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UAlbany Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Professor Searches for Life on Other Planets

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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Distinguished Teaching Professor John Delano

At UAlbany Community Day on October 10, Delano will discuss current NASA research and missions to determine the conditions that led to the origin of life on Earth and its likelihood on other planets.

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 25, 2009) -- University at Albany Distinguished Teaching Professor John Delano is on the hunt for extraterrestrial life. Much like a growing contingent of other leading scientists across the nation, Delano is almost certain it’s out there -- either on planets within our solar system or beyond.

“The technology is now available for detecting Earth-like planets orbiting other stars, like the Kepler spacecraft launched by NASA in March,” said Delano. “So I think it is likely that we will be able to detect the presence of extraterrestrial life, even as soon as within the next ten years.”

At UAlbany Community Day on October 10, Delano will discuss current NASA research and missions to determine the conditions that led to the origin of life on Earth and its likelihood on other planets. Delano has served on scientific panels for NASA and the National Science Foundation, and also provided testimony in 2004 to the President's Commission on Exploration of the Moon, Mars, and Beyond.

The search for life on other planets has fascinated Delano for years. After receiving his Ph.D. in geochemistry from SUNY Stony Brook in 1977, Delano began research in astrobiology with NASA, which he continues today with colleagues from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as associate director of the New York Center for Astrobiology. Part of Delano's early research involved studying samples brought back from all six of the Apollo landing missions.

Delano’s presentation, which begins at 1 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building Room 126 and is open to the general public, will be among a bevy of activities for UAlbany Community Day, designed to showcase the University’s academic and cultural strengths. The Day – which runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- will boast faculty presentations on topics ranging from the historical significance of the Battle of Saratoga to nanotechnology; interactive student step dancing, salsa and belly dancing demonstrations; a farmer’s market; bomb-sniffing dog and sheepherding exhibitions; and a faculty meet and greet.

UAlbany Community Day is part of the University’s Homecoming/Family and Reunion Weekend, which features an alumni luncheon honoring activist Harvey Milk, ’51, a speech by former Secretary of State Colin Powell and a lecture by Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit www.albany.edu. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.

Christopher Onuorah, '12
UAlbany Student

University at Albany sophomore Christopher Onuorah abides by one personal rule: Be content but never complacent.

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