Welcome to AstrobiologyOU.

We are an enthusiastic and friendly group of over 50 staff and students who are working together to understand how, and where, life might be found and to address the scientific, governance and ethical challenges faced by astrobiology-related exploration missions. 

With an increasing number of life-detection and habitability missions, astrobiology is at the core of nations’ space strategies. Our group members are involved in key astrobiology-related missions and in developing planetary protection regulations. 

AstrobiologyOU has grown from four colleagues with an incredible vision to a multi-disciplinary research group, across four schools and three faculties, working in three of the Open University’s Strategic Research Areas.

We are committed to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion. We offer exciting programmes in Outreach and Public Engagement with research. We also develop commercial and social enterprises as a means of maximising the impact of our academic and research activities.

Latest News

PhD Opportunities Open for Applications *CLOSED*

These PhD opportunities are now closed: 

13th November 2023

Intern Opportunity at ESTEC

There is a new exciting opportunity for an intern with the European Space Agency at ESTEC working on contamination aspects and their impacts Moon’s missions

10th November 2023
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Latest Blog entries

Plumes, PhDs and Planetary Simulations

This is the story about how saying yes to opportunities can lead to the highlight of your career so far, and even a chapter in my future thesis (yes, really!)

I'm Jessie, a first year PhD student who joined the OU in October - and what a wild few months it has been. My project has already shape-shifted since reading, writing, and experimenting, which is to be expected - but nothing I've done in my PhD so far has come close to the week I spent at Aarhus University using their colossal wind tunnel to form part of my Enceladus plume research.

21st May 2024

A Summer Placement with AstrobiologyOU

My interest for the area of astrobiology stems from the study of microbiology as an undergraduate student in biological sciences. Our microbiology courses are co-lectured by different UCL faculties, and the lectures delivered by Joanne Satini based on her research of arsenic metabolism has drawn my interest into the field of extremophilic microbiology. She introduced not only resistance to arsenic contamination, but also the intriguing ability of incorporating arsenate into genetic material as analogue of phosphate, as well as arsenite oxidisers from hypersaline environments.

12th January 2024
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