The subject of astrobiology is of great interest to a wide variety of public audiences, and this interest is likely to grow as astrobiology investigations are launched on a growing number of space exploration missions. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. It is a multidisciplinary field of research, drawing on knowledge and expertise in astronomy, biology (particularly microbiology and evolutionary biology), chemistry, earth and planetary sciences, physics, and many hybrid or subdisciplines. Astrobiology also involves, to a lesser extent, studies in the humanities (primarily philosophy and theology) and social sciences. The idea that life on other planets might actually exist (or have existed in the past) obviously captures public attention.

Astrobiology encompasses the search for evidence ...

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