National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content
YSS Logo
YSS Logo
YSS Logo
NASA Banner
Return to Solar System Exploration
TOPICS
  Overview News Classrooms Organizations & Clubs
   Educational Resources   Background   Featured Missions   Solar System Explorers 

Astrobiology -- Are We Alone in the Universe?: Got Life?
Featured Missions


Even those missions that are not searching for the conditions favorable for life and the ingredients of life in our solar system are contributing to our understanding of how planets form and evolve -- a critical part of the story of the formation of life. Here are a select group of missions currently investigating the conditions for life and searching for the presence of life.

Mars Science Laboratory

This mission landed inside of Gale crater on Mars on August 6, 2012. Curiosity is investigating whether the region has ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life, and will examine any complex organic molecules it finds.

Cassini Solstice mission

Cassini discovered an icy plume with complex organic chemicals shooting from Saturn's moon, Enceladus. With heat, organic chemicals and, potentially liquid water, Enceladus could be a place where primitive life forms might evolve. Questions surrounding Enceladus's "astrobiological potential" are at the heart of many investigations being conducted in the Solstice Mission.

Kepler

Kepler is searching for terrestrial planets (i.e., those one half to twice the size of the Earth), especially those in the habitable zone of their stars where liquid water and possibly life might exist.

Spitzer Space Telescope

Spitzer examines the infrared Universe to observe a variety of wonders, including organic molecules that may hold the secret to life on planets.

Hubble Space Telescope

This Earth-orbiting telescope known for its incredible images and data of distant stars and galaxies is also measuring the atmospheres of newly discovered worlds and detecting many of the ingredients for life.

All Topics
Back to YSS Home
Featured YSS Resource: Eyes on the Solar System - Explore our galactic neighborhood in 3D! Featured YSS Resource: Space 365 app � see what NASA events happened each day of the year. Featured YSS Resource: 50 years of Solar System Exploration
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 12 Sep 2014