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SPACE: We Should Study (And Maybe Seed) Dead Worlds

Europa - Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The search for life in the universe tends to focus on habitable environments. But to answer questions about how life emerged and spread, as well as the limits of habitability, researchers may want to consider looking at dead worlds — and perhaps even (very carefully) seeding them with life. “The biological study of lifelessness seems counterintuitive, because biology is the study of life,” said astrobiologist Charles Cockell of the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. But in a paper set to be published in April in the journal Astrobiology, Cockell makes the case that focusing entirely on living worlds leaves … Read more