Astrobiology is a relatively new endeavor and an interdisciplinary field of science involving multiple areas of scientific knowledge.
Its main hypothesis is that life is a planetary phenomenon and its main objective is to understand the origin of life on Earth and the possibilities of existence of life elsewhere in the universe. It is an interdisciplinary field of research since it combines the knowledge from different disciplines as astrophysics, biology, chemistry, geology, and even philosophy, among others. This is required for unveil those complex questions that no one field could answer alone. Some of these questions are:
- What is life?
- How does life originate and evolve?
- Which are the environmental limits under which life can survive?
- Is there or has there been life in the planetary bodies of our solar system?
- How can we search for life in planetary bodies of our solar system or beyond (exoplanets)?
- How can we identify a habitable – or even inhabited – planetary body?
The increasing advance in this field is due to the technical developments made over the last 40 years that have allowed the exploration of space in planetary bodies of our solar system and beyond. However, not only the exploration of space was the responsible of the grow of astrobiology, but the exploration of the Earth: the amazing discovery of life forms inhabiting in environments with extreme physicochemical conditions also opened new horizons to consider the possibility of life “as we know it” inhabiting in other planets.
Astrobiology has also been concerned with many philosophical questions since its ancient origins as the position of human beings in the universe and currently, about others as the possible consequences of space settlement in the future.
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