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Astrobiology

Nucleic acids may not be the only biomolecules in the universe capable of coding for life. Part of a series on Science Mathematics Mathematical logic Mathematical statistics Computer science Physics Applied physics · Atomic physics Computational physics Condensed matter physics Experimental physics · Mechanics Nuclear physics Particle physics · Plasma physics Quantum mechanics (introduction) Solid mechanics · Theoretical physics Thermodynamics · Entropy General relativity · M-theory Special relativity Chemistry Acid-base reaction theories · Alchemy Analytical chemistry · Astrochemistry Biochemistry · Crystallography Environmental chemistry · Food science Geochemistry · Green chemistry Inorganic chemistry · Materials science Molecular physics · Nuclear chemistry Organic chemistry · Photochemistry Physical chemistry · Radiochemistry Solid-state chemistry · Stereochemistry Supramolecular chemistry Surface science · Theoretical chemistry Astronomy Astrophysics · Cosmology Galactic astronomy · Planetary geology Planetary science · Stellar astronomy Earth sciences Atmospheric sciences · Ecology Environmental science · Geodesy Geology · Geomorphology Geophysics · Glaciology · Hydrology Limnology · Mineralogy · Oceanography Paleoclimatology · Palynology Physical geography · Soil science Space science Biology Anatomy · Astrobiology · Biochemistry Biogeography · Biological engineering · Biophysics Behavioral neuroscience · Biotechnology Botany · Cell biology · Conservation biology · Cryobiology Developmental biology Ecology · Ethnobiology Evolutionary biology (introduction) Genetics (introduction) Gerontology · Immunology · Limnology Marine biology · Microbiology Molecular biology · Neuroscience Paleontology · Parasitology · Physiology Radiobiology · Soil biology Systematics · Theoretical biology Toxicology · Zoology Social and Behavioural sciences Anthropology · Archaeology Criminology · Demography Economics · Human geography History · Linguistics Political science · Psychology Sociology Engineering Agricultural · Aerospace · Biomedical Chemical · Civil · Computer Electrical · Fire protection · Genetic Industrial · Mechanical · Military Mining · Nuclear · Operations research Robotics · Software Healthcare sciences Biological engineering · Dentistry Epidemiology · Health care · Medicine Nursing · Pharmacy · Social work Veterinary medicine Interdisciplinarity Applied physics · Artificial intelligence Bioethics · Bioinformatics · Biogeography Biomedical engineering · Biostatistics Cognitive science · Computational linguistics Cultural studies · Cybernetics Environmental studies · Ethnic studies Evolutionary psychology · Forestry Geography · Health Library science · Logic Mathematical biology · Mathematical physics Scientific modelling · Neural engineering Neuroscience · Political economy Science and technology studies Science studies · Semiotics · Sociobiology Systems theory · Transdisciplinarity Urban planning Scientific method History of science Philosophy of science Science policy Humanities Fringe science Pseudoscience v d e Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. This interdisciplinary field encompasses the search for habitable environments in our Solar System and habitable planets outside our Solar System, the search for evidence of prebiotic chemistry, laboratory and field research into the origins and early evolution of life on Earth, and studies of the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in outer space. Astrobiology addresses the question of whether life exists beyond Earth, and how humans can detect it if it does. (The term exobiology is similar but more specific — it covers the search for life beyond Earth, and the effects of extraterrestrial environments on living things)Astrobiology makes use of physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, molecular biology, ecology, planetary science, geography, and geology to investigate the possibility of life on other worlds and help recognize biospheres that might be different from the biosphere on Earth. Astrobiology concerns itself with interpretation of existing scientific data; given more detailed and reliable data from other parts of the universe, the roots of astrobiology itself—physics, chemistry and biology—may have their theoretical bases challenged. Although speculation is entertained to give context, astrobiology concerns itself primarily with hypotheses that fit firmly into existing scientific theories. Earth is the only place in the universe known to harbor life. However, recent advances in planetary science have changed fundamental assumptions about the possibility of life in the universe, raising the estimates of habitable zones around other stars and the search for extraterrestrial microbial life. The possibility of life on Mars, either currently or in the past, is an active area of research. Cite error: There are tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{Reflist}} template or a tag; see the help page.
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