1. UK Centre for Astrobiology

    Website: www.astrobiology.ac.uk

    Charles Cockell, Chair
    UK Centre for Astrobiology
    School of Physics and Astronomy,
    James Clerk Maxwell Building,
    The King’s Buildings,
    University of Edinburgh,
    EH9 3JZ. UK

    UKCA Activities

    Dr. Charles Cockell Presentation to the NAI EC at AbSciCon, June 20, 2015

    Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life – MOOC
    A Coursera online course about the origin and evolution of life and the search for life beyond the Earth.

    Annual Summary 2013
    Annual Summary 2012

    About the UK Centre for Astrobiology

    The mission of the UK Centre for Astrobiology is to advance our understanding of molecules and life in extreme environments on the Earth and beyond. It does this with a combination of theoretical, laboratory, field and mission approaches. We apply this knowledge to improving the quality of life on Earth and developing space exploration as two mutually enhancing objectives.

    The UK Centre for Astrobiology is based at the University of Edinburgh. The Centre is affiliated to the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

    Our objectives are to:

    • Advance our understanding of how molecules and organisms adapt to extreme environments
    • Advance our understanding of the habitability of other worlds and the search for extraterrestrial life
    • Improve the translation of astrobiology technologies designed for the exploration of space to solving environmental and social challenges on the Earth
    • Advance public education in astrobiology

    The Centre has access to a very wide diversity of experimental apparatus including flow-through planetary simulation facilities, anaerobic microbiology and molecular biology laboratories and other capabilities. At Edinburgh, the Centre comprises researchers from disciplines across the University including Physics and Astronomy, Geosciences and Biological Sciences.

    A flagship facility of the UKCA is the Boulby International Subsurface Astrobiology Laboratory (BISAL), the first permanent deep subsurface astrobiology laboratory. Located at 1.2 km depth in Permian salt, the lab is being used to study life in deep subsurface environments. The lab is also being used as the focus of an analogue program in conjunction with NASA. Its purpose is to test technologies for the robotic and human exploration of other worlds and enhance technology for mineral exploitation and mining safety – MINAR (Mining and Analogue Research).