2002 Annual Science Report

NASA Ames Research Center Reporting  |  JUL 2001 – JUN 2002

Executive Summary

Piecing together the history of life — its origins, evolution, and continuation — is a function of identifying and gaining insight into the processes and conditions, cosmic and terrestrial, that support organic systems. It means, for example, learning, through observation, experimentation, and computer modeling, how carbon compounds evolved, how biologically significant molecules formed, how primitive cells developed, how bacteria arose and flourished, how proteins evolved, and how Earth-based life forms are affected by environmental changes and how adaptable and survivable they might be if subjected to the more rigorous environments of space.

The Ames team addresses a wide range of disciplines that focus on the context for life, the origin and early evolution of life, and the future of life.

Context for Life. The chemistry and the environments conducive to life’s origin are investigated. The cosmic evolution of carbon compounds is traced, spectroscopically and chemically ... Continue reading.

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