6 Universities Join NASA Astrobiology Institute

Research teams from six universities have been selected by NASA to become members of its Astrobiology Institute with the aim of exploring the "origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe." Teams were each awarded five-year grants, averaging $7 million each, according to NASA.

Universities participating in the Astrobiology Institute include:

"The new teams provide a superb foundation for the institute as it enters its second decade," said Jim Green, Planetary Science Division director at NASA, in a statement released this week. "They bring together the many disciplines necessary for a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to studying life in the universe."

Four other teams have also been added to the Astrobiology Institute: one from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, one from NASA's Ames Research Center, and two teams from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"The research of these new teams reflects the increasing maturity of astrobiology," said NASA Astrobiology Institute Director Carl Pilcher of Ames, also in a statement released Thursday. "They are focused on fundamental questions of life in the universe, but their work has implications for all of science. The research of these teams, together with that of the four continuing institute teams, will bridge the basic science of astrobiology to NASA's current and planned space exploration missions."

Teams from MIT, Montana State University, University of Washington, and University of Wisconsin-Madison will continue to participate in the Astrobiology Institute. Further information about the institute can be found here.

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Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

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