Skip to Main Content
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Space Studies Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
Board Members
Board Meetings
Discipline Committees
Decadal Surveys
Current Projects
Completed Projects
Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Internships

Contact Us

Space Studies Board
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC
Phone: (202) 334-3477
Fax: (202) 334-3701

Bookmark and Share 

  Follow us on Twitter 

Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe

Announcement:  This report was released October 10, 2018. Watch the Webcast Here 



Statement of Task

In preparation for and as an input to the upcoming decadal surveys in astronomy and astrophysics and planetary science, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will appoint an ad hoc committee to carry out a study of the state of the science of astrobiology as it relates to the search for life in the solar system and extrasolar planetary systems. The study will have the following objectives:

  • Take account of and build on NASA’s current Astrobiology Strategy 2015;
  • Outline key scientific questions and technology challenges in astrobiology, particularly as they pertain to the search for life in the solar system and extrasolar planetary systems;
  • Identify the most promising key research goals in the field of the search for signs of life in which progress is likely in the next 20 years;
  • Discuss which of the key goals could be addressed by U.S. and international space missions and ground telescopes in operation or in development;
  • Discuss how to expand partnerships (interagency, international and public/private) in furthering the study of life's origin, evolution, distribution, and future in the universe;
  • Make recommendations for advancing the research, obtaining the measurements, and realizing NASA’s goal to search for signs of life in the universe

In the course of conducting this study, the committee will consider and regularly consult with the concurrent study “Exoplanet Science Strategy,” in the area of assessing habitability, searching for signs of life, and other relevant areas of scientific overlap. Also the committee will not revisit or redefine the scientific priorities or mission recommendations from previous decadal surveys. 

View more information on our current projects system

Meeting Dates


January 16-18, 2018
Irvine, CA
View Agenda I View Presentations

March 6-8, 2018
Washington, DC
View Agenda I View Presentations


April 25-27, 2018
Washington, DC
View Agenda I View Presentations

PDF of Agenda


Community Input


White Paper Request


Submissions for Community White Papers are being accepted November 7, 2017 thru January 8, 2018. All responses are made available to the committee. The submitted white papers are posted and available for public viewing below.


View this linked pdf with the full text description and instructions for white papers.


View the submitted white papers

The website which houses the white papers is being upgraded and is not available. In the meantime the link above will take you to a PDF will all of the white papers in one document. We are working to bring it back online as soon as we can. Our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Questions about the project or white paper submissions may be directed to the project staff at:

Committee Members

View Bios

Barbara Sherwood Lollar
University of Toronto

Sushil K. Atreya
University of Michigan

Alan P. Boss
Carnegie Institution

Paul G. Falkowski 
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Jack D.Farmer 
Arizona State University

Olivier Guyon
The University of Arizona

Gerald F. Joyce 
Salk Institute for Biological Studies

James F. Kasting
The Pennsylvania State University

Victoria S. Meadows
University of Washington

Philip M. Neches 
Teradata Corporation

Carl B. Pilcher 
Blue Marble Space Institute of Science

Nilton O. Rennó
University of Michigan

Karyn Rogers
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Britney E. Schmidt 
Georgia Institute of Technology

Roger E. Summons 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Frances Westall 
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Shelley A Wright
University of California, San Diego



David Smith
Senior Program Officer

Sarah Brothers
Associate Program Officer

Anesia Wilks
Program Coordinator


Below is an archive list of names and a link to the slides presented at the committee meeting during open session. We have only included the slides for which the presenter has given consent to post.

Presenter names and slides are listed in the order of the agenda. Presentations which have been made available for posting will be added after the meeting is complete.

January  16-18, 2018

Mary Voytek

Michael New-pending permission

Douglas Hudgins-pending permission

Tori Hoehler-slides not available

Natalie Batalha-slides not available

Elizabeth Tasker

Bethany Ehlmann

Jonathan Lunine

Kevin Hand

Steven Desch

David Charbonneau

Andrew Steele-pending permission

Sarah Johnson

Jill Tarter

Hilairy Hartnett


March 6-8, 2018

Sara Walker-slides not available

Lisa Pratt-no slides

Nathalie Cabrol

Jochen Brocks-slides not available

Jorge Vago-no slides

Alycia Weinberger

Noam Izenberg

Stephanie Getty

Jennifer Eigenbrode-slides not available


April 26, 2018
Christopher Carr

* No slides indicate that the presenter did not utilize slides during their presentation.

* Permission pending indicates that the presenter has not given us consent to publish the slides they presented at the meeting.

*Written materials submitted to a study committee by external sources are listed in the project's public access file and can be made available to the public upon request via the Academies Public Access Records Office.