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Habitats beyond Earth

18 - 20 October 2021
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Event type:
Conference, Virtual event
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, 2021 Year of Space
Virtual event
Event status:

After much consideration, the decision has been taken to postpone the upcoming ASB Virtual Conference ‘Habitats Beyond Earth’ (18-20th Oct). We know this is disappointing for those planning to attend or present, but following significant input from the community we felt that the astrobiology community will be better served by an in-person hybrid conference. We will host this conference in St Andrews in the summer of 2022 (date TBD), and very much look forward to seeing many of you there, in what will hopefully be more normal times. The associated public event, featuring a panel discussion of translated non-English language SciFi literature will still be happening, and details can be found on the GeolSoc website. Your registration fee will of course be fully refunded to you.

With kind regards, the ASB 2021 Organising Committee

Astrobiology Society of Britain virtual conference “Habitats beyond Earth” will bring members of the geology, astrobiology & geobiology, astrochemistry & geochemistry, planetary atmospheres, physics, astronomy, remote-sensing, and exoplanet science communities together to explore the environmental factors necessary for supporting life on early Earth and on other planets.

We aim to encourage discussion and collaboration between attendees from different disciplines, therefore, the conference has three main themes:

Theme 1: How to discover (and characterise) candidate planets or moons

Space and ground-based instruments allow scientists to probe the atmospheres and surfaces of potentially habitable exoplanets and document their properties. This theme will invite discussion of exoplanetary observation techniques, our current understanding of exoplanetary biosignatures, how exoplanets are classified in terms of their habitability, and more. Involves the disciplines of cosmochemistry, astronomy, astrophysics, exoplanetary science.

Theme 2: How to build a habitable environment

Understanding Earth’s biosphere is key in the search for life elsewhere. This theme will explore the combination of factors that allowed life to develop on early Earth and if similar conditions or processes could take place on other planetary bodies. It will cover experimental techniques, analogue studies, meteoritics, and more. Involves the disciplines of astrochemistry & geochemistry, geology, astrobiology & geobiology.

Theme 3: Current missions and the search for life

This theme will encourage discussion of current and future surface exploration missions to planetary bodies. We invite new results from active Mars missions (NASA MSL, Insight) and discussion of instruments and mission preparatory studies (NASA Mars2020, ESA ExoMars 2022, NASA Dragonfly, NASA + ESA Mars sample return). Involves the fields of geology, remote-sensing, planetary science, astrobiology & geobiology, astrochemistry & geochemistry, engineering.

Public Events

An “Astrobiology in Literature” panel discussion will be hosted by The St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Science (StACES). 

Habitats beyond Earth will also run a virtual astrobiology fieldtrip to the Pilbara, Western Australia.

Keynote Speakers

Jen Eigenbrode

Sophie Nixon

Didier Queloz


Registration for this conference will open 9.00 BST on 3 May 2021 and closes 5.00 BST on 17 October 2021.

General admission: £10, includes 1 years’ membership* to the Astrobiology Society of Britain. *Subject to approval by the membership committee

Abstract Submission

We invite oral and poster abstract submissions for this meeting from UK and international attendees. Abstract submission opens 9.00 BST 3 May 2021 and closes 17.00 BST 3 September 2021. Abstracts should contain a maximum of 400 words, please fill out this form.

Please indicate at abstract submission if you would like to be considered for the Early Career Researcher Keynote Prize. The winning entry will be awarded a keynote talk at the conference. You are eligible to apply for this prize if you do not yet hold a full-time, permanent academic post.

If you are not certain your research area fits within the conference themes, please email the convenor contact who will be happy to advise you.


This conference will be virtual.


Please contact [email protected] with any enquiries.

Local Organising Committee
Claire Cousins (Chair, [email protected])
Elyse Allender
Emily Finer

Oliver Herbort

Arola Moreras Marti
Eva Stueken
Thomas Wilson

Register now

Registration rates

£ 10.00

Geolsoc Contact

Conference Office

The Geological Society
Burlington House