Commission F3 Astrobiology

Scientific Objectives

''Where and how did life begin?'', ''How has life evolved?'', ''Are there other living beings in the Universe?'', ''What is the future of life?'' These are fundamental questions to everybody. Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary research field that attempts to solve these questions through collaboration among astrophysics, physics, chemistry, planetary science, geophysics, biology, philosophy, history of science, and others.

Commission F3 (Astrobiology) was established in 2015, as a successor to the former Commission 51 (Bioastronomy). It aims to develop a coherent picture of the synthesis of the basic ingredients of life in stars and planets, in the interstellar medium, and in the solar system such as Mars, Europa, Titan and Enceladus, and to study the interrelationships between these findings and the results from studying the early Earth to obtain an understanding of the origin of life and the possibility of other life in the Universe.

Astrobiology research includes:

  • the origin of the biogenic chemical elements and the search, observations, and analysis of biologically relevant molecules in the circumstellar and interstellar media and in external galaxies;
  • the study of biomolecules and organic solids in primitive solar system bodies such as comets, asteroids, interplanetary dust particles, meteorites and planetary satellites;
  • the search for extant life, evidence of past life, and evidence of prebiotic chemistry on solar system bodies;
  • the search for spectroscopic evidence of life, habitability, and/or biological activity on extra-solar planets;
  • the search for intelligent signals of extraterrestrial origin; and
  • the study of the origin, early evolution, and environmental constraints for life on Earth.

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