Astrobiology Research Page

Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe. This includes life here on Earth, the possibility of Earth-originating life colonizing space, and the possibility of life originating elsewhere. While much of astrobiology is at the intersections of astronomy, biology, chemistry, and geology, it is a very diverse field, with contributions from natural and social sciences, engineering, and the humanities. For more about astrobiology, see the NASA Astrobiology site.

Together with Blue Marble Space Institute of Science and in particular my frequent co-author Jacob Haqq-Misra, I have an ongoing project on connections between astrobiology and contemporary societal issues. The project aims to encourage "very big picture" thinking for the decisions we face today and to help us understand how we fit into the grander scheme of things. The project involves original academic research, teaching, and public scholarship.

My academic publications on astrobiology include: "The ethics of outer space: A consequentialist perspective", "Isolated refuges for surviving global catastrophes", "The great downside dilemma for risky emerging technologies", "The benefits and harm of transmitting into space", "Teaching astrobiology in a sustainability course", "The benefits and harms of transmitting into space", "Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis", "Is humanity doomed? Insights from astrobiology", "Universalist ethics in extraterrestrial encounter", a review of the film "District 9", "Cost-benefit analysis of space exploration: Some ethical considerations", and "The 'Sustainability Solution' to the Fermi Paradox".

Created 8 Mar 2010 * Updated 20 Jun 2016