Nature Comment: Exoplanet Science 2.0

Impact craters and atmospheric history on Mars provide information on how terrestrial planets form and evolve. Credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. Arizona


The study of life on and off Earth needs unified funding and a coherent plan, say Caleb Scharf, Director of Astrobiology at Columbia University, and his colleagues in a Nature article published January 8, 2018.

Now that answers about life’s universality are finally within reach, the scientists wrote, funding agencies and scientists must step up: “Insights from many disciplines are needed to discover which ingredients, mechanisms and environmental pathways create and sustain life. Molecular biologists need to explain how proto-life might operate. Evolutionary biologists and ecologists need to probe life’s interplay with alien environments. Geophysicists, geochemists and planetary scientists need to describe how planets evolve over billions of years. And astronomers have to detect more remote biospheres, while astrobiologists help to tie the pieces together.”

Learn more about Scharf’s research and Columbia’s commitment to advancing understanding of the universe around us.


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