This note is about astrobiology but by extension is also about the origin of life, the nature of life and the meaning of life on Earth.

Ethical Context: Life History

For the context, the overarching story about what it all means and how it all is can be important as an antidote to outdates stories such as religions, nationalisms, etc.

Swimme, Brian, and Thomas Berry. The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era—A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

On the overview of science the history of Earth/life also see

Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything. London: Doubleday, 2003.

Clarke, Bruce. Gaian Systems: Lynn Margulis, Neocybernetics, and the End of the Anthropocene. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020.



Kolb, Vera M., ed. Handbook of Astrobiology. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2019.


Davies, Paul. The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence. Boston: Mariner Books, 2011.

Dick, Steven J. Astrobiology, Discovery, and Societal Impact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Gale, Joseph. Astrobiology of Earth: The Emergence, Evolution, and Future of Life on a Planet in Turmoil. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Ghorbani, Ahmad. “The Universe: Inanimate Space or a Living Organism?” Extreme Life, Biospeology and Astrobiology; Cluj-Napoca 10, no. 1 (2018): 1–5.

Impey, Chris, Anna H. Spitz, and William R. Stoeger, eds. Encountering Life in the Universe: Ethical Foundations and Social Implications of Astrobiology. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2013.

Persson, Erik. “The Moral Status of Extraterrestrial Life.” Astrobiology 12, no. 10 (2012): 976–84.

Peters, Ted. “Ten Ethical Issues in Exploring Our Solar Ghetto.” Journal of Astrobiology & Outreach 4, no. 1 (2015): 1–8.

Sotos, John G. “Biotechnology and the Lifetime of Technical Civilizations.” International Journal of Astrobiology 18, no. 5 (October 2019): 445–54.

Vakoch, Douglas A., ed. Astrobiology, History, and Society: Life Beyond Earth and the Impact of Discovery. Berlin: Springer, 2013.

Ethics and Governance

Cockell, Charles S., ed. Human Governance Beyond Earth Implications for Freedom. Cham: Springer, 2015.

Cockell. “The Ethical Status of Microbial Life on Earth and Elsewhere: In Defence of Intrinsic Value.” In The Ethics of Space Exploration, edited by James S. J. Schwartz and Tony Milligan, 167–80. New York: Springer, 2016.