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Searching for Life Across Space and Time: Proceedings of a Workshop (2017)

Chapter: Appendix A: Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Searching for Life Across Space and Time: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24860.
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A

Statement of Task

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will appoint an ad hoc planning committee to organize a workshop that will focus on facilitating an expert dialogue on the current status of extraterrestrial life detection and related issues. Based on our current understanding of the nature and physical and chemical limits of life on Earth, the characteristics of worlds in our solar system and planets orbiting other stars, and the state of the art of relevant technologies, the workshop will address the following questions:

  • What is our current understanding of the limits of life and life’s interactions with the environments of planets and moons?
  • Are we today positioned to design, build and conduct experiments or observations capable of life detection remotely or in situ in our own solar system and from afar on extrasolar worlds?
  • How could targeted research help advance the state of the art for life detection, including instrumentation and precursor research, to successfully address these challenges?

A workshop report will document the workshop, including summaries of individual presentations and ensuing discussions. This report will not present consensus conclusions or recommendations.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Searching for Life Across Space and Time: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24860.
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The search for life is one of the most active fields in space science and involves a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including planetary science, astronomy and astrophysics, chemistry, biology, chemistry, and geoscience. In December 2016, the Space Studies Board hosted a workshop to explore the possibility of habitable environments in the solar system and in exoplanets, techniques for detecting life, and the instrumentation used. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

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