1. The History and Philosophy of Astrobiology

    Human beings have wondered about the stars above them since the dawn of our species. Is there life out there? Are we alone? The question of life in the universe can be traced back to antiquity, to philosophers and authors like Aristotle, Epicurus of Samos, and Lucian of Samosata. Since then, the astrobiological question has fascinated scientists and philosophers and has been discussed by religious thinkers and utopian authors. Increasingly, the question has gone from something we do not have any answer to, something we can only imagine, to something that we can actually study.

    Thus begins the introductory article in a new special collection on the history and philosophy of astrobiology that appears in a recent issue of Astrobiology. Guest editors David Dunér, Erik Persson, and Gustav Holmberg have curated an interesting array of articles, covering topics from the history of exoplanet detection to Darwin’s contribution to the development of the panspermia theory to the moral status of extraterrestrial life.