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Last modified on 2020-07-24 02:47:17
Astrobiology is the study of the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. This interdisciplinary field requires a comprehensive, integrated understanding of biological, geological, planetary, and cosmic phenomena. Astrobiology encompasses the search for habitable environments in our Solar System and on planets around other stars; the search for evidence of prebiotic chemistry or life on Solar System bodies such as Mars, Jupiter’s moon Europa, and Saturn’s moon Titan; and research into the origin, early evolution, and diversity of life on Earth. Astrobiologists address three fundamental questions: How does life begin and evolve? Is there life elsewhere in the Universe? What is the future of life on Earth and beyond? As part of a concerted effort to address this challenge, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) established the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) in 1998 as an innovative way to develop the field of astrobiology and provide a scientific framework for flight missions. NAI is a virtual, distributed organization of competitively-selected teams that integrate astrobiology research and training programs in concert with the national and international science communities. NAI MISSION NAI’s mission is to: - carry out, support and catalyze collaborative, interdisciplinary research; - train the next generation of astrobiology researchers; - provide scientific and technical leadership on astrobiology investigations for current and future space missions; - explore new approaches using modern information technology to conduct interdisciplinary and collaborative research amongst widely-distributed investigators; - support learners of all ages by implementing formal, informal, and higher education programming and public outreach NAI’s teams are supported through cooperative agreements between NASA and the teams’ institutions; these agreements involve substantial contributions from both NASA and the team. The executive summaries from each team’s latest annual report describe their recent contributions to astrobiology research.
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