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Astrobiology Meaning

The word Astrobiology is derived from the Greek word “Astron,” which means “constellation star’” “bios,” which means life, and “logia,” which means study. A Russian astronomer named Gavrill Tikhov introduced the term “Astrobiology,” for the first time in 1953.

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The branch of biology that deals extensively with the study of earth and space is astrobiology. The word astrobiology was formerly known as exobiology. It is a scientific discipline that concerns the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe.                       

This page provides an introduction to Astrobiology, exobiology, and astrobiology.

Introduction to Astrobiology

Astrobiology also helps us detect whether extraterrestrial life (life beyond Earth) exists or not. If it does, how humans can detect it.

Now, Let Us Give an Introduction to Nasa Astrobiology:

For decades, astronomers have been searching for the existence of a life other than the Earth. They discover that the presence of another life suffuses our entertainment and culture, and we humans seem to have an innate hope that we are not alone in the universe.

However, astronomers don’t have proof of whether extraterrestrial life exists or not and it still remains a fiction.

So, How Can We Determine the Existence of a Sister Earth?

What is Astrobiology?

Astrobiology is also called exobiology or xenobiology. It is a multidisciplinary branch that deals with nature, existence, and the search for life beyond the Earth. Astrobiology incorporates areas of biology, astronomy, and geology.

What Astrobiology Makes Use of?

Astrobiology employs astronomy, biology, biophysics, biochemistry, chemistry, physical cosmology, exoplanet ology, and geology to research the likelihood of life on other worlds and helps us identify biospheres that may vary from that on Earth.

The origin and early evolution of life are entangled parts of the discipline of astrobiology. 

Astrobiology concerns itself with the interpretation of existing scientific data, and although speculation is entertained to offer context, astrobiology concerns itself primarily with hypotheses that fit firmly into existing scientific theories.

This interdisciplinary field embraces research on the origin of planetary systems, organic compounds in space, rock-water-carbon interactions, abiogenesis on Earth, planetary habitability, the research on biosignatures for all times detection, and studies on the potential for an entire period to adapt to challenges on Earth and space.

Existence of Another Life

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Firstly, the existence of another life can be possible by exploring and illuminating the world of extreme life on Earth.

Secondly, by experimenting with the origin of our life.

Thirdly, by understanding more about the chemical makeup of the cosmos.

Lastly, by testing for habitability on missions to Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan, and beyond, an enormous body of science has already been assembled to research and explain the origins, characteristics, and possible extraterrestrial dimensions of life. 

Exobiology and Astrobiology

Exobiology and Astrobiology are little different words. Now, let’s understand the difference between the two. 

A molecular biologist and Nobel Prize winner Joshua Lederberg coined the term “Exobiology.” 

Exobiology features a narrow scope limited to an inquiry of life external to Earth, whereas the topic area of astrobiology is wider and it investigates the link between life, and therefore, the universe, which incorporates the look for extraterrestrial life, but also includes the study of life on Earth, its origin, evolution, and limits.

There’s another term used in place of Astrobiology; let’s understand what Xenobiology is.

Astrobiology and Xenobiology

The term “Xenobiology,” was used long back. It means "biology of the foreigners." 

A science fiction writer named Robert Heinlein used the word “Xenobiology,” in 1954 in his work The Star Beast.

However, at present, this term is used in a more specialized sense, to reinstate "biology based on foreign chemistry", of extraterrestrial or terrestrial (possibly synthetic) origin.

For instance, the rover Curiosity has firmly ascertained that ancient Mars was significantly more wet and warm, and was a completely habitable place for microbial life. 

All the ingredients needed for all times as we all know it – the right chemicals, a uniform source of energy, and water that was likely present and stable on the surface for many years – were clearly present.

Now, let’s understand the real-life example that is in the air on the Astrobiology Magazine:

Mission Orbiter Mass

The experiment made by ISRO on Mars mission to determine the existence of life on Mars was unsuccessful because scientists lost its communication with the Rover “Pragyaan,” along with its lander, “Vikram.” 

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However, ISRO is unstoppable. It is going to launch Gaganyaan in 2021 taking humans in space.

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ISRO was supposed to launch Chandrayaan - 2 missions for a soft landing on the Moon; however, the lander “Vikram,” of this mission is accurately located (established its existence) but its certainty is a big question mark hitherto.  

Chandrayaan - 2 was able to produce the thermal image of the Vikram lander with its location 2.1 Km above the Moon’s surface; however, the communication with it is yet to be established.

Because of this reason, mission Chandrayaan - 2 is not completely ready for future ISRO missions (90% ready).

The best part is yet to come when Gangyaan (as per expectation) will be launched in December 2021 with the following four objectives to accomplish:

  • Study the Martian atmosphere 

  • Study the features of the Martian Surface 

  • Morphology 

  • Mineralogy

So, do you know what Astrobiology Magazine is all about? If not, let’s end our page with its definition:

Astrobiology Magazine

Astrobiology Magazine is especially for exploring the solar system and beyond through reading and viewing images. It is also known as Astrobiology Mag.

Astrobiology Mag is an American, formerly NASA-sponsored, international online popular science magazine that comprises popular science content, referring to articles for the general reader on science and technology subjects.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: State the Elements of Astrobiology.

Ans: Following are the elements of astrobiology:


Astronomy

Astronomy-related astrobiology research talks more about the extrasolar planet (exoplanet) detection, the hypothesis being that if life originated on Earth, it could also exist on other planets with similar characteristics


Biology

It is the study of living organisms that include key elements such as cell theory, taxonomy, evolution, and biosphere.


Astroecology

It concerns the interactions of life with space, environmental resources, planets, asteroids, and comets. 


On a wider view, astroecology concerns resources for life around stars in the galaxy through the cosmological future. It also attempts to quantify future life in space, addressing this region of astrobiology.


Astrogeology

It is a planetary division of science that studies the geology of celestial bodies, like planets and their moons, comets, asteroids, and meteorites. 


The information gathered by this subdiscipline helps us measure the planet’s natural satellite's potential to sustain life/planetary habitability.

Q2: What is the Goal of Nasa for Astrophysics?

Ans: Astrophysics is one of the branches of Astrobiology that helps us understand the universe and our place in it. 


NASA is investigating the very moment of creation of the universe and is close to learning the full history of stars and galaxies. So far, they have discovered how planetary systems were formed and how environments are hospitable for life development. 


At present, they are searching for the signature of life on other worlds, perhaps to learn that we are not alone.


The goal of NASA for astrophysics is, “ Discover/Explore how the universe works/looks like, explore how it began/originated and evolved, and search for life on planets around other stars."

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