Astrobiology is a recent area of scientific research that seeks to understand the origin, evolution, future and distribution of life on Earth and on the Universe. Approaching very wide themes, it is intrinsically necessary an inter and multi disciplinary approach , and the use of the most recent tools of biology, astronomy, chemistry, physics, planetary sciences, etc. In astrobiology, the life on the planet it is not considered a self-contained system and isolated of its astrophysical environment, but it is seen as a piece that affects and it is affect by the others. That is, the origin, evolution and destiny of life are related to the evolution of the universe, the stars and planets.
One of the topics which draws more attention in these research is the search of life beyond Earth. Astrobiology, in its modern approach, uses as life model the microorganisms, due to its great resistance and adaptability to the most distinct environments. For this purpose it is necessary a great effort to the study of terrestrial microbiologic biodiversity, especially in extreme environments, unravelling its mechanisms of survival and the capacity of altering its environment, then leading to biological signatures which we can be detected from distance, in other planets of the Solar System or from other stars, using space probes or the large telescopes.
A compilation of the history of astrobiology in Brazil and the progress of the research group has been published and can be accessed at the following link. (restricted access).