What is Astrobiology?
“Astrobiology, the study of life as planetary phenomenon, aims to understand the fundamental nature of life on Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere. To achieve this goal, astrobiologists initiated unprecedented communications among the disciplines of astronomy biology, chemistry, and geology. . . . “
Who is an Astrobiologist?
Perhaps, an Astrobiologist is best described as a scientist whose primary roles fall within three definite areas:
- Concerned about how life began and evolved
- Concerned about questions of life beyond Earth
- Concerned about the future of life (on Earth and beyond)
Beyond the major roles in Astrobiology, the scientist acknowledges the need for an interdisciplinary and collaborative effort among the disciplines. Perhaps it is best stated in the following manner—”it is not a practice of a lone scientist, but the interdependence between all parties.”
Otherwise, I take the following quotation from (Workshop on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology, Final Report—2000):
“Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work is imperative. There must be close coordination between the scientists who conduct the research and those who can shed light on the social implications…Thoughtful and effective collaboration may
break down the barriers that separate different intellectual fields and move us in the direction of consilience, or the unification of knowledge.”(2)
- Billings, L, V Cameron, M Claire, G J Dick, S D Domagal-Goldman, E J Javaux, O J Johnson, et al. 2006. “The Astrobiology Primer: An Outline of General Knowledge–version 1, 2006.” Astrobiology 6 (5) (October): 735–813. doi:10.1089/ast.2006.6.735. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17067259.
- Connell, K., Dick, S.J., and Rose,K. (2000) Workshop on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology, Final Report, NASA Technical Memorandum, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA.: http://astrobiology.arc.nasa.gov/workshops/societal.
- Image Credit: Earthrise–http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1249.html#.Ug6pRZK1GSo
- Final Image Credit: Moons–http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/gallery-indexEvents.html#.Ug6q_JK1GSp