JACK D. FARMER is a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at Arizona State University. His research covers microbial biosedimentology and paleontology, early biosphere evolution, and astrobiology, specifically focused on understanding the factors that control biosignature preservation and how that knowledge can be translated into a strategy for exploration of Mars. Dr. Farmer previously worked as a research scientist in the Exobiology branch of NASA’s Ames Research Center. He was a member of NASA’s 2003 Landing Site Steering Committee and was involved with landing site selection for the Mars Pathfinder. Dr. Farmer was also a member of the science definition teams for the Mars 2001 and 2005 missions, and he has participated in the recent revamping of the Mars Program architecture as chair of the Life Subgroup for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group. He is a former member of the NRC Space Studies Board and of NASA’s Space Sciences Advisory Committee.
MONIKA E. KRESS is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at San Jose State University (SJSU). Dr. Kress joined SJSU in 2004 after serving as a research associate with the Center for Astrobiology and Early Evolution at the University of Washington (UW). Prior to her position at UW, she was an NRC postdoctoral research associate at NASA Ames Research Center. Her research interests include life in hyperarid planetary environments, early solar system evolution, the formation of habitable planets, and meteorites.
DAVID W. LATHAM is a senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His current research interests focus on the study of extrasolar planets, especially transiting planets. Dr. Latham’s work also includes the construction of large telescopes and observing facilities, the development of astronomical instruments and detectors for large telescopes, and the development of computer hardware and software systems for astronomy applications. He is co-chair of the joint NASA/ESA Transiting Planet Archive Working Group. Dr. Latham is a co-investigator on the Kepler Mission and also a co-investigator on one of the key projects for the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM). He is a member of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative.
ANTONIO LAZCANO is a biology researcher and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. He is considered to be among the 10 most distinguished Latin American scientists; he has studied the origins and early evolution of life for more than 30 years. His research focuses on the study of the deepest branches of the tree of life, with particular interest in the last common ancestor of extant life forms and the origins and development of metabolic pathways. Dr. Lazcano has been professor-in-residence or visiting scientist in France, Spain, Cuba, Switzerland, Russia, and the United States. He has written several books in Spanish, including the best-seller The Origin of Life (1984). Additionally, he has served on many advisory, editorial, and review boards, and he has organized several scientific meetings in Mexico, the United States, and Europe.
CINDY L. VAN DOVER is the director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory. Prior to her appointment at Duke, Dr. Van Dover was associate professor of marine biology at the College of William & Mary. She is a deep-sea biologist who began work in this field in 1982 as a member of the first biological expedition to hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise. Her basic research focuses on the study of biodiversity and biogeography of fauna living in the extreme physical and chemical environments associated with deep-sea vents. In 1989, she described a novel photoreceptor in a vent invertebrate, which in turn led to discovery and characterization of a geothermal source of light at vents and investigations of its biological significance. Also, in 1989 she joined the team that operates the deep-diving submersible ALVIN. Her work with ALVIN has taken her to most of the known vent fields in the Atlantic and Pacific, as well as to deep-water seamounts, seeps, and other significant seafloor features. Dr. Van Dover has published more than 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has written several books.