Habitability as a Tool in Astrobiological Exploration

Jack D. Farmer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


While “follow the water” has been an extraordinarily effective strategy in the search for habitable environments in the solar system, astrobiologists will require a more refined approach to exploration during the next phase of exploration when we will begin to target specific habitable sites for deploying a new generation of in situ life detection experiments. Identifying the best sites for in situ experiments or for selecting samples for return to Earth will likely require a more refined knowledge of past and/or present aqueous environments, with an ability to detect HZs at the microscale. Success in detecting extraterrestrial life may require a spatially integrated sampling strategy that includes the ability to measure multiple microenvironmental factors at each study site. Such microscale, multidimensional approaches have been employed in the past by microbial ecologists to refine and quantify biological concepts like the niche. Such approaches may prove useful in more effectively conveying the concept of habitability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFrom Habitability to Life on Mars
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780128099353
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Astrobiology
  • Extremophiles
  • Habitability
  • Solar system exploration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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