Q:What makes NYC-Astrobiology so special ?
A: We think that we have some pretty unique and exciting research programs, taking place in what is arguably the most ethnically and culturally diverse city in the US. We'd like to be able to do our science, and get it out there into the public consciousness.
Q:How many people are involved in these research programs ?
A: There are currently about 14 people at the core of this effort, from three institutions - Columbia University (where the Columbia Astrobiology Center is located), The American Museum of Natural History, and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies here in NYC. In addition there are at least ten students and postdocs, as well as over 30 other "interested parties" throughout the member institutions.
Q:Don't you have any federal funding ?
A:Yes, we do. In fact we have been quite successful to date, with funding from NASA and the National Science Foundation, among other sources. This is a reflection of the quality of our effort, and has helped us to get going. However, this is all set to change if NASA continues on it's path of culling science to pay for things like the Space Shuttle and Space Station - both of which are basically going to be abandoned a few years down the road anyway. Our plans for the majority of our projects hinge on this future funding, as well as the paychecks of our young scientists, who will otherwise have to go elsewhere.
Q:Are you going to find life elsewhere ?
A:We don't know. We do think though that our program of research would place us in an excellent position to have a shot at answering questions like this. We'd like to be able to try!
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