Yaszek, Brock to Serve on Panel Discussing Alien Life at AbSciCon 2022 in Atlanta

An Evolution of Astrobiology

Posted May 13, 2022

Georgia Tech researchers are leading the charge for astrobiology’s largest national conference.

Lisa Yaszek, Regents Professor of Science Fiction Studies, and André Brock, associate professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, will serve as part of a panel that will consider how the media and society would react if life besides our own is ever discovered. The panel is free and open to the public. 

“We’ll explore how ideas about alien life have been represented in the media historically and how stories about alien encounters written by marginalized peoples might provide us with new ways of thinking about first contact with other cultures,” said Yaszek. “The liberal arts provides innovative, human-centered perspectives on science and technology. I hope the roundtables, film screenings, and public performances that we've scheduled will help scientists and artists alike think about the origins of life, here on Earth and elsewhere, from new and perhaps surprising perspectives.”

AbSciCon’s sessions are open exclusively to conference attendees. However, to include everyone interested in astrobiology, Yaszek and other members of the special programming committee have also set up two additional events that are free to the public.

Martha Grover, AbSciCon’s general chair and a professor and associate chair for graduate students in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, will moderate a discussion about bringing astrobiology resources to K-12 students.

The final public event is a plenary address of Tracy Drain, who received her master’s degree from the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Drain, a flight systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, works on deep space missions, including Juno, which is currently circling Jupiter.

More than 1,000 abstracts will be discussed during AbSciCon 2022 May 15-20. The event takes place every two years, allowing experts to share their research, collaborate, and map the future of their field. AbSciCon, short for Astrobiology Science Conference, is hosted by NASA and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and will take place in downtown Atlanta for 2022. 

“Georgia Tech’s astrobiology community is uniquely positioned within higher education because of the Institute’s focus on breaking down silos within our research community,” said Grover. “We have the scientists to explore the origin and the potential of life on moons and planets, while our engineers can create the technology to launch and test.”

Read the full article on AbSciCon on the College of Engineering website.

Contact For More Information

Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu