Microbial Life and Astrobiology

Created by Sarah Bordenstein, Marine Biological Laboratory

Astrobiology embraces the search for potentially inhabited planets beyond our Solar System, the exploration of Mars and the outer planets, laboratory 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. It addresses three basic questions:

  • How does life begin and evolve?
  • Does life exist elsewhere in the universe?
  • What is the future of life on Earth and beyond?

- The Astrobiology Roadmap, NASA Ames Research Center

ALH84001 Martian Meteorite

What is Astrobiology?

Astrobiology is the study of the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the Universe. It is an interdisciplinary field that combines concepts in the biological sciences, chemistry, physics, mathematics, earth and space sciences, technology, information science, and related disciplines.

Microbial Life and Astrobiology

Microbiology is an essential tool in the quest for extraterrestrial life and in the search for the origins and destiny of life. By understanding the complexity and extremity of microbial life on Earth, we are able to speculate about the existence of life on other planets—both within our solar system and beyond. Microbiology can be used to address each of the NASA Astrobiology Roadmap Questions.

Astrobiology Collections

General Collection: Resources such as news articles, web sites, and reference pages provide a comprehensive array of information about Microbial Life and Astrobiology.

Advanced Collection: Compiled for professionals and advanced learners, this collection includes resources such as journal articles, academic reviews, and surveys.

For Educators: This collection includes activities, assignments, and reading materials created specifically for educators.

Additional Resources

For additional resources about Microbial Life and Astrobiology, search the Microbial Life collection.

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