Summary: The interdisciplinary science that studies evolutionary biology, including the origin and evolution of the major elements required for life, their processing in the interstellar medium and in protostellar systems. This field also includes the study of chemical evolution and the subsequent interactions between evolving biota and planetary evolution as well as the field of biology that deals with the study of extraterrestrial life.

Top Publications

  1. Chapelle F, O Neill K, Bradley P, Methe B, Ciufo S, Knobel L, et al. A hydrogen-based subsurface microbial community dominated by methanogens. Nature. 2002;415:312-5 pubmed
    ..These results demonstrate that hydrogen-based methanogenic communities do occur in Earth's subsurface, providing an analogue for possible subsurface microbial ecosystems on other planets. ..
  2. Ehlmann B, Mustard J, Murchie S, Bibring J, Meunier A, Fraeman A, et al. Subsurface water and clay mineral formation during the early history of Mars. Nature. 2011;479:53-60 pubmed publisher
  3. Des Marais D, Nuth J, Allamandola L, Boss A, Farmer J, Hoehler T, et al. The NASA Astrobiology Roadmap. Astrobiology. 2008;8:715-30 pubmed publisher
    ..For each of these goals, Science Objectives outline more specific high priority efforts for the next three to five years. These eighteen objectives are being integrated with NASA strategic planning. ..
  4. Ouzounis C, Kunin V, Darzentas N, Goldovsky L. A minimal estimate for the gene content of the last universal common ancestor--exobiology from a terrestrial perspective. Res Microbiol. 2006;157:57-68 pubmed
    ..processing, membrane/transport proteins and complex regulation, shared between the three domains of life, emerges as the most likely progenitor of life on Earth, with profound repercussions for planetary exploration and exobiology.
  5. Billings L, Cameron V, Claire M, Dick G, Domagal Goldman S, Javaux E, et al. The astrobiology primer: an outline of general knowledge--version 1, 2006. Astrobiology. 2006;6:735-813 pubmed
    ..This way we can insure that the Primer keeps up with the current state of research. We hope that it will be a great resource for anyone trying to stay abreast of an ever-changing field. ..
  6. Mileikowsky C, Cucinotta F, Wilson J, Gladman B, Horneck G, Lindegren L, et al. Natural transfer of viable microbes in space. Icarus. 2000;145:391-427 pubmed
    ..Earth-to-Mars transfer is also possible but at a much lower frequency. ..
  7. Kobayashi K, Kaneko T, Hashimoto H, Kouchi A, Saito T, Yamashita M. Abiotic formation of bioorganic compounds in space--preliminary experiments on ground and future exobiology experiments in space. Biol Sci Space. 1998;12:102-5 pubmed
    ..It is of great interest to confirm this hypothesis in actual space conditions, such as in an exposed facility of JEM. Fundamental designs for such exobiology experiments in earth orbit (EEEO) will be discussed.
  8. Weiss B, Kirschvink J, Baudenbacher F, Vali H, Peters N, MacDonald F, et al. A low temperature transfer of ALH84001 from Mars to Earth. Science. 2000;290:791-5 pubmed
    ..Because this temperature cannot sterilize most bacteria or eukarya, these data support the hypothesis that meteorites could transfer life between planets in the solar system. ..
  9. Cleland C, Chyba C. Defining 'life'. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2002;32:387-93 pubmed
    ..In the absence of an analogous theory of the nature of living systems, interminable controversy over the definition of life is inescapable. ..

More Information


  1. Ferl R, Paul A. Lunar plant biology--a review of the Apollo era. Astrobiology. 2010;10:261-74 pubmed publisher
  2. Morris S. Predicting what extra-terrestrials will be like: and preparing for the worst. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2011;369:555-71 pubmed publisher
    ..Paradoxically, we and our biosphere are completely alone. So which is worse? Meeting ourselves or meeting nobody? ..
  3. Deming D, Seager S. Light and shadow from distant worlds. Nature. 2009;462:301-6 pubmed publisher
    ..Within the next decade, we expect to find and study a 'habitable' rocky planet transiting a cool red dwarf star close to our Sun. Eventually, we will be able to image the light from an Earth-like world orbiting a nearby solar-type star. ..
  4. Parro V, Fernández Remolar D, Rodríguez Manfredi J, Cruz Gil P, Rivas L, Ruiz Bermejo M, et al. Classification of modern and old Río Tinto sedimentary deposits through the biomolecular record using a life marker biochip: implications for detecting life on Mars. Astrobiology. 2011;11:29-44 pubmed publisher
    ..Our LDCHIP200 and SOLID-like instruments may be excellent tools for the search for molecular biomarkers on Mars or other planets. ..
