Space sciences Astrobiology


14 Apr 2023
A conceptual image for sampling materials on the asteroid Ryugu containing uracil and niacin by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft (NASA Goddard/JAXA/Dan Gallagher).
21 Mar 2023
Samples from the asteroid Ryugu collected by the Hayabusa2 mission contain nitrogenous organic compounds, including the nucleobase uracil, which is a part of RNA.
08 Mar 2023
Finding extra-terrestrial life would transform how we view our place in the Universe, but reporting on the search for it poses challenges for scientists and the media.
Answering a century-old question on the origins of life
27 Sep 2021
The missing link isn’t a not-yet-discovered fossil, after all. It’s a tiny, self-replicating globule called a coacervate droplet, developed by two researchers in Japan to represent the evolution of chemistry into biology.
Assistant Professor Tony Z. Jia
11 May 2021
Tony Z. Jia is a specially-appointed assistant professor and lab manager at Japan’s Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), based at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He is an astrobiologist and shared highlights from his dual research/management role.
27 Sep 2019
An experiment shows that one of the basic units of life — nucleobases — could have originated within giant gas clouds interspersed between the stars.


09 Sep 2021 to 10 Sep 2021
Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) will launch a new Master-PhD course on origin-of-life science and astrobiology at Tokyo Institute of Technology. The five-year ELSI course is open for domestic and international students who wish to tackle fundamental questions in natural science such as the origin and evolution of living planets. ELSI will provide financial support (as salary of a research assistant) for all the students, except for ones who are going to be supported by JSPS DC fellowships (Japan) or equivalent fellowships.


Tony Z. Jia is a researcher at Japan’s Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), based at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. His research focuses on astrobiology, prebiotic chemistry, and origins of life.

Giants in history

Cyril Andrew Ponnamperuma (16 October 1923 – 20 December 1994) was a Sri Lankan chemist who was interested in the origins of life on Earth. His research in chemical evolution showed how inanimate molecules may have given rise to the building blocks of life – a process known as abiogenesis.