Sunday April 10, 2005 ñ field trips and science primer sessions
Fieldtrips will incur a separate charge to the attendees, which will appear on the registration billing. Fieldtrips are available to registered conference delegates only.
Fieldtrips ñ open to all participants on a first-come, first-served basis.
The geology of the Front Range, Colorado (30 ñ 40 persons)
Trip Leader: Alan Lester, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado
Sunday, April 10, 2004 9AM-1PM
This field trip is now FULL.
The enormous tilted slabs of the Flatirons make a spectacular backdrop for the town of Boulder, CO. The Flatirons tell a tale of two periods of mountain building. First, the accumulation of the Late Paleozoic Fountain Formation during erosion of the "Ancestral Rockies, and, second, a period of deformation and tilting during the Late Cretaceous
to Early Tertiary Laramide Orogeny. In addition to the Flatirons themselves, we'll visit the Precambrian (1.7 Ga) crystalline basement rock uplifted during the Laramide Orogeny and investigate the sequence of younger (Late Paleozoic through Cretaceous) sedimentary strata that were deposited in a wide variety of environments from deserts to shallow seas.
A New K-T Boundary in the Denver Basin
Trip Leader: Kirk Johnson, Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Sunday, April 10, 2004 9AM-5PM
Maximum number of participants: 48
This trip to the plains east of Denver will visit a recently discovered exposure of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. This is the only known surface section in the Denver Basin that preserves the K-T iridium and shocked mineral anomalies. Located on the west side of the Bijou Creek valley on property owned by the Plains Conservation Center, this site has also produced Cretaceous dinosaurs, other vertebrates and plants, and Paleocene mammals,
crocodiles, turtles, and plants.
Science Primer Sessions
Start at 1pm and end at 5:30pm on Sunday, April 10, 2004 (with breaks)
Primer sessions are open to all with no need to register and no limit to the number of participants.
Sunday, April 10, 2004
Laird Close, University of Arizona
Steinn Siggurdsson, Pennsylvania State University
Sara Seager, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Nick Woolf, University of Arizona
Astronomy provides the setting in which the origin, development and long-range future of life occurs. All astronomical information comes from remote sensing of electromagnetic sources: visible, ultraviolet, infrared, X-ray and radio waves. Some of this information arises from the time variation of signal intensity; most of what we know about chemical composition, physical
conditions and motion of an object, comes from its spectrum. Spectra are combined with astrophysical arguments to learn the nature of the object observed. We will show how information is obtained from a spectrum and show the possibilities of remote sensing of planets around other stars, of planetary systems in formation and of the astronomical sources of complex organic molecules that may arrive on a young planet. We will discuss the unique problem of detection of the radiation from a planet around another star. We will end by discussing potential ecological upheavals and extinction events associated with a variety of astronomical causes.
Sunday, April 10, 2004 2:30-4 PM
Organized and led by:
Roger Buick, University of Washington
Christopher House, Pennsylvania State University
As most projected astrobiological scenarios are played out on rocky planets with active surfaces, two issues will be stressed in the Geology primer: planetary materials and tectonic processes. Minerals and rocks may have acted as molecular templates and material resources during origin-of-life reactions, as well as providing sources and sinks for subsequent biogeochemical cycling of biologically important elements. The movement of magmas and solids on rocky planets allows internal geothermal energy to be made available to organisms, as well as providing geological settings for preserving the relics of past life. Thus, a brief introduction to mineralogy and petrology will be provided, along with a description of plate tectonics, the Earth's current tectonic regime and the only one well-known to operate in the solar system.
Sunday, April 10, 2004 4-5:30 PM
Charles Dismukes, Princeton University
Jennifer Wernergren, Woods Hole
Leslie Orgel, Salk Institute
Recent advances in biochemistry, genomics and computational biology enable us to explore the evolution and diversity of Life across vast temporal and ecological scales and offer outstanding new research opportunities. The Biology Primer aims to equip participants with a basic toolbelt of key concepts and terms in biology, especially in those subdisciplines with high relevance to Astrobiology. Three themes will be introduced that form the intellectual scaffold for much of the biological research conducted within the NAI. First, a module presenting pre-microbial biology will introduce molecular mechanisms for self-assembly and replication and provide an overview of hypotheses about the emergence of the biopolymers of early life. A second section on bioenergetics will discuss the capture and interconversion of energy sources with the environment. Third, a microbial genomics component will introduce key insights about the organization and expression of microbial genes, interactions with the environment and basics of genome evolution. In an interactive format, presenters will discuss
conceptual overviews, current controversies in these fields, and salient examples from recent Astrobiology research.