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Search for Alien Life Should Be a Fundamental Part of NASA, New Report Urges

Whereas astronomers once knew of no planets outside our solar system, today they have thousands of examples. And although organisms were previously thought to need the relatively mild surface conditions of our world to survive, new findings about life’s ability to persist in the face of extreme darkness, heat, salinity, and cold have expanded researchers’ acceptance that it might be found anywhere from Martian deserts to the ice-covered oceans of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Highlighting astrobiology’s increasing maturity and clout, a new Congressionally mandated report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) urges NASA to make the search for life on other worlds an integral, central part of its exploration efforts.

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