The NASA Astrobiology Program has announced a bold new structure to mobilize the astrobiology community towards both impacting future NASA space missions and answering the fundamental questions of; How does life begin and evolve? Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? How do we search for life in the Universe? This new approach includes a system of virtual collaboration consisting of “Research Coordination Networks” (RCNs). These RCNs are designed to enable the research community to self-organize, collaborate, communicate, and network across organizational, divisional, and geographical boundaries. This new structure will be replacing the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) as the primary mechanism to integrate the astrobiology community, and therefore the NAI will be completing its more than 20-year tenure on December 31, 2019.
With this change, The Virtual Planetary Lab, which is headquartered at the University of Washington, has joined the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) RCN. You can learn more about NExSS at their website: https://nexss.info/
Looking forward, we invite and encourage everyone seeking to engage with the now-maturing field of astrobiology to do so through the NASA Astrobiology Program (https://astrobiology.nasa.gov). For researchers, comprehensive information about the 2015 Astrobiology Strategy, the Research Coordination Networks, and funding opportunities is available under Astrobiology@NASA. Many elements of the NAI, especially those programs supporting students and early-career investigators, will continue to be accessible and well-supported through the efforts of the NASA Astrobiology Program. An archived non-interactive version of the NAI website will be also be maintained at its website.