One of humankind's most fasicinating mysteries is how life evolved on this planet and whether it exists elsewhere. Carnegie is part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). The team focuses on life’s chemical and physical evolution, from the interstellar medium, through planetary systems, to the emergence and detection of life by studying extrasolar planets, Solar System formation, organic rich primitive planetary bodies, prebiotic molecular synthesis through the catylysing with minerals, and the connection between planetary evolution to the emergence of biology. This program integrates the sweeping narrative of life’s history through a combination of bottom-up and top-down studies. On the one hand, this team studies processes related to chemical and physical evolution in plausible prebiotic environments – circumstellar disks—discs of dust and gas around stellar systems, extrasolar planetary systems and the primitive Earth. The teams is also  documenting the nature of microbial life at extreme conditions, as well as the characterization of organic matter in ancient fossils. These efforts are important to developing biotechnological approaches to life detection on other worlds.All of this to learn how we came to be.