Kathleen Burton

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

(Phone: 650/604-1731 or 604-9000)


AGU Moscone Center press room, San Francisco, CA

(Phone: 415/905-1007, general AGU information during meetings)


Astrobiologists at NASA’s Ames Research Center have organized a special Astrobiology and Planetary Atmospheres Session to be held Monday, Dec. 18 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in San Francisco. The special astrobiology session will take place from 1:30 p.m. -5:00 p.m. in Room MC-303 at the Moscone Center. Astrobiology organizers include Drs. David Morrison and Christopher McKay of Ames Research Center and Dr. Frank Drake of the SETI Institute. Session presenters include NASA and non-NASA astrobiologists. An abridged schedule follows.

Session P12A Planetary Atmospheric Processes and Astrobiology

*1:30 p.m. “The Decay of Solar Activity and its Implications for the Solar System,” F.M. Walter, State University of New York, Stoneybrook

*1:50 p.m. “Earth’s Early Atmosphere-Controlling Factors,” G. Arrhenius, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UCSD

*2:20 p.m. “Nitrogen Fixation on Early Earth and Mars,” R. Navarro-Gonzalez, Institute Ciencias Nucleares, Mexico, C.P. McKay, NASA Ames Research Center

*3:10 p.m. “Interstellar Quinones and the Evolution of Our Biochemistry.” J.P. Dworkin, M.P. Bernstein, S.A. Sandford and L.J. Allamandola of the Astrochemistry Lab, NASA Ames Research Center

*3:40 p.m. “Molecules in Comets: An Interstellar Medium-Solar System Connection?” E.A. Bergin, Harvard-SC for Astrophysics

*3:55 p.m. “Laboratory Investigation of the Atmospheric Chemistry of Titan,” J.P. Ferris, Rensaller Polytechnic Institute, NY.

*4:40 p.m. “Can (Do) Methanogens Live on Mars?”, T.A. Kral, University of Arkansas, C.P. McKay, NASA Ames Research Center

Other Ames astrobiologists will present talks or posters at the conference, including:

*Dec. 17 at 2:05 p.m., “Minimum Energy Requirements for Sustained Microbial Activity in Anoxic Sediments,” T. Hoehler, NASA Ames Research Center. (The talk will focus on the extreme adaptations organisms make in order to survive in low-energy environments.)

*Dec. 19 at 8:30 a.m., “Impact Production of (Greenhouse Gases) on Early Earth and Mars,” M.E. Kress, University of Washington, K.J. Zahnle, C.P. McKay, NASA Ames Research Center

For a detailed schedule, please see:


For press registration information, please see: http://www.agu.org.

The Moscone Center is located at 747 Howard Street in San Francisco.

Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, dissemination and future of life in the universe. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley is the Agency’s lead center for astrobiology. In addition, the central administrative office of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), a research consortium involving academic, non-profit and NASA field centers, is located at Ames. Information about the NASA Astrobiology Institute will be available in the Exhibit Hall.