Santa Clara, California, April 1417, 2008
The 5th Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon08), hosted by the SETI Institute, brings together a community of scholars, students, and educators that is as vigorous and intellectually diverse as ever. These qualities are reflected in the content of this volume, which includes 647 abstracts involving 1,683 authors from 28 countries. These abstracts are organized into 38 topical sessions and 6 plenary sessions that were developed around the three major themes of the conference: the astrophysical and planetary context for life; the origin and evolution of life; and the search for life in our Solar System and beyond. An astounding range of subjects is covered--from prebiotic chemistry to cosmology, with stops at virology, Precambrian geochemistry, and Mars exploration, among other subjects, along the way. Presenta- tions on engaging students, teachers, and the public in astrobiology thread throughout the conference, reflecting its broad appeal. Clearly, the community is healthy and poised for a vibrant future!