Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. It is an inherently interdisciplinary field that encompasses astronomy, biology, geology, heliophysics, and planetary science, including complementary laboratory activities and field studies conducted in a wide range of terrestrial environments. Combining inherent scientific interest and public appeal, the search for life in the solar system and beyond provides a scientific rationale for many current and future activities carried out by the National Aeronautics and Science Administration (NASA) and other national and international agencies and organizations.
Requested by NASA, this study offers a science strategy for astrobiology that outlines key scientific questions, identifies the most promising research in the field, and indicates the extent to which the mission priorities in existing decadal surveys address the search for life’s origin, evolution, distribution, and future in the universe. This report makes recommendations for advancing the research, obtaining the measurements, and realizing NASA’s goal to search for signs of life in the universe.
Table of Contents
|1 The Search for Life in the Universe: Past, Present, and Future||8-17|
|2 Dynamic Habitalility||18-46|
|3 Comparative Planetology and Multi-Parameter Habitability Assessment||47-68|
|4 Biosignature Identification and Interpretation||69-94|
|5 Evolution in the Technology and Programmatic Landscape||95-109|
|6 The Search for Life in the Coming Decades||110-153|
|7 Leveraging Partnerships||154-165|
|Appendix A Congressional Mandate and Letter of Request||166-168|
|Appendix B Statement of Task||169-169|
|Appendix C List of White Papers||170-174|
|Appendix D Biographies of Committee Members||175-179|
|Appendix E Glossary and Acronyms||180-186|
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