Where do we go from here? Astrobiology editorial board opinions

Abstract : The James Webb Space Telescope is slated for launch in 2018. Working primarily in the infrared, the James Webb will search for the first bright objects of the early Universe, examine how galaxies evolve, study the birth and development of stars, and investigate the physical properties of star systems as they relate to the building blocks of life. An international collaboration between NASA, ESA, and CSA, the James Webb Space Telescope along with upcoming missions such as ESA’s Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) and NASA’s OSIRISRex asteroid sample-return mission will offer investigators data and perhaps some answers as to how the Universe began, how it evolved, and how life occurred on Earth or elsewhere. By the mid-21st century, the James Webb Space Telescope will have reached its working lifetime. Innumerable astrobiologically driven space missions will have been flown and completed, and the exact mechanisms that contribute to the origin of life as we know it will likely not be fully understood. But that isn’t to say we will have learned little between now and then. To the contrary, given the groundwork already in place—our investigations into the chemistry of life, the evolution of the Solar System and the planets, the occurrence of exosolar systems and exoplanets—research efforts yet to be realized, whether by way of the James Webb or other missions of merit, will surely move the discipline of astrobiology ever closer to understanding how something as enigmatic as life has come into its own over the course of some 14 billion years. In an effort to learn more about what working astrobiologists believe are the most pressing issues in the search for, and understanding of, life in the Universe, we asked members of our editorial board six questions that strike at the heart of where, as astrobiologists, we go from here. In the responses below, I think you will find that those who are at the forefront of astrobiology not only have a firm understanding of where we’ve been and where we are now but also where, in this Universe, we carry on in the search for life.
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Submitted on : Monday, July 20, 2015 - 10:58:21 AM
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Lawrence P. Cady, André Brack, Jorge E. Bueno Prieto, Charles Cockell, Gerda Horneck, et al.. Where do we go from here? Astrobiology editorial board opinions. Astrobiology, Mary Ann Liebert, 2014, 14 (8), pp.629-644. ⟨10.1089/ast.2014.1405⟩. ⟨hal-01178472⟩

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