Astrobiology

astrobiologistexobiologyastrobiologicalastrobiologistsexobiologistspace biologyxenobiologistastrobiologicallybioastronomyxenobiology
Astrobiology, formerly known as exobiology, is an interdisciplinary scientific field concerned with the origins, early evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe.wikipedia
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Abiogenesis

origin of lifeorigins of lifeformation
Astrobiology, formerly known as exobiology, is an interdisciplinary scientific field concerned with the origins, early evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. This interdisciplinary field encompasses research on the origin of planetary systems, origins of organic compounds in space, rock-water-carbon interactions, abiogenesis on Earth, planetary habitability, research on biosignatures for life detection, and studies on the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in outer space.
Researchers study abiogenesis through a combination of molecular biology, paleontology, astrobiology, oceanography, biophysics, geochemistry and biochemistry, and aim to determine how pre-life chemical reactions gave rise to life.

Extraterrestrial life

alienextraterrestrialaliens
Astrobiology considers the question of whether extraterrestrial life exists, and if it does, how humans can detect it.
The science of extraterrestrial life in all its forms is known as astrobiology.

Exoplanetology

exoplanetary sciencemassive solid planetexoplanet research
Astrobiology makes use of molecular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, chemistry, astronomy, physical cosmology, exoplanetology and geology to investigate the possibility of life on other worlds and help recognize biospheres that might be different from that on Earth.
It employs an interdisciplinary approach which includes astrobiology, astrophysics, astronomy, astrochemistry, astrogeology, geochemistry, and planetary science.

Planetary habitability

habitabilityhabitablehabitable planet
This interdisciplinary field encompasses research on the origin of planetary systems, origins of organic compounds in space, rock-water-carbon interactions, abiogenesis on Earth, planetary habitability, research on biosignatures for life detection, and studies on the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in outer space. Current studies on the planet Mars by the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers are searching for evidence of ancient life as well as plains related to ancient rivers or lakes that may have been habitable.
Research and theory in this regard is a component of a number of natural sciences, such as astronomy, planetary science and the emerging discipline of astrobiology.

Circumstellar habitable zone

habitable zonehabitable zonesGoldilocks zone
Estimates of habitable zones around other stars, sometimes referred to as "Goldilocks zones," along with the discovery of hundreds of extrasolar planets and new insights into extreme habitats here on Earth, suggest that there may be many more habitable places in the universe than considered possible until very recently.
In astronomy and astrobiology, the circumstellar habitable zone (CHZ), or simply the habitable zone, is the range of orbits around a star within which a planetary surface can support liquid water given sufficient atmospheric pressure.

Planetary system

planetary systemssolar systemssystem
This interdisciplinary field encompasses research on the origin of planetary systems, origins of organic compounds in space, rock-water-carbon interactions, abiogenesis on Earth, planetary habitability, research on biosignatures for life detection, and studies on the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in outer space.
Of particular interest to astrobiology is the habitable zone of planetary systems where planets could have surface liquid water, and thus the capacity to harbor Earth-like life.

David Grinspoon

Planetary scientist David Grinspoon calls astrobiology a field of natural philosophy, grounding speculation on the unknown, in known scientific theory.
David H. Grinspoon (born 1959) is an American astrobiologist.

Gavriil Adrianovich Tikhov

Gavriil TikhovG.A. TikhovGavriil A. Tikhov
The term was first proposed by the Russian (Soviet) astronomer Gavriil Tikhov in 1953.
Gavriil Adrianovich Tikhov (May 1, 1875 – January 25, 1960) was a Soviet astronomer who was a pioneer in astrobiology and is considered to be the father of astrobotany.

Beagle 2

Beagle-2Beagle2
Missions specifically designed to search for current life on Mars were the Viking program and Beagle 2 probes.
It was an astrobiology mission that would have looked for past life on the shallow surface of Mars.

ExoMars

ExoMars 2016ExoMars programmeExoMars rover
The European Space Agency is currently collaborating with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and developing the ExoMars astrobiology rover, which is to be launched in July 2020.
ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) is an astrobiology programme by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Mars 2020

Mars 2020 roverMars 2020 rover mission2020 Mars Rover mission
Meanwhile, NASA is developing the Mars 2020 astrobiology rover and sample cacher for a later return to Earth.
It will investigate an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars and investigate its surface geological processes and history, including the assessment of its past habitability, the possibility of past life on Mars, and the potential for preservation of biosignatures within accessible geological materials.

