Astrobiology: The Study of the Living Universe

  title={Astrobiology: The Study of the Living Universe},
  author={Christopher F. Chyba and Kevin P. Hand},
  journal={Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics},
  • C. ChybaK. Hand
  • Published 15 August 2005
  • Physics
  • Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Ke yW ords bioastronomy, cosmobiology, exobiology, SETI ■ Abstract Astrobiology is the study of the living universe. Astronomy provides the context for the origin and evolution of life on Earth. Conversely, discoveries about the terrestrial biosphere—from extremophilic microbes to the evolution of intelligence— inform our thinking about prospects for life elsewhere. Astrobiology includes the search for extraterrestrial life via in situ exploration, spectroscopy of solar and extrasolar plan… 

Figures from this paper

The Astrobiology Primer v2.0

1.1. What is astrobiology? Astrobiology is the science that seeks to understand the story of life in our universe. Astrobiology includes investigation of the conditions that are necessary for life

The History and Philosophy of Astrobiology: Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Life and the Human Mind

Human beings have wondered about the stars since the dawn of the species. Does life exist out there – intelligent life, even – or are we alone? The quest for life in the universe touches on

Exobiology and Planetary Protection of icy moons

The outer solar system is an important area of investigation for exobiology, the study of life in the universe. Several moons of the outer planets involve processes and structures comparable to those

On the parallels between cosmology and astrobiology: a transdisciplinary approach to the search for extraterrestrial life

Abstract The establishment of cosmology as a science provides a parallel to the building-up of the scientific status of astrobiology. The rise of astrobiological studies is explicitly based on a

NASA and the search for life in the universe.

  • S. Dick
  • Physics, Geology
  • 2006

Biosignatures and the Search for Life on Earth

Earth is the only life-hosting planet in the Universe that we currently know of; however, it is just a matter of time until other Earth-like planets are detected. At that time, by analysing their

Galactic punctuated equilibrium: how to undermine Carter's anthropic argument in astrobiology.

It is concluded that drawing far-reaching conclusions about the scarcity of extraterrestrial intelligence and the prospects of the efforts to detect it on the basis of Carter's argument is unwarranted.

Habitability of super-Earth planets around other suns: models including Red Giant Branch evolution.

A thermal evolution model for a 10 Earth-mass planet orbiting a star like the Sun, based on the integrated system approach, that identifies a so-called photosynthesis-sustaining habitable zone (pHZ), as determined by the limits of biological productivity on the planetary surface.

Bayesian analysis of the astrobiological implications of life’s early emergence on Earth

Although terrestrial life's early emergence provides evidence that life might be abundant in the universe if early-Earth-like conditions are common, the evidence is inconclusive and indeed is consistent with an arbitrarily low intrinsic probability of abiogenesis for plausible uninformative priors.

Archaeology and direct imaging of exoplanets

  • J. Campbell
  • Physics, Geology
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
  • 2005
The search for extraterrestrial technology effectively began 45 years ago with Frank Drake's Project Ozma and a radioastronomy start to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Eventually



Our cosmic habitat

Our universe seems strangely 'biophilic,' or hospitable to life. Is this providence or coincidence? According to Martin Rees, the answer depends on the answer to another question, the one posed by

Evolution of a habitable planet

The Galactic Habitable Zone: Galactic Chemical Evolution

Abstract We propose the concept of a “Galactic Habitable Zone” (GHZ). Analogous to the Circumstellar Habitable Zone (CHZ), the GHZ is that region in the Milky Way where an Earth-like planet can

Titan: a laboratory for prebiological organic chemistry.

Titan is a test of the understanding of the organic chemistry of planetary atmospheres, primarily on the large moon of Saturn, and its atmospheric bulk composition is intermediate between the highly reducing (H2/He/CH4/NH3/H2O) atmospheres of the Jovian planets and the more oxidized (N2/CO2/H 2O) atmosphere of the terrestrial planets Mars and Venus.

Possible consequences of absence of “jupiters” in planetary systems

  • G. Wetherill
  • Physics, Geology
    Astrophysics and space science
  • 1994
The formation of the gas giant planets Jupiter and Saturn probably required the growth of massive ∼ 15 Earth-mass cores on a time scale shorter than the ∼ 107 time scale for removal of nebular gas, but the probability of similar gas giants occurring in other planetary systems is unclear.

Impact frustration of the origin of life

Using a range of plausible values for the timescale for abiogenesis, the interval in time when life might first have bootstrapped itself into existence can be found for each environment.

Questioning the evidence for Earth's oldest fossils

The purported microfossil-like structure is reinterpreted as secondary artefacts formed from amorphous graphite within multiple generations of metalliferous hydrothermal vein chert and volcanic glass, and a Fischer–Tropsch-type synthesis of carbon compounds and carbon isotopic fractionation is inferred for one of the oldest known hydroThermal systems on Earth.

The Galactic Belt of Intelligent Life

Current estimates of the likelihood, galactic distribution and accessibility of extra-terrestrial civilizations generally contain three shortcomings: They treat our Galaxy as a homogeneous, isotropic

The Anthropic Cosmological Principle

Is there any connection between the vastness of the universes of stars and galaxies and the existence of life on a small planet out in the suburbs of the Milky Way? This book shows that there is. In