Summer school
"Biosignatures and the Search for Life on Mars "
Iceland, 4 - 16 July 2016


General information

The summer school will consist of 3 parts, the first and the third part will take place in Reykjavik, the second part (which includes field work and excursions) will be based at Akureyri and Myvatn in Northern Iceland, close to the field sites. The programme includes:

  • lectures by internationally leading scientists covering a broad range of subjects in astrobiology
  • investigation of colonisation of fresh lava fields and Mars analogue landscapes with in situ life detection techniques
  • excursions to geologically and astrobiologically interesting sites (lava caves, new lava fields):
    • Hveavellir hot spring area
    • Barðabunga lava field
    • Námaskarð geothermal area
    • Krafla volcanic area
    • the Mars analogue landscapes at Askja
    • the Myvatn area with the Skútustaðir pseudocraters and the Hverfjall cinder cone
  • a poster sessions for students and early career scientists
  • participant-led discussions
Iceland is a uniquely suitable venue for the summer school, offering both easily accessible lava fields and glaciers in close proximity and an analog environment for NASA planetary exploration studies. The newly lava-covered areas stemming from the Barðabunga volcanic eruptions provides a unique opportunity for the envisaged field work.

A hopefully final programme of the summer course can be downloaded as a .xls file here.

Poster sessions

The poster sessions will be held on Monday, 4 July 2015 19:30-21:30 at the Gullteigur room on the ground floor. A buffet dinner will be served then. Posters can be put up from 4 July lunchtime on. Please remove the posters on 4 July after the session. The poster sessions are aiming to allow participants to present their work, so even posters a bit remote from the course subjects are welcome. Poster boards are white and have a width of 95 cm as well as a heigth of 1.50m. So DIN A0 works, but only in portrait format.

Participants will be allowed a 4 minutes presentation for their posters (no discussion). The presentation will take place in the Háteigur room (the same as the lectures). Powerpoint slides can be used. For a smooth run of these poster talks, they are asked to bring their talks on a memory stick or CD-ROM.

There is a possibility to get the posters printed in Iceland, so that you do not have to carry them with you. A company called Syningakerfi, which is located very close to the venue (across the street) will be able to provide this service. Please contact them if you want to use this possibility. The conference organisers cannot, however, give any guarantee for timely printing of the posters.


On several days we will have excursions to Mars analogue landscapes, lava fields etc. To take part in these excursions, you should be of reasonable health. Please inform us if that is not the case. We would also stress that part of the summer school has expedition character and we have to have packed lunches some times. So, if you have many and very difficult requirements and/or are an extremely picky eater, this summer school might maybe not be the right thing to you.

Important: Please read the instruction about clothing and equipment under the Practical Infos webpage carefully. For smooth running of the course and safety of all participants course organisers reserve the right to exclude participants from excursions if their equipment or state is deemed insuffient to take part.

Hverfjall cinder cone Barðabunga lava field Kerlingarfjöll hot spring area