For the past 20 years, one of the major roles of the NASA Astrobiology Program at NASA Headquarters was to support and catalyze collaborative interdisciplinary research in astrobiology across a range of science disciplines and organizations. The primary program element supporting this goal was the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), established as a Virtual Institute (VI). The Astrobiology Research Coordination Networks now play this role. In addition, the Astrobiology Program hosts and sponsors workshops (e.g., building on the success of Mass Independent Fractionation of Sulfur Isotopes, Upstairs Downstairs, Exoplanet Biosignatures, Exoplanetary Space Weather), provides funding to relevant community meetings, and organizes the community to update the Astrobiology Strategy as needed. The Astrobiology Program will continue coordinating research investments with federal funding partners (e.g. NSF, NOAA, DOE) and the private foundations (e.g. Simons, Templeton, Kavli). A successful example is the NASA and NSF co-sponsored interdisciplinary Ideas Lab that brought together scientists interested in the origin of life. The aim of this Ideas Lab was to facilitate the generation and execution of innovative research projects aimed at identifying and funding potentially transformative research to addressing the origin and early evolution of the modern, two-polymer life system.

Astrobiology FAQ