  5. Tsokolov S. Why is the definition of life so elusive? Epistemological considerations. Astrobiology. 2009;9:401-12 pubmed publisher
  6. Langford S, Wyithe J, Turner E. Photometric variability in earthshine observations. Astrobiology. 2009;9:305-10 pubmed publisher
    ..Our results based on earthshine monitoring indicate that specular reflection should provide a useful tool in determining the presence of liquid water on extrasolar planets via photometric observations. ..
  7. Greenberg R. Exploration and protection of Europa's biosphere: implications of permeable ice. Astrobiology. 2011;11:183-91 pubmed publisher
    ..The new National Research Council planetary protection study will need to go beyond its current mandate if meaningful standards are to be put in place. ..
  8. McKay C. Planetary science. Biologically reversible exploration. Science. 2009;323:718 pubmed publisher
  9. Brugger J, Wülser P, Foden J. Genesis and preservation of a uranium-rich paleozoic epithermal system with a surface expression (Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia): radiogenic heat driving regional hydrothermal circulation over geological timescales. Astrobiology. 2011;11:499-508 pubmed publisher
    ..Remote exploration for deposits similar to those at the MGPS systems can be achieved by combining hyperspectral and gamma-ray spectroscopy. ..
  10. Arslan B, Boyd E, Dolci W, Dodson K, Boldt M, Pilcher C. Workshops Without Walls: broadening access to science around the world. PLoS Biol. 2011;9:e1001118 pubmed publisher
    ..We present this workshop as a case study in how interdisciplinary collaborative research may be fostered, with substantial public engagement, without sustaining the deleterious environmental and economic impacts of travel. ..
  11. McKay C, Porco C, Altheide T, Davis W, Kral T. The possible origin and persistence of life on Enceladus and detection of biomarkers in the plume. Astrobiology. 2008;8:909-19 pubmed publisher
    ..001) for biological sources but is higher (0.1-0.01) for nonbiological sources. Thus, Cassini's instruments may detect plausible evidence for life by analysis of hydrocarbons in the plume during close encounters. ..
  12. Greenberg R. Transport rates of radiolytic substances into Europa's ocean: implications for the potential origin and maintenance of life. Astrobiology. 2010;10:275-83 pubmed publisher
    ..In the ocean, this delay would have allowed time for prebiotic assemblages and anaerobic biological development prior to the increasing oxidant concentration to otherwise toxic levels. ..
  13. Sanderson K. Long odds on a long shadow. Nature. 2007;447:7 pubmed
  14. Lu Y, Freeland S. Testing the potential for computational chemistry to quantify biophysical properties of the non-proteinaceous amino acids. Astrobiology. 2006;6:606-24 pubmed
    ..The results serve as a starting point for future quantitative analysis of amino acid alphabet evolution. ..
  15. Souza Egipsy V, Ormö J, Beitler Bowen B, Chan M, Komatsu G. Ultrastructural study of iron oxide precipitates: implications for the search for biosignatures in the Meridiani hematite concretions, Mars. Astrobiology. 2006;6:527-45 pubmed
    ..No indication for growth from a physical nucleus was found. ..
  16. Davila A, Schulze Makuch D. The Last Possible Outposts for Life on Mars. Astrobiology. 2016;16:159-68 pubmed publisher
    ..If our thought process is correct, it implies the possibility of life on Mars until relatively recent times, perhaps even the present. ..
  17. Schopf J, Farmer J, Foster I, Kudryavtsev A, Gallardo V, Espinoza C. Gypsum-permineralized microfossils and their relevance to the search for life on Mars. Astrobiology. 2012;12:619-33 pubmed publisher
    ..Key Words: Confocal laser scanning microscopy-Gypsum fossils-Mars sample return missions-Raman spectroscopy-Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument-Sulfuretum. ..
  18. Diaz B, Schulze Makuch D. Microbial survival rates of Escherichia coli and Deinococcus radiodurans under low temperature, low pressure, and UV-Irradiation conditions, and their relevance to possible Martian life. Astrobiology. 2006;6:332-47 pubmed
    ..Our results indicate that planetary surfaces that possess little to no atmosphere and have low water availability do not constitute a favorable environment for terrestrial microorganisms...
  19. Leconte J, Forget F, Charnay B, Wordsworth R, Pottier A. Increased insolation threshold for runaway greenhouse processes on Earth-like planets. Nature. 2013;504:268-71 pubmed publisher
    ..This has strong implications for the possibility of liquid water existing on Venus early in its history, and extends the size of the habitable zone around other stars. ..
