Each Life in the Universe research project is related in some way to understanding the origins of life or the extent to which life may be present beyond Earth. Devised as a means to inform SETI research, the Drake Equation addresses broad areas of scientific research, and each Carl Sagan Center project relates to one or more factors in the Equation.
Nearly all Life in the Universe scientists generate their own funding through outside grants, usually from NASA or the National Science Foundation. The SETI Institute's excellent management and demonstrated ability to minimize overhead thereby maximizing funds available to conduct the actual research has helped the Institute build a strong reputation as an efficient home for researchers.
The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore and explain the nature and prevalence of life in the universe. This mission encompasses projects covering a broad range of disciplines that include:
How did life begin on Earth? How many stars have planets and how many of these planets might support life? Scientists in the SETI Institute's Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe explores these and other fundamental questions through a research program consisting of more than 30 externally funded, peer-reviewed projects. Sagan Center principal investigators conduct basic research into a field often known as astrobiology.