
A fundamental challenge for astrobiology is to establish the relative contributions of chance versus predictability in the origin and evolution of life on our own planet. Thus, for example, all Earth-life creates metabolism from an interacting network of protein molecules that catalyze various biochemical reactions. Furthermore, early during evolution it had arrived at a standard set of 20 amino acid building-blocks with which to build each of these proteins. We now have good reason to think that many of these amino acids are formed in significant quantities throughout the galaxy – but so are many others – so would alien life be like us, and how could we possibly know?