Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. This multidisciplinary field overlaps with Astronomy and Biology. It assumes water and carbon are the primary ingredients in life. Since it focuses on Life As We Know It, it may deal with Alien Amino Acids and Non-Green Photosynthesizers, but it doesn't explore most of the more exotic or controversial concepts, such as Hypothetical Types of Biochemistry.
It is also sometimes known as exobiology, exopaleontology, and bioastronomy.
- Anthropic Principle
- Carbon Chauvinism
- Drake Equation
- Goldilocks Planet
- Occam's Razor
Game and Story Use
- It would seem this is slightly more reputable and mainstream than xenobiology. Given that distinction, you could have two scientist characters in your setting, one a astrobiologist, the other a xenobiologist. The former thinks the later engages in impractical flights of fancy, the later thinks the former overlooks possibilities. That conflict could lead to a neat little bit of characterization not unlike Agent Scully and Agent Mulder.