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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 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.

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Last Updated: 12 Sep 2014