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Université Cadi Ayyad, Ibn Battuta Centre

Marrakech, Morocco

February 7 - 9, 2011


Field Trip

Geomicrobiology and Geology from Precambrian to Quaternary

February 10 – 14, 2011

Third Circular


Co-organisers: Charles Cockell, Oliver Angerer, Mary Voytek, Sherry Cady, Gian Gabriele Ori, Kamal Taj-Eddine

The meeting is organised by ESA and NASA with the support of the ESA Topical Team 'Geomicrobiology for Space Settlement and Exploration (GESSE)'. The topical team was set up in 2009 to investigate and develop new opportunities for geobiology in space - from life detection to practical applications of geobiology and geomicrobiology in human space exploration. This meeting will be the fourth topical team meeting, but has been organised as a community workshop to achieve the objectives outlined below.

Purpose of the Meeting

Geobiology in Space Exploration is a meeting of talks and discussions to understand the full range of the contributions of geobiology to space exploration and settlement. It has two core purposes: 1) To contribute to building the community of people working in geobiology and applying it to space sciences and exploration, 2) To develop a strategic document on the range of geobiology applications and possible space missions for ESA.

Preliminary Programme

A preliminary programme can be downloaded from the left menu. Check the programme later due to possible modifications. The final programme will be available at the Conference. For questions and comments on the programme contact Charles Cockell (see below for coordinates)

Oral and poster presentation

Check in the preliminary programme where your presentation is allocated. For the oral presentation, Power Point files must be provided before the start of the sessions during coffee breaks lunches or in the morning before the starting of the first talk.

Posters will be installed in the morning of the first day and they will remain exposed during the entire meeting. The posters will be located in the main hall where the coffee breaks will be served. The booth dimensions are 110 cm wide and 130 cm high.


Charles Cockell (Open University, UK), Oliver Angerer (ESA), Mary Voytek (NASA), Sherry Cady (Portland State University), Gian Gabriele Ori (IRSPS, Italy and Ibn Battuta Centre, Morocco), Kamal Taj-Eddine (Université Cady Ayyad and Ibn Battuta Centre, Morocco)

Scientific Organisation committee

ESA Topical Team Geomicrobiology for Space Settlement and Exploration.

Local Organisation Committee

Stefania Celenza (IRSPS)

Ida Dell’Arciprete (IRSPS and Ibn Battuta Centre)

Your arrival at Marrakech

You will arrive at the Terminal 1 of the new Menara Airport.

If you rented a car: the rental car desks are in the main hall after the custom.

If you take a taxi: the cost of the travel to the Meridien n’Fis is 100 Dhiram. Farther Hotel will cost according to the distance. You may ask for price before take taxi.


The workshop will be held at the Conference Centre of the Faculty of Medicine of the Université Cadi Ayyad at Marrakech:

Conference Centre
Faculte de Medecine et de Pharmacie
Rue Ibn Qodama

Coordinates: 31° 38’ 26,20'' N, 8° 00’ 50,94'' W

Lunches will be served in the adjacent cafeteria. A bus service will link the Hotel Meridien N’Fis and the Conference Centre in the morning and in the evening. See below.

Registration will be organised on the morning of 7th February at the Conference Centre starting at 8:30. See the Preliminary Programme.


The weather in Marrakech is quite pleasant in February with max temperature above 20 C and min temperature just below 10 C. Downpours can occurs in February, but sunny days are most probable.


A shuttle service will be provided from the Meridien n’ Fis and the Conference Centre according to the following time table:

Monady 7th
Departure from the Meridien n’ Fis 8:15
Departure from the Confrence Centre 18:00
Thuesday 8th
Departure from the Meridien n’ Fis 8:30
Departure from the Confrence Centre 18:00
Wednesday 9th
Departure from the Meridien n’ Fis 8:30
Departure from the Confrence Centre 15:00

Financial support for US participants

NASA is proving US scientists with financial support to attend the Workshop. For information contact Sherry Cady.


There is no meeting hotel and you can book in one of the many hotels of Marrakech. Some activities will be based at the Hotel Meridien N’Fis (see Marrakesh Map). The registration on 6 February will be orgnised at the Hotel Meridien N’Fis as well as the bus service that will start from this hotel. You can book the Meridien N’Fis and any other hotel directly from their web page or use any internet booking service. Before booking perform a internet search to look for the best price.

Cheap accommodations for students and PostDocs (deadline Thu. 24th February)

A few rooms are available to students and PostDocs in the Université Cady Ayyad. Two type of accommodations are available: rooms and bungalows.


Room 1 person 120 DH (about 11 €)
Room 2 persons 150 DH (about 13 €)
Room 3 persons 180 DH (about 17 €)

Bungalow up to 4 persons 250 DH (about 23 €)

Price are in Moroccan Dirham (the Euro conversion is only indicative and based on the November exchange rate )

Accommodations are very basic and simple but are located in the garden of the Faculty Club. Dedicated transportation will not be available from the Faculty Club to the Meeting site. To reserve an accommodation in the Faculty Club you have to send an email to Stefania Celenza before before Tuesday 24th February (see contact below). Only participants already registered can reserve a room.


Registration fees will include abstract book, coffe breaks, lunches and shuttle service to the Workshop:
120 Eurobefore 4 December 2010
170 Eurountil 1 February 2011
220 Euroon site

Fees can be paid by credit card (VISA and MasterCard) from the online registration form. If you need to pay by any other method contact Stefania Celenza (see below for coordinates).

Field Trip: Geomicrobiology and geology from Precambrian to Quaternary

The field trip will investigate several sites with geomicrobiological or geological interests.

The filed trip will leave early in the morning from Marrakech on February 10th. We will be back in Marrakech in late afternoon (around 18:00) on February 14th. Therefore you have to spend an extra night in Marrakech.

We will spend the first night in Ouarzazate at the Hotel Berbere Palace. Then we will move to Erfoud where we will stay for the rest of the trip at the Kasbah Xaluca. In both Hotels complimentary WI-FI is available in the rooms. Cell phones will work for large part of the field trip except when we will drive off-road for some distance.

Lunches will be consumed in the field and lunch bags will be collected in the morning. Dinner will be at the Hotels.

Hats and sunglasses are compulsory. Also, it is better to use long sleeved shirts and long pants. The weather will be not very different from Marrakech. We will be farther South in the desert but the trip will remain between 700 to 1500 metres of altitude. Be ready with jumpers and jackets. During the day we may approach 30 C, but at night temperature may fall around 5 C. Usually weather is sunny, but storms may occur in the time of the field trip. In this case you have to be ready to heavy showers and cold temperatures. Storms, though improbable, can be so heavy to affect the programme of the field trip.

We will travel by car both on road and off-road. Be prepared to long transfers on paved roads and to some rough off-road driving. Some walks will be needed to approach outcrops, therefore some light hiking boots are advised.

For any other question contact Gian Gabriele Ori (

Important dates and deadlines


The Workshop will start on Monday 7 February 2011 and will end on Wednsday 9 February 2011.

Field trip

The field trip will start on Thursday 10 February 2011 and will end on Monday 14 February 2011 at Marrakech.

Deadlines and dates

15 January 2011 Workshop programme available
From 2 February 2011On-site registration only

Contact and Secretariat

For scientific issue

Charles Cockell
Open University,
Milton Keynes,
Email :

For meeting and field trip registrations, abstract submissions and participant matter

Stefania Celenza
Università D’Annunzio
Viale Pindaro 42
65127 Pescara Italy
Tel.: +39-085-453-7512
Fax: +39-085-4549755

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