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Searching for signs of alien life should be part of every future NASA mission, researchers wrote in a new report.
Authored by 17 scientists, the congressionally mandated report was unveiled on Oct. 10 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). It emphasized the importance of including astrobiology — the study of how life originated on Earth and how it might evolve elsewhere in the universe — in every phase of all NASA missions destined for space, "from inception and conceptualization, to planning, to development, and to operations."
View - Universe - Planets - Exoplanets - NASA
Our present view of the universe is more crammed with planets than ever before; the 2,300 confirmed exoplanets discovered by NASA's Kepler mission led to estimates that six out of every 10 stars could host Earthlike planets, Alan Boss, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. and a co-author of the report, said in the briefing.
The sheer number of known exoplanets offers exciting opportunities for finding biosignatures — chemical markers that indicate signs of life, Boss explained.
Astrobiology - Range - Disciplines - Physics - Chemistry
Astrobiology represents a range of scientific disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and planetary science, according to the report. Individually and together, these areas of expertise help to piece together the puzzle of how life could emerge and...
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