New Zealand Astrobiology Network is a charitable trust established in 2016. The trust is dedicated to encouraging, assisting, and promoting astrobiology in New Zealand. We also help provide access to programmes in astrobiology education and outreach around the world.
What we do
What is astrobiology?
New Zealand is considered to be an excellent field site for astrobiological research. For example, there are unique extremophiles in the hot springs in Rotorua, Lake Taupo area and we can easily access the KT Boundary or the Dry Valleys in Antarctica. We are continually expanding our network of scientists throughout New Zealand with excellent credentials in interdisciplinary research that contribute to astrobiology. Skills in microbiology, ecology, biosecurity, physics, astronomy, radio astronomy and geology, only to count a few, represent an accessible yet rich knowledge base with local expertise.
I am delighted that today we do astrobiology in New Zealand. We started really small, in 2014, with a list of a few New Zealanders who might have been interested in this subject. Our first field trip gathered them together and was a great success. Since then, we had lots of interest from students, teachers, researchers and international visitors.
In 2015, we organised NASA Spaceward Bound, in 2016, we recreated the expedition exclusively for school students.
In 2018, we organised New Zealand’s first astrobiology conference, together with our Australian colleagues and support from New Zealand universities.
Also in 2018, with our NASA partners, we created a school programme Synergies in Space – Mission to Mars, which we delivered during a week in Oxford School in Canterbury region.
In 2019, we became the country coordinators of the World Space Week in New Zealand.
In 2020, we opened New Zealand’s first permanent Mars exhibition, supported the creation of the first New Zealand Astrobiology course at a university, we had our first intern student, and became official partners for Kibo ABC, a programme of the Japanese Space Agency.
In the near future we are aiming to create an online astrobiology teaching resource for teachers and investigate how to grow seeds in space in a Kibo ABC programme that will involve schools across New Zealand.
It is an incredible journey and we hope you will be part of it. We hope you will support our astrobiology network in New Zealand and we look forward to hearing from you.
Executive Director of New Zealand Astrobiology Network