What is Astrobiology?

Astrobiology  is defined as any form of research pertaining to or concerning the origins, search for, and understanding of the context of life in our universe, as well as the extension of human life to other parts of our universe and the habitability of other worlds. Three grand basic questions in the field are: How does life begin and evolve? Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? How do we search for life in the Universe?

In order to address these questions, astrobiologists gather together to define the goals and objectives that will set the tone for future research (see roadmaps and Astrobiology Strategy). 

Six major topics of research in the astrobiology field today include: 

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field of astrobiology, disciplines such as chemistry, biology, physics, geology, astronomy, planetary sciences, atmospheric sciences, and oceanography, to list a few, make important contributions to research topics such as the origin and search for life in our solar system.

 Interdisciplinary collaboration is imperative! 

Astrobiologists conduct laboratory experiments in simulated space environments, search for extreme life forms in the field, perform simulations to understand complex environmental processes, and build spaceflight instruments. We do whatever it takes to answer the grand questions! 

If you are passionate about the origin and search for life in space, general steps to become an astrobiologist include earning a bachelor's or higher degree in a scientific discipline, getting involved in research projects, and building a professional network within the astrobiology community. Recognizing your strengths as a researcher and finding how you can personally contribute to the field of astrobiology is an individual journey that can be greatly enhanced by attending conferences such as AbGradCon. See AbGradCon23 for more information! 

Astrobiology Primer v2.0


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