Life’s Origins and the Search for Life on Rocky Exoplanets

The study of the origin(s) of life on Earth and the search for life on other planets are closely linked. Prebiotic chemical scenarios can help prioritize target planets for the search for life (as we know it) and can provide informative prior probabilities to help us assess the likelihood that particular spectroscopic features are evidence of life. The prerequisites for origins scenarios themselves predict characteristic spectral signatures. The interplay between origins research and the search for extraterrestrial life starts with laboratory work to guide exploration within our own Solar System, which will then inform future exoplanet observations and laboratory research. Exoplanet research will, in turn, provide statistical context to conclusions about the nature and origins of life.

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