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Presentation on astrobiology, extremophilesoffered at MJC
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MODESTO –  Modesto Area Partners in Science (MAPS) will offer a program entitled “What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?” on Friday, Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Forum 110 on Modesto Junior College’s East Campus.

The presenter, Dr. Penelope Boston, will talk about astrobiology and “extremophiles” – life that thrives in extreme environments.  Her work extends from deep caves on this planet to extraterrestrial environments on Mars and beyond. She has encountered bizarre life forms in some of the most hostile environments on Earth.  Most recently she appeared in the National Geographic special exploring the giant crystal cave in Mexico. The science presentation is free, open to the public, and appropriate for ages 13 years and older.

Boston’s research includes geomicrobiology and astrobiology in extreme environments (caves, hot and cold deserts, high latitudes and altitudes); human life support issues in space and planetary environments; use of robotics to assist exploration and science in extreme Earth and extraterrestrial environments; and most recently the characterization of exoplanets as potential abodes of life.

She is the author of over 140 technical and popular publications; editor of four volumes and author of two upcoming books and as well as an academic work on the astrobiology of the subsurface environment.  Her work has been featured in 150 print and broadcast media venues over the past twenty years. Boston is a fellow of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, serves on the NASA Planetary Protection Subcommittee, and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration. As a student at the University of Colorado in the early 1980s, she co-founded the Mars Study Project and the resulting Case for Mars series of conferences.

Crently Boston serves as the Director of the Cave and Karst Studies Program and Associate Professor in the Earth & Environmental Sciences Department at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, New Mexico.  She is also Associate Director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute in Carlsbad, NM.

More information about the MAPS program and their future presentations is available online at or contact MJC’s Science, Mathematics and Engineering Division Office at 575-6173.