Astrobiology Research

Astrobiology is a vibrant field that focuses on the study of the origins, distribution and evolution of life in the universe. Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary field that combines astronomy, geology, biology and chemistry. At the University of Arizona, there are six academic departments that participate in the astrobiology program.

The University of Arizona offers one of the few astrobiology minor programs in the United States. Some of the questions we seek to answer include:

  • How did life emerge?
  • How did the first metabolic networks and organisms evolve? 
  • How did the translation machinery emerge and evolve?
  • Can we provide insights into RNA world?
  • Is life deterministic or repeatable? 
  • What is the likelihood that life comparable to our own has arisen elsewhere in the universe?

 

Center for Astrobiology

The Department of Planetary Sciences is one of the departments participating in the College of Science Center for Astrobiology. The center fosters interdisciplinary research and education in astrobiology by providing an organizational framework for the astrobiology community.

The Center builds on the heritage of the Life and Planets Astrobiology Center, an earlier NASA Astrobiology Institute node, and combines cutting-edge research from astronomy, planetary sciences, chemistry, geo- and biological sciences.