Introduction to Astrobiology' Workshop run by

Amity Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology, AUM City Campus

February 24th-26th, 2020

Workshop Outline

What is life? How, when and where did it start on Earth? Does it exist elsewhere in our Solar System or outside it? India is on the cusp of embarking on life detection missions to Mars, Venus and the Exoplanets. Astrobiology as a field, is very new in India. It is the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Universe. There are limited research avenues in India for students to pursue further studies in this field. Hence, there is a need to conduct an introductory workshop to help students transition into the field and have in-person informal discussions with astrobiology researchers. The workshop will introduce the fundamental aspects of astrobiology to the participants and provide a platform for 20 research students (final year UG, PG, PhD) and 5 faculty members of engineering, physical sciences, biotechnology to transition into the field. The 4 sessions for the workshop are as under:

  1. Origin, Evolution and Rise of Life on Earth
  2. Search for Life in the Solar System and on Exoplanets
  3. Biosignatures- what are they and how to look for them?
  4. Humans on Mars-, Social, cultural and political aspects

Upon registration, participants will be provided with the detailed program and reading material for the workshop. Participants are expected to make their own accommodation and transport arrangements to the venue.

Course Methods

The following methods will be used during the sessions:

  • 1. Short interactive presentations from Amity, NASA, Mars Society Australia and Open University Astrobiology Researchers
  • 2. Skype interaction with relevant space scientists. Exclusive Q&A session
  • 3. Hands on activities
    • a. Examining various rock samples from across India; possible microorganisms, fossils present on Mars, observing via hand lenses, microscopes. Making scientific notes.

Learning Goals

At the end of the workshop, the participant will:

Have a clearer understanding of Astrobiology and associated sub-domains.

Familiarize themselves with essential field tools and experiments used during planetary analogue expeditions.

Identify their area of interest and path towards pursuing Astrobiology research.

Gain an appreciation for the cultural significance of space exploration.

Course Instructors

Dr. Siddharth Pandey

Head, Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology, Amity University

Dr. Jonathan Clarke

Adjunct Faculty, Amity Astrobiology and President, Mars Society Australia

Dr. Jennifer Blank

Adjunct faculty Amity Astrobiology and Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center

Ms. Annalea Beattie

Adjunct faculty Amity Astrobiology and Director, Mars Society Australia

Dr. Ranjan Sarkar

Assistant Professor, Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology, Amity University

Dr. Michael Macey

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Open University UK

Payment Amount:

Students: Rs. 2000 | Faculty: Rs. 3000