Astrobiology: In Search of Life Off Earth
Astrobiology, also known as Exobiology, is a science aimed at the search for the existence of organic matter originating from places or regions outside Planet Earth. These materials may be present on our planet (from outer space) or captured in space by manned or unmanned space missions.
What are you studying
One of the main focuses of current astrobiology studies is the microorganisms that live on our planet in extreme conditions. Among these conditions, we can mention the high temperatures found in deep extracts of the Earth's layers. Scientists are trying to understand how these microorganisms resist these extreme living conditions. This information is very important for the study of astrobiology.
Knowing the key features of these microorganisms, scientists could identify similar beings in observations made by powerful telescopes or probes sent on space missions to other planets.
The main purpose of astrobiology is to know if there is life outside planet Earth, what are its main characteristics, what is its origin and where is it present (distribution).
Principal sciences and scientific fields involved with astrobiology:
- Molecular biology
Astrobiology: Emerging Science
In the last decades, with the discovery of several exoplanets, it has rekindled the theory of the possibility of the existence of life outside the Earth. Some of these exoplanets have Earth-like conditions (existence of water and atmospheric conditions), a fact that may enable the emergence and development of life.
Did you know?
One of the greatest advocates of astrobiology and its development was the American astronomer, astrophysicist and writer Carl Sagan.
- According to many astrobiologists, if there is life on other planets (known so far), it must be of the simple type. They are probably bacteria or other types of microorganism.
- In Brazil, the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences of USP (University of São Paulo) has an Astrobiology Research Center. Brazil's main astrobiology laboratory is located at the Abrahão de Moraes Astronomical Observatory, in the city of Vinhedo (São Paulo countryside).