Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Marine Sciences
De Vera, J.-P.P.
Other Affiliation: German Aerospace Center
The question of whether Earth is a unique location for life remains one of the most enduring questions of our time. Geochemical data suggests that habitable environments may exist, or may have existed, elsewhere in the Solar System with promising targets including Mars and icy bodies where liquid water is believed to exist (Kargel, 2000; Grotzinger et al., 2014; Glein et al., 2015). Furthermore, potential habitable Exoplanets have been discovered where potentially there is sufficient atmospheric pressure to maintain liquid water (Jenkins et al., 2015; Gillon et al., 2017; Orosei et al., 2018). Yet, for life to exist it is not solely dependent on liquid water as it also needs bio-essential elements, an energy source, and the environmental conditions, that are conducive to life (Nixon et al., 2013). To investigate the feasibility of life elsewhere in the Solar System a combination of field and laboratory based studies, in-situ space experiments, and theoretical modeling is required. Here, we present 14 original research papers, one mini review, and two hypothesis and theory papers highlighting the novel and diverse methods that are employed to investigate potential life beyond the Earth. The overall focus of this collection of work is to understand if terrestrial life could exist elsewhere in the Solar System, and if so, what evidence (bio-signatures) could be used to support or negate the hypothesis of life.