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AstrobiologyOU is a multidisciplinary research group that address the scientific, governance and ethical challenges faced by astrobiology-related exploration missions, whilst investigating the feasibility of life existing elsewhere in the Solar System.

Our research focuses on:

  • Understanding how life exists in extreme environments
  • Investigating the survivability of microorganisms and biomarkers in real and simulated extraterrestrial conditions
  • Characterising potentially habitable environments elsewhere in the Solar System
  • Identifying chemical and geochemical signatures that could be used to identify or negate the presence of life
  • Addressing planetary protection issues associated with astrobiology missions
  • Addressing the ethical and governance challenges associated with astrobiology
  • Educating and engaging with the public in the UK and in Official Development Assistant countries.

The team crosses the traditional academic disciplines and brings together expertise in science, technology, governance, international development and education.

Our research benefits from an extensive suite of laboratories here on campus, housing advanced analytical instrumentation, simulation and experimental facilities. We are involved in international astrobiology related activities for example the NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) the ESA ExoMars programme and the ESA Expose missions. In addition we are an affiliated member of the European Astrobiology Institute.

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