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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school

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Valentina Marcheselli

My research project looks at how astrobiologists challenge and redefine the concept of ‘life’ when bringing it into play in relation to extraterrestrial contexts. 
By drawing insights from the ethnographic study of astrobiologists' everyday activities, I am exploring the disciplinary practices, the scientific narratives and the experimental designs by means of which scientists hunt for life, and in which definitions are embedded. 
In particular, I am interested in how people, objects and practices move between different spaces of knowledge production - the field and the laboratory -, how astrobiologists make use of space analogues to account for the possible existence of life elsewhere and how, in turn, the use of analogies becomes meaningful in rethinking Earthly life.