Sarah Kendrew, one of the participants in this discussion, has now posted a thoughtful follow-up on her One Small Step blog: Astrobiology-where's-the-bacon?. She points to good work on identifying planets that could support Earth-like life, and discusses the need for more collaboration between astronomers and biologists.
|Enceladus photo from NASA|
In addition to the above discussion, Jill and other participants were able to provide some history of NASA's Astrobiology program. I and others had wondered if this was initiated mainly as a public relations exercise, but it was a real grass-roots initiative by NASA scientists.