AstrobiologyFuture.org: Forum Apertum Sit

Over the next 10 years, what research done on bodies within our Solar System (measurements and theory) will be most important for informing our search for life beyond the Earth?

This is the current topic posed as the Single Question on the Future of Astrobiology at the ongoing NASA Astrobiology Institute Roadmap online exercise.

If you want to opine, The Forum is Open

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I'm highly interested in this entire area and even given to speculations on the long-term outcomes (e.g. simple multicellular life on at least one Jovian moon), but I'll also admit that I'm drawing a blank when it comes to specific answers to that question.

As a generalization, we should have a much larger budget for space exploration, both robotic and live, and we should be proceeding post-haste toward a live mission to Mars. At the same time, robotic missions to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, to collect and analyze samples.

As for where the money's going to come from: the same place the money came from to go to Iraq and bail out Wall Street, wherever that was. The idea that we have all the money needed for those types of activities, but only a relative pittance for pure science including space exploration, is pernicious and backward. We can do better than that.

As for practical details of specific missions over the next decade, I'll just support whatever specifics the working scientists in the relevant fields come up with. That's a civic duty for all interested laypeople.