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      Department of the Air Force senior leaders testified before the House Armed Services Committee Quality of Life Panel on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

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    • By NASA
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      Dr. Simon Gilroy (left) and members of the APEX-10 team (Dr. Sarah Swanson, center and Dr. Arko Bashki) preparing their space experiments at the Kennedy Space Center. Dr. Gilroy is a Researcher and Professor in the Botany Department of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He works extensively with NASA on understanding how plants grow on the International Space Station and plans for using plants in life support on planetary bases. University of Wisconsin Understanding Microgravity-Associated Bone Loss
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    • By NASA
      NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission, seen here in an artist’s concept, is scheduled to launch no earlier than Feb. 6, 2024, to study Earth’s oceans, atmosphere, and climate. NASA/Conceptual Image Laboratory NASA will host a media teleconference at 12 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Jan. 17, to discuss the upcoming launch and science objectives of the agency’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission.
      Once in orbit above Earth, the satellite will shed light on the impact of tiny things – microscopic life in water and microscopic particles in the air. With new global insights, PACE will help answer questions about how our oceans and atmosphere interact in a changing climate.
      The audio-only teleconference will be livestreamed on the agency’s website.
      NASA participants will include:
      NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy Karen St. Germain, director, Earth Science Division, NASA Headquarters Jeremy Werdell, PACE project scientist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Mark Voyton, PACE project manager, NASA Goddard Noosha Haghani, PACE deputy mission systems engineer, NASA Goddard Otto Hasekamp, atmospheric scientist, SRON/Netherlands Institute for Space Research Erin Urquhart Jephson, PACE applications lead, NASA Goddard To participate in the teleconference, media must RSVP by 10 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 17 to Jacob Richmond at jacob.a.richmond@nasa.gov or 301-286-6255.
      NASA’s PACE is scheduled to launch no earlier than 1:30 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 6, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
      Learn more about the agency’s PACE mission at:
      Karen Fox / Katherine Rohloff
      Headquarters, Washington
      karen.c.fox@nasa.gov / katherine.a.rohloff@nasa.gov
      Jacob Richmond
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
      Last Updated Jan 11, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
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    • By NASA
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      As noted at NASA’s 2019 Carlsbad Conference we have good reason to think that:
      Life started on Mars using the same geo-organic chemistry that started life on Earth. Martian life persists today on Mars, in near-surface ice, low elevations, and caves, all with transient liquid brines, environments that today on Earth host microbial life. Martian life must use informational polymers (like DNA); Darwinian evolution requires these, and Darwinian evolution is the only way matter can organize to give life. While Martian “DNA” may differ (possibly radically) in its chemistry from Terran DNA, the “Polyelectrolyte Theory of the Gene” limits the universe of possible alien DNA structures. Those structures ensure that Martian DNA can be concentrated from Martian water, even if very highly diluted, and even if Martian “DNA” differs from Earth DNA. On Mars as it exists today, information polymers cannot be generated without life (unlike other less reliable biosignatures such as methane), ensuring that life will not be “detected” if it is not present (the “false positive problem”). Nevertheless, as noted by Rummel and Conley, “the Mars community is not convinced that a mission to attempt detection of extant Martian life has a high priority.” Thus, NASA’s current flagship mission to Mars, derived from its 2012 Decadal Survey, involves pedestrian collection of old dry rocks to be cached, eventually to be returned to Earth to study for evidence of past life. The purpose of this NIAC project is to change this view, and to do so before human arrival planned by NASA, the Chinese National Space Agency, and SpaceX, “by 2040”, “in 2033”, and “before 2030”, according to their respective statements. Human arrival will undoubtedly complicate the search for indigenous Martian life. Thus, from an astrobiological perspective, these planned crewed missions to Mars put a very strict deadline on the search for life on a pristine Mars. However, crewed missions also offer an opportunity that we will exploit. Crewed missions to Mars will use materials found on Mars itself, “in situ”, in particular, near surface water ice. Propellant (methane and oxygen) will be generated from that water and
      atmospheric carbon dioxide for the return trip back to Earth. That water ice will be mined on the scale of tens to hundred tons. Further, to maximize the likelihood of safe return of the crew to Earth, robotic operations that mine tons of near surface water-ice will be in place before the first human astronauts arrive. Thus, water mined in preparation for human arrival is correctly seen as an extremely large-scale astrobiological sample, far larger than dry cached rocks. As the mined water-ice is delivered with dust that, through dust storms, survey the entire accessible surface, this humongous sample will effectively enable a highly sensitive survey of the entire accessible Mars surface for life. This NIAC project will provide an “agnostic life finding” (ALF) system capable of extracting genetic polymers (DNA or alien) from
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