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Astrobiology – challenges and opportunities for research on Earth and in space

Rettberg, Petra (2022) Astrobiology – challenges and opportunities for research on Earth and in space. COSPAR 2022 44th Scientific Assembly, 16.-24. Jul. 2022, Athen, Griechenland.

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Abstract

Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. Since millennia, humans have thought about how and when life on Earth began, whether life might be found elsewhere in our solar system and beyond and how this hypothetical life forms might look like. However, only recently we can address these questions on a scientific basis with research on Earth and in space. Many different scientific disciplines contribute to astrobiology by working from their points of view on these questions. The challenge lies in the integration of all these different perspectives to form a common picture. In the field of biology our knowledge about life on Earth and its physical and chemical limits has increased substantially. Life has been found in extreme environments where nobody did expect any living organisms a few decades ago. Examples are hydrothermal vents, deep subsurface areas, hot springs, permafrost, deep sea brines, hot and cold deserts. In parallel, the investigation of single organisms in a laboratory environment was complemented by extensive research on natural communities and the complex interactions of their members in the context of the local environment and climate. This increase in knowledge was supported by a remarkable technology development in form of high‐throughput analysis methods, bioinformatics, and miniaturization. Our knowledge about the planets and moons in our solar system and the identification of habitable environmental conditions, e.g. on Mars and in the subsurface oceans of Europa and Enceladus, are the result of a series of successful space missions performed by different nations. From missions like MSL, Insight, ExoMars, Mars2020, and MSR we have received and will receive detailed informations about the geology, the climate and the radiation field on Mars. Missions to the outer solar system’s planets and moons, e.g. Europa Clipper and JUICE, are expected to produce exciting new data about the potential habitability of the icy moons. Examples from investigations in analogue environments, laboratories, simulation facilities, and in space are clearly demonstrating the diversity of astrobiological research activites and illustrate important steps towards a deeper understanding of habitability and the origin and evolution of life.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/189252/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Astrobiology – challenges and opportunities for research on Earth and in space
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Rettberg, PetraRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; Petra.Rettberg (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4439-2395
Date:September 2022
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:Astrobiology
Event Title:COSPAR 2022 44th Scientific Assembly
Event Location:Athen, Griechenland
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:16.-24. Jul. 2022
Organizer:COSPAR
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Project ISS LIFE 2.0
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:10 Nov 2022 12:20
Last Modified:22 Nov 2022 14:22

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