As some of you know, I will be retiring from NASA on January 31 after 25 years of managing science programs at the agency. The last six years, during which I've had the privilege of leading the NASA Astrobiology Institute, have been by far the most rewarding of my NASA career. It has been a joy to work with and serve our remarkable community. Not long ago, one community member said to me that she feels astrobiology is a "calling." I think many of us feel that way. We feel called to address the profound questions astrobiology asks: How does life begin and evolve? Where else is there life in the universe? What is life's fate? These questions attract many of the finest students who bring an energy and vitality to our community that is one of its greatest strengths and presage a bright future for the field.
I believe that many of the greatest advances in science in the next century will be made at the interfaces between traditional disciplines. Astrobiology is a field focused on those interfaces, and as such I think it provides a template for the future of science. I will continue to be involved in astrobiology in ways yet to be determined, and I look forward to continuing to interact with many of you as we move the science forward and share it with the world. Keep doing great things!
With best wishes always,
Carl B. Pilcher, Director
NASA Astrobiology Institute
NASA Ames Research Center