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Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research

Astrbiology Science and Technology for Instrument Development (ASTID)

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Astrbiology Science and Technology for Instrument Development (ASTID)

The Astrobiology Science and Technology for Instrument Development (ASTID) develops instrumentation capabilities to help meet Astrobiology science requirements on future space flight missions, as well as unique Astrobiology science objectives on Earth.

Activities advance the development of scientific instruments or instrument components to the point where the instruments could credibly be proposed in response to future flight opportunity announcements, including instruments that could be accommodated on or in small satellites (under 50kg total spacecraft mass), or as small payloads in support of future science activities associated with missions of human exploration (proposals to build and fly hardware on a specific mission opportunity are not a part of this program element and the development of instruments for use in future field campaigns is under ASTEP). The scientific goals and objectives of NASA's Astrobiology program are described in the Astrobiology Roadmap that is available on the Astrobiology web site at http://astrobiology.arc.nasa.gov/roadmap. Instrumentation and astrobiology mission concepts developed from research supported through this ASTID program element are meant to address two fundamental questions in Astrobiology, namely, "How does life begin and evolve?" and "Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe?" Objectives that could be addressed by new spacecraft instrumentation and astrobiology small payload missions include, for example: • To determine whether the atmosphere of the early Earth, hydrothermal systems, or exogenous matter were significant sources of organic matter; • To search for evidence of ancient climates, extinct life, and potential habitats for extant life on Mars; • To determine the presence of chemical precursors and potential habitats for life in the outer Solar System; and • To determine if compounds of biological significance are present beyond our Solar System.

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