Astrobiology: The Road to Life in the Universe.
As we have learned more about the universe, we have naturally wondered whether there might be other forms of life out there. The ancient question, “Are we alone in the universe?” connects us to generations of humans before us. While in the past, this question was in the realm of philosophy or science fiction, today we have the means to seek an answer through scientific inquiry. In this chapter, we will consider how life began on Earth, whether the same processes could have led to life on other worlds, and how we might seek evidence of life elsewhere. This is the science of astrobiology.
The search for life on other planets is not the same as the search for intelligent life, which (if it exists) is surely much rarer. Learning more about the origin, evolution, and properties of life on Earth aids us in searching for evidence of all kinds of life beyond that on our planet.