  20. Fergusson J, Oliver C, Walter M. Astrobiology outreach and the nature of science: the role of creativity. Astrobiology. 2012;12:1143-53 pubmed publisher
    ..A significant difference was detected between pre- and posttest understandings of some concepts of the nature of science. ..
  21. Harkness P, Lucas M. A brief overview of space applications for ultrasonics. Ultrasonics. 2012;52:975-9 pubmed publisher
  22. Fairén A, Dohm J, Rodríguez J, Uceda E, Kargel J, Soare R, et al. The Argyre Region as a Prime Target for in situ Astrobiological Exploration of Mars. Astrobiology. 2016;16:143-58 pubmed publisher
  23. Ulrich R, Kral T, Chevrier V, Pilgrim R, Roe L. Dynamic temperature fields under Mars landing sites and implications for supporting microbial life. Astrobiology. 2010;10:643-50 pubmed publisher
    ..However, any life-form that requires this temperature to thrive must also endure daily excursions to far colder temperatures as well as periods of the year where 253 K is never reached at all. ..
  24. Neveu M, Kim H, Benner S. The "strong" RNA world hypothesis: fifty years old. Astrobiology. 2013;13:391-403 pubmed publisher
    ..These include the ammonia-water environments that are possibly present at low temperatures beneath the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. ..
  25. Denning K. Is life what we make of it?. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2011;369:669-78 pubmed publisher
    ..beings, and do these stories really mean what we think they do? Might a closer look at those narratives help us gain perspective on the quest to find extra-terrestrial life, and on our quest to prepare for the consequences of detection? ..
  26. Pizzarello S, WILLIAMS L, Lehman J, Holland G, Yarger J. Abundant ammonia in primitive asteroids and the case for a possible exobiology. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108:4303-6 pubmed publisher
    ..The findings appear to trace CR2 meteorites' origin to cosmochemical regimes where ammonia was pervasive, and we speculate that their delivery to the early Earth could have fostered prebiotic molecular evolution. ..
  27. Jorge Villar S, Edwards H, Benning L. Raman spectroscopic analysis of arctic nodules: relevance to the astrobiological exploration of Mars. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2011;401:2927-33 pubmed publisher
  28. Schuster M, Dachev T, Richter P, Häder D. R3DE: Radiation Risk Radiometer-Dosimeter on the International Space Station--optical radiation data recorded during 18 months of EXPOSE-E exposure to open space. Astrobiology. 2012;12:393-402 pubmed publisher
    ..Observed effects in the samples were weighted by radiation doses measured by R3DE. ..
  29. Oczypok E, Etheridge T, Freeman J, Stodieck L, Johnsen R, Baillie D, et al. Remote automated multi-generational growth and observation of an animal in low Earth orbit. J R Soc Interface. 2012;9:596-9 pubmed publisher
  30. Osterrothová K, Jehlicka J. Raman spectroscopic identification of usnic acid in hydrothermal minerals as a potential Martian analogue. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc. 2009;73:576-80 pubmed publisher
    ..If a similar concentration of usnic acid could persist in Martian samples, then Raman spectroscopy will be able to identify it. Obtained results will aid both in situ Raman analyses on Mars and on Earth. ..
  31. Porto de Mello G, Fernandez Del Peloso E, Ghezzi L. Astrobiologically interesting stars within 10 parsecs of the sun. Astrobiology. 2006;6:308-31 pubmed
    ..We show that approximately 7% of the nearby stars are optimally interesting targets for exobiology.
  32. Lewis D, Dorne J. The astronomical pulse of global extinction events. ScientificWorldJournal. 2006;6:718-26 pubmed
    ..The potential relevance of Milankovitch cycles is also explored in the light of current evidence for the possible causes of extinction events over a geological timescale. ..
  33. Bailey J, Orphan V, Joye S, Corsetti F. Chemotrophic microbial mats and their potential for preservation in the rock record. Astrobiology. 2009;9:843-59 pubmed publisher
    ..Chemotrophic microbes on Earth occupy naturally occurring interfaces between oxidized and reduced chemical species and thus may provide a new set of search criteria to target life-detection efforts on other planets. ..
  34. Marshall C, Leuko S, Coyle C, Walter M, Burns B, Neilan B. Carotenoid analysis of halophilic archaea by resonance Raman spectroscopy. Astrobiology. 2007;7:631-43 pubmed
  35. Gaidos E, Haghighipour N, Agol E, Latham D, Raymond S, Rayner J. New worlds on the horizon: Earth-sized planets close to other stars. Science. 2007;318:210-3 pubmed
  36. Kothari N, Jafarpour A, Trebino R, Thaler T, Bommarius A. Astrobiological polarimeter. Astrobiology. 2008;8:1061-9 pubmed publisher
    ..We find that this polarimeter can operate in 3 orders of magnitude more depolarizing scattering than conventional polarimeters. Furthermore, it can also be designed to be lightweight, compact, and energy efficient. ..
