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Center for NASA Research & Technology

South Carolina State University


Astrobiology at SCSU

Astrobiology is the field of science that studies how organic compounds are created,
destroyed, and altered during stellar evolution leading up to the origin of life on a planet, such as Earth (source).

 

Recent SCSU Activities in Astrobiology

 

With the announcement of the Minority University and College Education and Research Partnership Initiative in Space Science - 2003 (MUCERPI-2003) award, SCSU became involved in the exciting field of Astrobiology.

Objectives

  • Create an astronomy minor that attracts biology and chemistry students as well as traditional physics majors.
  • Enhance faculty research in astronomy and astrobiology.
  • Develop and impliment a multi-grade-level program of space science activities for grades 6 - 16.
  • Workshops and mentorships for inservice teachers.
  • Develop new or enhance existing partnerships with NASA missions, centers and laboratories as well as other Federal laboratories and space science organizations.

Since receiving the MUCERPI-2003 award, SCSU has significantly increased its involvement in the field of astrobiology though partnerships with the Goddard Center for Astrobiology at GSFC, The Minority Institution Astrobiology Collaboratory (MIAC), as well as with Bennett College in Greensboro, NC.

During the Summer of 2004, Dr. Walter spent ten weeks in the Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland on a NASA Faculty Fellowship with Drs. Michael Mumma and Michael DiSanti of the Goddard Center for Astrobiology in a study of the IR spectra of the comet WM1.

SCSU is working with NASA Explorer Schools in the state in developing activities focusing on astrobiology that involve university faculty and students working with the teachers and students at the Explorer Schools. A “get acquainted” meeting was held on September 30, 2004.

For further information on the Astrobiology program at SCSU you can view this presentation given by Dr. Walter in February 2004.