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Astrobiology and Big History
SPHERE's first exoplanet HIP 65426b
Image Credit: ESO

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Big history is the study of human civilisation in the context of the cosmos – and Ian Crawford argues that astrobiology is a logical partner in this endeavour.

History is shaped by national, international and even cosmic factors. Big History examines not only these influences, such as climate change, but also the ways in which the cosmic perspective shines a different light on societies through the ages. One theme of the discussion meeting that Ian Crawford summarises in the October issue of A&G concerns the evolution of our political systems from nation states to the sort of global structures beloved of science fiction – but also considered by many to be an essential step towards becoming a spacefaring planet.

Astrobiology demands consideration of the big picture and so makes a good partner in these discussions. But Crawford also argues that the cosmic perspective of the can also provide a driver for better public engagement in the sciences of astrobiology.  

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