Portal:Astrobiology

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

Template:/box-header Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of extraterrestrial life. This interdisciplinary field takes up the search for habitable environments in our Solar System and habitable planets outside our Solar System, the search for evidence of prebiotic chemistry, 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 outer space. Astrobiology addresses the question of whether life exists beyond Earth, and how humans can detect it if it does.

Astrobiology makes use of physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, molecular biology, ecology, planetary science, geography, and geology to investigate the possibility of life on other worlds and help recognize biospheres that might be different from the biosphere on Earth. Astrobiology concerns itself with interpretation of existing scientific data; given more detailed and reliable data from other parts of the universe, the roots of astrobiology itself—physics, chemistry and biology—may have their theoretical bases challenged. Although speculation is entertained to give context, astrobiology concerns itself primarily with hypotheses that fit firmly into existing scientific theories.

Read more...

Template:/box-footer

Show new selections

Selected article

Blacksmoker in Atlantic Ocean.jpg
Extremophiles (organisms able to survive in extreme environments) are a core research element for astrobiologists. Such organisms include biota which are able to survive several kilometers below the ocean's surface near hydrothermal vents (example pictured) and microbes that thrive in highly acidic environments. It is now known that extremophiles thrive in ice, boiling water, acid, the water core of nuclear reactors, salt crystals, toxic waste and in a range of other extreme habitats that were previously thought to be inhospitable for life. It opened up a new avenue in astrobiology by massively expanding the number of possible extraterrestrial habitats. Characterization of these organisms—their environments and their evolutionary pathways—is considered a crucial component to understanding how life might evolve elsewhere in the universe. According to astrophysicist Dr. Steinn Sigurdsson, "There are viable bacterial spores that have been found that are 40 million years old on Earth - and we know they're very hardened to radiation."

Selected biography

Dr. David Morrison is director of the Carl Sagan Center for Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute, former director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute, and senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute, at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. He is the past Director of Space at NASA Ames. Morrison is credited as the founder of the multi-disciplinary field of astrobiology. Morrison is best known for his work in risk assessment of near Earth objects such as asteroids and comets. Asteroid 2410 Morrison was named in his honor for his work on the subject since 1991.

Morrison is also known for his "Ask an Astrobiologist" series on NASA's website where he provides answers to questions submitted by the public about a variety of topics from 2012 doomsday hoaxes to planetary habitability to discovery of planets outside our solar system.

Template:/box-header

Template:/box-footer

Template:/box-header


Ovni.png Extraterrestrial life (French portal)Ovni.png

Template:/box-footer

Template:/box-header

The following Wikimedia sister projects provide more on this subject:
Wikibooks  Wikimedia Commons Wikinews  Wikiquote  Wikisource  Wikiversity  Wikivoyage  Wiktionary  Wikidata 
Books Media News Quotations Texts Learning resources Travel guides Definitions Database

Template:/box-footer

Purge server cache