01 December 2010

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What is Astrobiology? Let’s Understand Astrobiology –

What is Astrobiology? Let’s Understand Astrobiology –

Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe.

This multidisciplinary field encompasses the Search for habitable environments in our Solar System and habitable planets outside our Solar System,
The search for evidence of prebiotic chemistry And life on Mars and other bodies in our Solar System, Laboratory and field research into the origins and early evolution of life on Earth, and studies of the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in space.

NASA and Astrobiology –

The Astrobiology Program is managed by the Planetary Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.

Mary Voytek is Senior Scientist for Astrobiology in the Planetary Science Division.

The Astrobiology Program is closely coordinated with NASA’s Mars Exploration and Planetary Protection Programs.

NASA established the Astrobiology Program in 1996.
However, NASA studies in the field of exobiology – a predecessor to astrobiology – date back to the beginning of the U.S. space program.

NASA funded its first exobiology project in 1959 and established an Exobiology Program in 1960.
NASA’s Viking missions to Mars, launched in 1976, included three biology experiments designed to look for possible signs of life.

Now exobiology research is an element of the Astrobiology Program.
Exobiology research is now one of four elements of NASA's current Astrobiology Program

In 1971, NASA funded the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) to search radio frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum for signals being transmitted by extraterrestrial life outside the Solar System.

A particular focus of current astrobiology research is the search for life on Mars due to its proximity to Earth and geological history.

In 2011, NASA plans to launch the Mars Science Laboratory rover which will continue the search for past or present life on Mars using a variety of scientific instruments.

The European Space Agency has been developing the ExoMars astrobiology rover, which is to be launched in 2018.

NASA’s Astrobiology Program addresses three fundamental questions:

1. How does life begin and evolve?

2. Is there life beyond Earth and, if so, how can we detect it?

3. What is the future of life on Earth and in the universe?

In striving to answer these questions and improve understanding of biological, planetary, and cosmic phenomena and relationships among them,
Experts in astronomy and astrophysics,
Earth and planetary sciences,
Microbiology and evolutionary biology,
Cosmo chemistry and other relevant disciplines are participating in astrobiology research and helping to advance the enterprise of space exploration.

Accordingly, the discipline of astrobiology embraces the search for potentially inhabited planets beyond our Solar System, the exploration of Mars and the outer planets,
Lab-oratory and field investigations of the origins and early evolution of life, and studies of the potential of life to adapt to future challenges, both on Earth and in space.

Reality views by sm –
Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Amrit December 01, 2010  

None of these three questions are answered as yet....will be a long time before we get to that.

Usha December 15, 2010  

Astrobiology - I read it first time on RealityViews...made a mental note..that helped me to understand this NPR radio interview which was aired few days ago. Thanks for such informative posts..posting link for the interview.


sm,  December 15, 2010  

thanks for the link