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Welcome to AstrobiologyOU.

We are an enthusiastic and friendly group of over 50 staff and students who are working together to understand how, and where, life might be found and to address the scientific and ethical challenges faced by astrobiology-related exploration missions. 

With an increasing number of life-detection and habitability missions, astrobiology is at the core of nations’ space strategies. Our group members are involved in key astrobiology-related missions and in developing planetary protection regulations. 

AstrobiologyOU has grown from four colleagues with an incredible vision to a multi-disciplinary research group, across four schools and three faculties, working in three of the Open University’s Strategic Research Areas.

We are committed to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion. We offer exciting programmes in Outreach and Public Engagement with research. We also develop commercial and social enterprises as a means of maximising the impact of our academic and research activities.

About AstrobiologyOU
AstrobiologyOU Research
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AstrobiologyOU External Engagement

Latest News

Could impact craters on Mars support life?

Impacts can have a devastating effect on solid bodies like Earth and Mars, forming huge craters and, in the case of Earth, destroying life. However, impacts have played key role in the formation of terrestrial bodies (Chambers, 2004; Montmerle et al., 2006), the evolution of planetary atmospheres (Benlow and Meadows, 1977; Owen et al., 1992) and may have even had part to play in the development of life on Earth (Osinski et al., 2020). In the case of Mars, impacts may have also created environments capable of supporting potential microbial life (Farmer, 2000).

26th August 2021

Congratulations to Grace!

We are thrilled to announce that our Microbiology Technician Apprentice Grace has passed her apprenticeship with a distinction.

Grace’s apprenticeship involved working in the labs doing regular tasks such as calibrating the pH meters, keeping the autoclaves and water baths clean etc.

Whilst COVID was happening she checked we had the chemicals people needed so they didn’t have to come onsite, and she instigated a process whereby she (helped by the wider team) ensured that everyone had a clean lab coat every week on their peg.

12th August 2021
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Latest Blog posts

Astrobiology summer school: becoming a team online

In October 2020 I started my PhD with AstrobiologyOU at the Open University. Like many others starting PhDs during this time, I have been faced with the somewhat isolated world of working as a researcher from home.  As someone who loves any opportunity to meet people with similar interests to me, the weeklong AstrobiologyOU and STFC summer school sounded like the perfect chance to get to know people in my field. However, I wasn’t fully convinced by the concept of an online workshop.

8th March 2021

Diary of a Mars operations day

It’s the 8th of February, and I wake up at the usual time in the morning, snow has fallen over night, there are reports of disruptions from further north, but here in Milton Keynes it all just looks like a little bit of powdered sugar decorating the world out there – and covering the first tips of the snowdrops that were brave enough to come above ground a few days ago. But before I can get too romantic about it all, I better start thinking about my workday. 

10th February 2021
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