Workshop of Astrobiology, Aveiro University

Between 18th and 20th of October will be performed an Workshop of Astrobiology at the Aveiro University, in Portugal, organized by their Biology Department.

Entitled as Is there life outside planet Earth? the purpose of this workshop it isn’t to unravel the mystery but, instead, facilitate the search for answers.

This workshop will bring together national and international scientists of different areas and it will also encompass different activities such as lectures, a round table and two poster sessions  for graduate students, researchers from academia or companies that can demonstrate the  applied aspects of research and a field trip to a geological formation of interest to Astrobiology. You can check the preliminary scientific program further on.

Another objective of the workshop is to increase awareness on Astrobiology among the non-scientific community, by offering an open session.

The event is open to interested parties from all nationalities and from different disciplines and is aimed particularly for researchers, entrepreneurs and representatives of the media.

Astrobiology

Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary field of knowledge that deals with fundamental questions such as the possibility of life in other planets and the origins and evolution of life.
It involves the collaboration of disciplines like biology, physics, geology, chemistry, planetary sciences and medicine, as well as science communication and education to deal with the following specific issues:

  • Which instruments and techniques are used to investigate life (past and present) on other
  • planetary bodies;
  • Which chemical processes are crucial for life;
  • What are the limits for life on Earth;
  • What can we learn by studding Mars analogue extreme environments on Earth;
  • Which other planets can support Earth–like life;
  • How to improve public engagement with astrobiology. This workshop is intended to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary forum for discussion.

Preliminary Scientific Program

Thursday, October 18

10:00 – 11:00 Registration
11:00 – 12:00 Tutorial
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 14:00 Press-conference/Media Briefing
14:00 – 14:20 Welcome session (UA Rectorate)
14:20 – Opening Plenary/Lecture

  • “Astrobiology with ESA Missions” B. Foing (ESA-ESTEC) (40 min., including questions)

15:00 – Panel 1: “Exploring Space” (Session chair: Physics Dep. UA) Speakers:

  • “The stability of astronomical conditions for life on Earth” R. Agostinho (Astronomical Observatory of Lisbon) (20 min.)
  • “Detecting water abundance on the giant planets – implications for the solar system formation” F. Simões (GSFC-NASA) (20 min.)
  • “Cold sky mapping” D. Barbosa (Telecomunications Inst., UA) (20 min.)
  • 10 min. questions

16:10 – Coffee-break
16:30 – Panel 2: “Strange kind of life” (Session chair: A. Alves, DBUA & CESAM)
Speakers:

  • “Looking for life in the Solar System” (E. Velasco, VUA) (20 min.)
  • “Terrestrial invaders – how to prevent contamination from Earth”(L. Rodrigues, DBUA&CESAM/VUA) (20 min.)
  • “Life in extreme environments” (20 min.)
  • 10 min. questions

18:00 – Contributed Talks/Poster session I
18:00 – Collaboration meeting
19:30 – Workshop Dinner
21:00 – Public (open) session (Fábrica, Centro de Ciência Viva de Aveiro)
(Moderator: P. Pombo, Fábrica, Centro de Ciência Viva de Aveiro)
Conference by R. Agostinho (Astronomical Observatory of Lisbon)

Children sessions “Dad, I’m going to space and I will be right back” (Fábrica, Centro de Ciência Viva de Aveiro)

Friday, October 19

9:30 – Panel 3: “Searching for life” (Session chair: GeoSciences Dep. UA)
Speakers:

  • “Deep-sea discoveries – a changed view of life” M. Cunha (DBUA&CESAM) (20 min.)
  • “Molecular tools in astrobiology” S. Direito (VUA) (20 min.)
  • 10 min. questions

10:20 – Coffee-break
10:50 – Panel 4: ”New challenges” (Session chair: A. Correia, DBUA & CESAM)
Speakers:

  • Space environment health challenges for cancer disease” J. Valdivia-Silva (AmesNASA&UNAM) (20 min.)
  • “Astrobiological Aspects of Simulated Mars mission and Human Factors” B. Rai (VUA&ILEWG Amsterdam)
  • 10 min. questions

11:30 – Contributed Talks/Poster session II
12:30 – Lunch
14:00 – Panel 5: “Education and communication” (Session chair: P. Pombo, Fábrica Centro de Ciência Viva de Aveiro)
Speakers:

  • “Scientific Publishing from the Inside Out” M. Cruz (Science Magazine, UK) (20 min.)
  • “Break the news: We found extraterrestrial life!” P. Russo (Universe Awareness)
  • International Project Manager, LU) (20 min.)
  • 10 min. questions

14:50 – Closing Plenary/Lecture

  • “Astrobiology – Future perspectives” P. Ehrenfreund (LU/SPI) (40 min., including questions)

15:30 – 16:00 Closing Session (DBUA&CESAM)
18:00 – Trip to Caminha
19:30 – Dinner (Porto/V.N. Gaia) (1h trip Aveiro-Porto+1h30 trip Porto-Caminha)
22:30 – Arrival to Caminha

Saturday, October 20

9:00 – Brief on Field Trip (Caminha)
T. Valente (DCT/UM)
9:30 – Field Trip “Valdarcas – mine drainage site with potential interest as an extremophile environment”
11:45 – Lunch buffet
13:00 – Trip back to Aveiro

Registration is now open and can be performed through the email address bio-astro@ua.pt.

Source: Universidade de Aveiro

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