The origin of life is one of the most fundamental topics in astrobiology, and lies at the intersection of astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, and biology. Initially organic compounds form in the interstellar medium, and their interaction with radiation and surfaces – from grains of sand to growing planetesimals — facilitates the steady growth of complex molecules. In this way, they form chemical systems that can combine to create genetic material and metabolism. On our planet, the evolution of these protocellular materials gave rise to LUCA, the last universal common ancestor to all life, and from which all of Earth’s biodiversity is derived.

The 17th Astrobiology Summer School will connect the fundamental aspects of astrochemistry, prebiotic chemistry, and the origin of life. The students will attend lectures given by experts in these fields, will prepare and present a group project, and will participate in an excursion to a relevant geological site near Santander. The school is primarily aimed at graduate students in science or engineering, but is open to anyone interested in the origin of life and astrobiology.

The participation of students from ESA Member States, Canada and Slovenia can be funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). Furthermore, students enrolled in Universities from European Union (as well as from other countries belonging to the European Higher Education Area, EHEA, could also be directly funded by the UIMP (Universidad Internacional Menedez Pelayo). Interested students please contact J. Miguel Mas-Hesse ( for further details.