Planetary Protection: How I started worrying about bugs on the Spacecraft
- Event time: 1:30pm
- Event date: 5th October 2017
- Speaker: Dr Parag Vaishampayan (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA)
- Location: Room 5326, James Clerk Maxwell Building (JCMB) James Clerk Maxwell Building Peter Guthrie Tait Road Edinburgh EH9 3FD GB
As a staff scientist, Dr. Parag Vaishampayan manages a multifunctional, multidisciplinary, biotechnology-based laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). At the core of his role as a Planetary Protection scientist at JPL working on Mars missions is a passion for solving some of the key questions that every astrobiologist aims to answer: Are we alone in this universe? How did life originate on Earth? Does life exist on other planets? Dr. Vaishampayan’s career-long quest to decipher these complex riddles has taken him on a journey to some of the most extreme environments on Earth. In this seminar, Dr. Vaishampayan will share about advances in the field of planetary protection and astrobiology. His current research focus is on development and implementation of advanced molecular techniques to detect and characterize the microbial diversity of extreme environmental niches on earth and in space, encompassing Icelandic hot springs, stratospheric air samples, high altitude caves, hydrothermal vents and International Space Station (ISS) to name few. He is also interested in applying the unique technologies he has developed at JPL for solving challenging problems in healthcare (such as breast cancer) and medicine through JPL’s Medical Engineering Forum initiative. Results of his research have appeared in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and several international presentations.
The astrobiology seminar series is run by the UK Centre for Astrobiology based in the School of Physics & Astronomy. Astrobiology is a multi-disciplinary subject and the seminar series actively encourages attendance by undergraduates, postgraduates and academic staff from other departments..