NZAN partners with academic institutions and research agencies to advance education, research, understanding, and awareness of Astrobiology and Human Space exploration and benefit to the community.
Astrobiology is the study of life’s potential in the universe and the origin, evolution and history of life on earth. It is an interdisciplinary subject that unites areas as diverse as astronomy, physics, chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, ecology, planetary science, geography and geology; and seeks to answer questions that most people and cultures have asked at some point, such as ‘what is life?’, ‘are we alone in the universe?’ and ‘what is the future of humankind?’ including the study of life origins be it through an approach involving the physical sciences or anthropological and cultural sciences; and contributes to the knowledge, skills and values of all people.
Our goals are
To assist New Zealand schools to develop curricula and other activities in order to motivate and inspire both teachers and students to learn about and engage with scientific advances in Astrobiology;
To facilitate public lectures, field trips and events lead by experts, teachers or students of Astrobiology or others involved in Astrobiology;
To foster partnerships with research agencies and institutions to develop a wider understanding of New Zealand’s capacity to contribute to Astrobiology research and education;
To create a hub for international researchers looking to pursue collaborations in Astrobiology science activities in New Zealand;
To provide educational and scientific research activities in Astrobiology within New Zealand;
To develop networks and virtual centres through which the scientific and cultural of Astrobiology within New Zealand and the life within it will be discussed and celebrated, including:
(i) the “New Zealand Astrobiology Network” or equivalent; and
(ii) the “Virtual Astrobiology Centre” or equivalent;
To facilitate opportunities for people to reconnect with their whakapapa, from recent human history to life’s origins, and reassess their relationship with the natural world by better understanding their place in the universe through modalities unique to New Zealand, including that of Maori and Pasifika peoples;
(h) develop operational protocols for Astrobiology exploration on Earth and, one day,
elsewhere, using the unique New Zealand landscape (including Antarctica and young
volcanic islands – all territories of New Zealand) as backdrop;
(i) promoting and assisting with the obtaining of funds for developing educational
materials, resources and research activities in Astrobiology; and
(j) undertaking any other activities, as determined by the Trustees, that align with the
above charitable purposes and involve, or are directly related to, Astrobiology.
How does life begin and evolve?
Does life exist elsewhere in the universe?
What is the future of life on Earth and beyond?
Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the Universe. It encompasses the origin, evolution and history of life on Earth and also studies the potential for extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology provides an interdisciplinary approach with innovative insight toward fundamental questions in science.
Astrobiology unites physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, molecular biology, ecology, planetary science, geography, and geology to study “anything and everything about life on Earth in order to understand how life might arise and survive elsewhere in the Universe”.
New Zealand is considered to be an excellent field site for astrobiological research. For example, there are unique extremophiles in the hot springs in Rotorua, Lake Taupo area and we can easily access the KT Boundary or the Dry Valleys in Antarctica. We are continually expanding our network of scientists throughout New Zealand with excellent credentials in interdisciplinary research that contribute to astrobiology. Skills in microbiology, ecology, biosecurity, physics, astronomy, radio astronomy and geology, only to count a few, represent an accessible yet rich knowledge base with local expertise.
New Zealand Astrobiology Network is a charitable trust established in 2016. The trust is dedicated to encouraging, assisting, and promoting astrobiology in New Zealand. We also help provide access to programs in astrobiology education and outreach around the world.
We hope you will join the astrobiology network in New Zealand and we look forward to hearing from you.
Executive Director of New Zealand Astrobiology Network