NASA awards $8M in universe life research grants

NASA said Monday it has awarded three grants each worth up to $8 million over five years for studies of origins, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

Teams led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Penn State University and Rutgers University will participate in the effort and become members of the space agency’s Astrobiology Institute at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California.

The JPL team will focus on Saturn’s largest moon and study what habitable environments may exist there, plus any potential signatures of life. Penn State’s group will look at features of elements within molecules in an effort to find more on the origins and history of organic compounds.

Rutgers’ “ENIGMA” team will investigate how proteins evolved to become catalysts of life on Earth through examinations of prebiotic molecules and enzymes.

Click here for more details on the studies.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also connect with him on LinkedIn.

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