Carl Sagan

Sagan, CarlSaganDr. Carl Sagan
While some high-profile scientists, such as Carl Sagan, have advocated the transmission of messages, scientist Stephen Hawking warned against it, suggesting that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on.
Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences.

Viking lander biological experiments

Pyrolytic ReleaseViking biological experimentsViking'' landers
NASA's Viking missions to Mars, launched in 1976, included three biology experiments designed to look for metabolism of present life on Mars.
A 2011 astrobiology textbook notes that this was the decisive factor due to which "For most of the Viking scientists, the final conclusion was that the Viking missions failed to detect life in the Martian soil."

Xenobiology

xenobiologistxenobiologicalxenobiologists
Another term used in the past is xenobiology, ("biology of the foreigners") a word used in 1954 by science fiction writer Robert Heinlein in his work The Star Beast.
Both exo- and astrobiology deal with the search for naturally evolved life in the Universe, mostly on other planets in the circumstellar habitable zone.

Carbon-based life

organiccarbon-basedorganic life
One is the informed assumption that the vast majority of life forms in our galaxy are based on carbon chemistries, as are all life forms on Earth.
It is frequently assumed in astrobiology that if life exists elsewhere in the Universe, it will also be carbon-based.

Biosignature

biosignaturesbiomarkerssigns of life
This interdisciplinary field encompasses research on the origin of planetary systems, origins of organic compounds in space, rock-water-carbon interactions, abiogenesis on Earth, planetary habitability, research on biosignatures for life detection, and studies on the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in outer space.
Astrobiological exploration is founded upon the premise that biosignatures encountered in space will be recognizable as extraterrestrial life.

Astronomy

astronomicalastronomerastronomers
Astrobiology makes use of molecular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, chemistry, astronomy, physical cosmology, exoplanetology and geology to investigate the possibility of life on other worlds and help recognize biospheres that might be different from that on Earth.
Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary scientific field concerned with the origins, early evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe.

Protocell

early evolutionevolvedprotocells
Astrobiology, formerly known as exobiology, is an interdisciplinary scientific field concerned with the origins, early evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe.
The technique could help astrobiologists understand how the first living cells originated.

Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter

JIMOJUICEJupiter Icy Moon Orbiter
A future mission with a strong astrobiology role would have been the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, designed to study the frozen moons of Jupiter—some of which may have liquid water—had it not been cancelled.
It would investigate Europa's habitability and assess its astrobiological potential by confirming the existence and determining the characteristics of water within and below Europa's icy shell.

Mars

MartianCoordinatesplanet Mars
Current studies on the planet Mars by the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers are searching for evidence of ancient life as well as plains related to ancient rivers or lakes that may have been habitable.
NASA plans to launch its Mars 2020 astrobiology rover between July 17 and August 5, 2020.

Drake equation

Green Bank equationSagan equationDrake's Equation
It also formed the backbone of astrobiology as a science; although speculation is entertained to give context, astrobiology concerns itself primarily with hypotheses that fit firmly into existing scientific theories.

Life on Mars

lifeMarsMartian conditions
NASA's Viking missions to Mars, launched in 1976, included three biology experiments designed to look for metabolism of present life on Mars.
The possibility of life on Mars is a subject of significant interest in astrobiology due to its proximity and similarities to Earth.

Joshua Lederberg

Lederberg, JoshuaJ. LederbergJosh Lederberg
The term exobiology was coined by molecular biologist and Nobel Prize winner Joshua Lederberg.
Teaming up with Carl Sagan, his public advocacy for what he termed exobiology helped expand the role of biology in NASA.

Life

livinglife on Earthbiota
Astrobiology, formerly known as exobiology, is an interdisciplinary scientific field concerned with the origins, early evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe.

Panspermia

lithopanspermiatranspermiaPseudo-panspermia
According to the panspermia hypothesis, microscopic life—distributed by meteoroids, asteroids and other small Solar System bodies—may exist throughout the universe.
The discovery of deep-sea ecosystems, along with advancements in the fields of astrobiology, observational astronomy and discovery of large varieties of extremophiles, opened up a new avenue in astrobiology by massively expanding the number of possible extraterrestrial habitats and possible transport of hardy microbial life through vast distances.