Sunday, December 2, 2007

NASA's Astrobiology Roadmap

In 2003, NASA, through the input of more than 200 scientists and technicians, finalized an Astrobiology Roadmap to outline and prioritize research and exploration pathways. The Roadmap has six goals:

Goal 1: Understand the nature and distribution of habitable environments in the Universe

Goal 2: Explore for past or present habitable environments, prebiotic chemistry and signs of life elsewhere in our Solar System.

Goal 3: Understand how life emerges from cosmic and planetary precursors

Goal 4: Understand how past life on Earth interacted with its changing planetary and Solar System environment

Goal 5: Understand the evolutionary mechanisms and environmental limits of life

Goal 6: Understand the principles that will shape the future of life, both on Earth and beyond

Goal 7: Determine how to recognize signatures of life on other worlds and on early Earth

I will be returning to this topic from time to time, especially Goal 3, which actually speaks of developing a study of universal biology.

The Roadmap can be found at <http://astrobiology.arc.nasa.gov/roadmap/index.html>, with a PDF version at <http://astrobiology.arc.nasa.gov/roadmap/AB%20RoadmapBrochure.pdf> (as of 2 December 2007).

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