Astrobiology is at once one of the newest of scientific meta-disciplines, while at the same time encompassing some of our oldest and most profound questions. Beyond strictly utilitarian concerns, such as “what is for dinner?” and leaving offspring, asking the three great questions of astrobiology seems to be embedded in what it means to be human. While these questions are ancient questions, we now have the technological tools to grapple with them at a whole new scientific level. During recent centuries the Copernican and Darwinian Revolutions laid the way for Astrobiology. In the late 20th century such discoveries as life in extreme environments on earth, of extra-solar planets, and technological breakthroughs not the least of which was the extraordinary explosion of space exploration, resulted in the crystallization of Astrobiology as a scientific meta-discipline.
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