A mesmerizing view of a spiral galaxy set against the backdrop of deep space. The galaxy's core glows brightly with a brilliant light, surrounded by swirling arms that are illuminated with vibrant shades of purple and pink. Numerous stars are scattered across the scene, twinkling against the dark, star-filled sky. The image showcases the intricate beauty and vastness of the universe, with rich, cosmic colors and detailed star formations adding depth and wonder to the composition.

Celia Blanco, PhD

2024 Seed Grant Awardee

Project Description

Vida en el Universo

The image is an announcement for a project titled "Vida en el Universo" (Life in the Universe), which has received funding. It is a collaboration involving NASA SCoPE, the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE), and the Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration. The project aims to ignite curiosity in astrobiology through learning experiences for Hispanic communities. The lead scientist is Celia Blanco, PhD, an Affiliate Research Scientist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. The image features logos of NASA SCoPE, NISE, and Arizona State University, along with a portrait of Celia Blanco. The word "FUNDED" is stamped across the middle in bold letters.

Vida en el Universo aims to design bilingual learning experiences using NASA's astrobiology and planetary science research as a foundation. I am partnering with NASA SciAct's “Engaging Hispanic Communities” and NASA TEAM II’s “Sparking Interest” to bridge the gap in STEM participation among Hispanic communities. Our goal is to create bilingual, culturally relevant, learner-centered activities that make astrobiology accessible and engaging for Hispanic youths and families. These activities will foster curiosity and critical thinking, helping participants understand how science works in the context of NASA's Astrobiology Program. We will leverage the NISE Network to disseminate these resources widely, positively and inclusively impacting the community.

Target Audience Age


NASA Division

Astro icon


Grant Status

Learning Context

Digital Learning disabled

Digital Learning

Home and family enabled

Neighborhood /

Informal and out of school enabled

Informal /
Out of School

home and family enabled

Home / Family

citizen science disabled

Citizen Science

Formal education disabled

Formal Education


Blanco Bio

I am hoping to make astrobiology more accessible to Hispanic communities by creating learning experiences that are both bilingual and culturally relevant. This project will allow me to illustrate how scientific methods and NASA's missions contribute to our understanding of life on Earth and beyond Earth, potentially inspiring a deep and lasting interest in this field among participants.

Celia Blanco Vida en el Universo PI

Dr. Celia Blanco

Vida en el Universo: Igniting Curiosity in Astrobiology through Learning Experiences for Hispanic Communities PI
Affiliate Research Scientist
Physics / Astrobiology
Blue Marble Space Institute

Celia is a theoretical physicist specializing in the exploration of early life forms through physicochemical and evolutionary processes. Her journey into astrobiology began with a graduate research fellowship at the Centro de Astrobiología in Madrid, Spain. Blanco has investigated the emergence of unique features in life's molecules, the interactions between different types of these molecules, and the origins of molecular innovation, among other topics. After several years at UCSB and UCLA, she joined the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, where she is currently studying the emergence and early evolution of the genetic code. She believes astrobiology is for everyone, and is passionate about sharing it with diverse audiences. Dr. Blanco is committed to making this field accessible to all, particularly within Hispanic communities.

SciAct Team

NISE Network Logo

Engaging Hispanic Communities Description

The nationwide initiative will create resources and opportunities for Hispanic families to engage in authentic, culturally relevant Earth and space learning in community settings, creating a foundation for lifelong learning—and in some cases, studies and careers—in STEM. Working with NASA, the projects will co-develop and distribute a targeted suite of media-rich and hands-on learning materials with Hispanic families and subject matter experts that are specifically designed to showcase authentic NASA science, data, and personnel in a way that is culturally sustaining and supported by evidence-based practices in bilingual and bicultural STEM engagement.

Martin Bio

Celia’s expertise in astrobiology and proposed activities will help learners within Hispanic communities to engage directly in space related STEM and ultimately see the relevance and explore opportunities to pursue STEM throughout their lives.

Paul Martin, PhD Engaging Hispanic Communities PI