NASA scientists have issued a call to the scientific community for a new framework that would provide context for findings related to the search for life. The paper, “Call for a framework for reporting evidence for life beyond Earth,” was published in the journal Nature and offers an example of a scale for how to gauge scientific findings. The sample scale is meant as a starting point for discussion and draws on decades of experience in the field of astrobiology. The authors envision a Confidence of Life Detection (CoLD) scale that would guide not only scientists, but also journalists who communicate science results to the public.

Click here for a publicly available version of the paper.

The paper and the call to action also feature in a recent post from Many Worlds.

In response to the publication, the NASA Astrobiology Program-funded Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) and the Network for Life Detection (NfoLD) held a community workshop in July 2021 to discuss Biosignature Standards of Evidence. A draft white paper report summarizes the major findings of the workshop and has now been made available for community comment. For more information, visit: https://www.nfold.org/soe-endorsements

References:
Green, J. et al. (2021) “Call for a framework for reporting evidence for life beyond Earth,” Nature. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03804-9



The Many Worlds Blog chronicles the search for evidence of life beyond Earth written by author/journalist Marc Kaufman. The “Many Worlds” column is supported by the Lunar Planetary Institute/USRA and informed by NASA’s NExSS initiative, a research coordination network supported by the NASA Astrobiology Program. Any opinions expressed are the author’s alone.