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Exobiology, also known as astrobiology and bioastronomy, is the study of the potential for life beyond Earth and the active search for it. Nobel geneticist Joshua Lederberg coined the term exobiology in 1960, and the field grew significantly with space exploration, especially the Viking landers on Mars. Exobiology draws largely from four disciplines: planetary science, planetary systems science, origins of life studies, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). The field has been invigorated by claims of fossil life in an ancient Mars rock, the discovery of a possible ocean on the Jovian moon Europa, extrasolar planets around sun-like stars, life in extreme environments on Earth, and complex organic molecules in interstellar molecular clouds. Life itself, however, has not yet been found beyond Earth.

See also Extraterrestrial Life

steven j. dick

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exobiology Search for life on other planets. Exobiology is concerned with attempts to detect environmental conditions and possible biochemical and evolutionary pathways to life beyond Earth. Examples include the probes sent in 2003 by NASA and the European Space Agency to detect evidence of water on Mars

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exobiology The biology of outer space: a study currently limited to the seeking of evidence for the existence of life beyond the Earth, and speculation on the possible alternative forms of such life.