Haraldur Sigurdsson is emeritusprofessor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. He has worked on research in the field of volcanology for over forty years, with studies on volcanoes in his native Iceland, North and South America, Caribbean, Indonesia, Italy and Africa, as well as on submarine volcanoes. He first visited Santorini (Thera) in 1975 as a member of the oceanographic expedition that studied the fallout from the Minoan eruption in the Bronze Age. His studies on the violent explosive eruptions of Krakatau in 1883 and Tambora in 1815 have strong parallels to the Thera eruption in the Bronze Age. During the 1975 Thera expedition the URI research vessel R/V Trident carried out sediment sampling of the sea floor east of Thera in order to determine the fallout pattern of air-borne volcanic ash from the great Minoan eruption. He was also editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes, […]
Karen Meech is an astronomer at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. Her scientific interests include several areas of cometary science: evolution and aging processes in comets, observations of distant comets, Kuiper belt comets and astrobiology. Other scientific interests include planetary formation and the search for extra-solar planetary systems, archaeoastronomy and variable stars. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Physics at Rice University in 1981, and her PhD in planetary astronomy at the MIT in 1987. Karen has been a Co-Investigator on the NASA Deep Impact mission, in charge of coordinating the world?s observing. She is playing a similar role for NASA?s EPOXI and StardustNExT Missions. She has been an active member in the international astronomy community and is currently the president of Division III Planetary Systems Sciences of the International Astronomic Union. Karen is keenly interested in issues related to the origin of water on Earth and […]
Hans Olofsson is professor of radio astronomy and director of the Onsala Space Observatory, the Swedish National Facility for Radio Astronomy, at Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg. His main fields of research are the distribution, kinematics, and physical/chemical structure of the star-forming gas on galactic scales, and the final evolution of solar-type stars. Both these aspects of the life cycle of stars have an astrobiological bearing. The former establishes the large-scale boundary conditions for the origin of life. The latter has a direct bearing on any existing life through the evolution of the central star, and, as the star approaches its death, an indirect effect through the production of heavier elements and complex (in an astronomical sense) molecules.
Dr. David Des Marais is a senior space scientist at NASA Ames Research Center. He has investigated the geochemistry of lunar samples, meteorites and both volcanic and ancient sedimentary rocks from Earth. He coordinated a long-term study of benthic cyanobacterial microbial ecosystems. David is Principal Investigator of the Ames Research Center Team of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. He is currently a member of the science teams of NASA’s 2003 Mars Exploration Rover mission, the 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory mission and the 2016 ExoMars/Trace Gas Orbiter mission. He has published more than 160 technical articles and chapters on these topics. David is Chair of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group.