  37. Gurnett D. The search for life in the solar system. Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc. 2009;120:299-325 pubmed
    ..The only remaining possibility appears to be in the interior of some of the moons of the outer planets where, due to an unlikely combination of factors, the conditions may be suitable for life. ..
  38. Pellerin A, Lacelle D, Fortin D, Clark I, Lauriol B. Microbial diversity in endostromatolites (cf. Fissure Calcretes) and in the surrounding permafrost landscape, Haughton impact structure region, Devon Island, Canada. Astrobiology. 2009;9:807-22 pubmed publisher
    ..This study on the microbial communities preserved in potentially microbially mediated secondary minerals in the Arctic could help in the search for evidence of life-forms near the edge of habitability on other planetary bodies. ..
  39. Peplow M. Signs of warm water on Saturn's moon. Nature. 2006;440:261 pubmed
  40. Kerr R. Astrobiology science conference 2006. Diversity before life. Science. 2006;312:179 pubmed
  41. Jolley C, Douglas T. Topological biosignatures: large-scale structure of chemical networks from biology and astrochemistry. Astrobiology. 2012;12:29-39 pubmed publisher
  42. Thompson D, Wilson P, Sims M, Cullen D, Holt J, Parker D, et al. Preliminary investigation of proton and helium ion radiation effects on fluorescent dyes for use in astrobiology applications. Anal Chem. 2006;78:2738-43 pubmed
    ..However, more extensive radiation fluorophore testing is needed before their suitability for astrobiology missions to Mars can be fully confirmed. ..
  43. Kerr R. Astrobiology science conference 2006. Life slow enough to live on radioactivity. Science. 2006;312:179 pubmed
  44. Reichhardt T. Space scientists get double reprieve. Nature. 2006;440:586-7 pubmed
  45. Kane S, Gelino D. The habitable zone and extreme planetary orbits. Astrobiology. 2012;12:940-5 pubmed publisher
    ..Key Words: Extrasolar planets-Habitable zone-Astrobiology. ..
  46. Haqq Misra J. An ecological compass for planetary engineering. Astrobiology. 2012;12:985-97 pubmed publisher
    ..We apply this analysis to the realm of planetary engineering, such as terraforming on Mars or geoengineering on present-day Earth, as well as to questions of planetary protection and space exploration. ..
  47. Tsou P, Brownlee D, McKay C, Anbar A, Yano H, Altwegg K, et al. LIFE: Life Investigation For Enceladus A Sample Return Mission Concept in Search for Evidence of Life. Astrobiology. 2012;12:730-42 pubmed publisher
    ..The LIFE concept offers science returns comparable to those of a Flagship mission but at the measurably lower sample return costs of a Discovery-class mission. ..
  48. Riccardi A, Domagal Goldman S, Battistuzzi F, Cameron V. Astrobiology influx to astrobiology in flux. Astrobiology. 2006;6:397-9 pubmed
  49. Hand E. Probe readies for dip into geyser on Enceladus. Nature. 2008;452:139 pubmed publisher
  50. Cockell C, Leger A, Fridlund M, Herbst T, Kaltenegger L, Absil O, et al. Darwin--a mission to detect and search for life on extrasolar planets. Astrobiology. 2009;9:1-22 pubmed publisher
    ..Darwin is a mission that will ignite intense interest in both the research community and the wider public. ..
  51. Rabbow E, Horneck G, Rettberg P, Schott J, Panitz C, L Afflitto A, et al. EXPOSE, an astrobiological exposure facility on the international space station - from proposal to flight. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2009;39:581-98 pubmed publisher
  52. Fajardo Cavazos P, Langenhorst F, Melosh H, Nicholson W. Bacterial spores in granite survive hypervelocity launch by spallation: implications for lithopanspermia. Astrobiology. 2009;9:647-57 pubmed publisher
    ..These results demonstrate that endolithic spores can survive launch by spallation from a hypervelocity impact, which lends further evidence in favor of lithopanspermia theory...
  53. Cockell C. Life in the lithosphere, kinetics and the prospects for life elsewhere. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2011;369:516-37 pubmed publisher
    ..These data also show that the search for extra-terrestrial life must be accomplished by 'following the kinetics', which is different from following the water or energy. ..