The Network for Life Detection (NfoLD) is a NASA Astrobiology Research Coordination Network dedicated to advancing the science and technology required to pursue a search for evidence of life beyond Earth. A research coordination network is a virtual structure to support groups of investigators to communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, divisional, and geographic boundaries.
The diverse expertise needed to develop and implement strategies to search for evidence of life beyond Earth is distributed across multiple science and technology disciplines, some of which are not primarily focused on astrobiology questions. Our goal is to promote communication, coordination, and synergy among researchers in the fields relevant to life detection. In so doing, we aim to build a cohesive life detection community whose research and expertise becomes integral to all stages of astrobiology-themed solar system and exoplanet mission activity, from inception to operations.
NfoLD is open to any individual, group, or organization engaged in life detection-themed research and technology development. International participation is encouraged and sought. We ask only that members contribute in an engaged and positive fashion to the activities of the network. NfoLD activities are overseen by three co-leads, a NASA Astrobiology Program representative, and a Steering Committee comprised of the principal investigators of life detection-related NASA ROSES awards. Research team members on those awards automatically become NfoLD members. NfoLD is open to the broader research community via the Affiliate Member program.
Advance Life Detection Strategy and Capability: Identify priorities for, and carry out, research and technology development that informs strategies and enhances capabilities for detecting evidence of life beyond Earth.
Catalyze Collaboration: Identify research and technology objectives that may be best or only achieved through interdisciplinary collaborations; create an environment and develop activities that promote and enable new collaborations.
Support NASA Programs and Missions: In keeping with the recommendations of the 2018 National Academies report on Astrobiology Strategy, improve the integration of life detection science and technology into all stages of planetary and astrophysical missions, from Decadal Survey and program planning to mission science definition, implementation, and interpretation.
Foster Community Development: Increase scientific and demographic diversity in the life detection community, engage international participation, and facilitate the involvement of students and early career researchers in all aspects of NfoLD activities.
NfoLD members’ research activities span a diverse spectrum of life detection-themed science and technology development. An important objective of the network is to promote synergy among these individual research efforts, through enhanced communication and sharing of ideas and resources. Learn more about our members and their research here.
GROUPS AND ACTIVITIES
Activities and initiatives that contribute to the core NfoLD goals will be developed and pursued by dedicated Action Groups, each of which targets a specific goal. Example group activities include organizing virtual and in-person workshops, development of white papers, resource sharing initiatives, and development of community standards for life detection. Members can affiliate with and contribute to any Action Group. Learn more about the Action Groups, including how to join, here.
RULES OF THE ROAD
NfoLD is built upon the principles of open communication and the free flow of information and ideas among members of the network. To ensure the integrity of this exchange, NfoLD members and activities are governed by Rules of the Road. Members are asked to become familiar with and adhere to these guidelines.