Purpose and Scope

The Astrobiology Science Conference 2015 (AbSciCon 2015) is the next in a series of conferences organized by the astrobiology community. The conference will convene scientists from all over the world who work in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology — the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe — to report on research findings and plan future endeavors.

The theme for AbSciCon 2015 is “Habitability, Habitable Worlds, and Life.” The conference will address, among other topics:

  • How to Build a Habitable Planet
  • The Origins and Subsequent Evolution of Life
  • Sustained Habitability on a Dynamic Early Earth
  • Habitable Worlds in Our Solar System
  • Habitability of Exoplanets
  • Identifying and Characterizing Habitable Environments and Habitation
  • Habitability of Learning:  Astrobiology Education and Public Outreach  

Research in the field of astrobiology over the past decade has focused increasingly on the link between the “astro” and the “bio” in astrobiology. Some of the questions astrobiologists are trying to answer today include:

  • What makes a planet habitable?
  • What are the limits of life?
  • Why is Earth habitable? 
  • How and when did Earth become habitable?
  • How and why has the habitability of Earth changed over time?
  • What are the relationships among sustained habitability, the co-evolution of the Earth’s bio- and geospheres, and external drivers?
  • What processes have driven increases in biocomplexity on Earth?
  • Are, or were, any other bodies in our solar system habitable?
  • What types of stars are most likely to have habitable planets? Are there examples of those planets?
  • How do astrobiologists plan to look for life beyond Earth? How might records of the early Earth and modern analogs inform that search?

AbSciCon2015 will provide a forum for reporting on new discoveries, sharing data and insights, advancing collaborative efforts and initiating new ones, planning new projects, and educating the next generation of astrobiologists.

The conference will feature plenary sessions on current and thought-provoking topics, topical sessions, evening programs, and public and educational events. The conference venue on Chicago’s waterfront near the Museum Campus will provide exciting opportunities for synergy between the conference and the rich cultural and educational resources of the city.