The Centro de Astrobiología celebrates its 20th anniversary

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November 19 marked the 20th year of the creation of the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB, CSIC-INTA) and to commemorate it, the center organized an event in which the beginnings of the center were remembered, a review for these 20 years was made and the challenges of the future were discussed.

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The origin of the Centro de Astrobiología goes back to the proposal submitted to NASA by a group of Spanish and American scientists led by scientist Juan Pérez Mercader to join the then newly created (1998) NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI).

In this way, the CAB was created as a mixed centre between the CSIC and INTA on November 19, 1999, when both institutions signed the agreement to establish the centre. Thus, the scientific activities of the CAB began at the end of that year at a temporary site provided by INTA. A few years later, in 2002, the works of the current facilities were completed, which were inaugurated in January 2003.

To commemorate these 20 years since the establishment of the center, a day of celebration was organized in which a review was held during these years and talk was given the scientific advances that have been highlighted within the center, as well as the future challenges that arise for the coming years.

The event began with the words of welcome and thanks of the director of the CAB, Victor Parro, who was accompanied by Jesús Marco de Lucas, Vice President of Scientific and Technological Research of the CSIC, and General Julio Ayuso de Miguel, Deputy Director General of Coordination and Plans of INTA. This first part of the event was closed by Professor Juan Pérez Mercader, founder and first director of the Centro de Astrobiología, who told all attendees how the idea of creating a center like the CAB arose.

The most scientific part of the day was then given way, which was opened with the intervention of Carol Stroker, a senior scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, who highlighted NASA's intense collaboration with the CAB during these 20 years. Several interventions followed, including that of CAB researchers, José Antonio Rodríguez Manfredi and Olga Prieto Ballesteros, who talked about 'The Exploration of Mars' and 'The Frozen Worlds' respectively.

After a brief sevent, the presentations were resumed with the intervention of Professor Günter Hasinger, scientific director of ESA, who highlighted the work of the European Agency in astrobiology. Next, Izaskun Jiménez Serra, researcher at CAB, talked about 'Prebiotic chemistry in interstellar space'. It was followed by Professor Wolf D. Geppert, President of the newly created European Institute of Astrobiology (EAI), who presented the objectives of the institute; and Michael Meyer, chief scientist of NASA's Mars exploration program.

To conclude with the interventions of a scientific nature, Professor Juan Pérez Mercader (currently a scientist at Harvard University) took the floor again to give the presentation 'New approaches to the origin of life', before giving way to the roundtable 'Astrobiology in perspective: challenges', which was attended by Pérez Mercader himself. He was accompanied by Alvaro Giménez Cañete, director of the General Foundation of the CSIC and second director of the CAB; and CAB researchers María Paz Zorzano, María Rosa Zapatero Osorio and Carlos Briones. In addition, Javier Gómez Elvira and Miguel Mas Hesse, directors of CAB in the last 8 years, were given the floor; and Ricardo Amils, senior researcher at the Centro de Astrobiología and one of the center's 'founding fathers'.

As a highlight to the celebration, a video was projected that collected the process of construction of the current facilities of the CAB in Torrejón de Ardoz, as well as another compilation with images of the center and its workers from 1999 to today.




 

Fuente: UCC-CAB

 

Imágenes adicionales:

 
Departments and support units

The answer to questions about life and its origin come from the combined efforts of many disciplines

Research areas

The science developed in the CAB is channeled through interdepartmental research lines

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