The Australian Centre for Astrobiology began life in July 2001. In addition to being an Associate Member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, it also has close links with the European Space Agency and other international space agencies and institutions.
It is one of the few organisations in the world that is truly inter and multi-disciplinary in a way that is reflective of astrobiology as well as being the only centre of astrobiological research in Australia. Its key goals include contributing to the understanding of the origin of life on Earth and to set an Australian life-seeking instrument on the surface of Mars. It also has a strong media, education and outreach program related to its research, and which has attracted Australian Federal funding.