EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

From Astronomy to Chemistry: Towards a Continuous Path for the Origins of Life

Zoe Todd
Zoe Todd
  • University of Washington, Earth and Space Sciences, United States of America (

The origins of life on Earth have been a longstanding scientific puzzle, prompting scientists from Orgel to Sagan to grapple with the fundamental question of “how did we get here?” While a complete theory of the origin of life on Earth - with experimental support and no unresolved issues - has yet to be elucidated, certain pieces of the puzzle have seen recent progress. We need to have a cohesive model of the origins of life on Earth to better inform which exoplanets should be observational targets for upcoming telescopes and what tools will be necessary in future missions to deduce the presence or absence of life on a potentially habitable world. Fortunately, we have unprecedented access to the one planet where we know circumstances led one way or another to life’s origins: the Earth. While astronomers find exoplanets and planetary scientists explore the possibility for habitability in our Solar System, chemistry can play an invaluable role in facilitating the search for life beyond Earth. If we better understand the chemical reactions and pathways possibly leading to the origins of life on Earth, we can better inform and constrain the search for life in other planetary environments. By working towards a continuous and plausible pathway towards delineating the origins of life on Earth, we can place constraints on the astronomical, planetary, and chemical environments necessary for habitability. 

How to cite: Todd, Z.: From Astronomy to Chemistry: Towards a Continuous Path for the Origins of Life, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-6227,, 2022.