Astrobiology Academy

'Life Beyond' - Prison Education

Life Beyond - 'from behind the boundaries of a prison you can direct humanity to the stars'

Life Beyond is an initiative of the UK Centre for Astrobiology to take astrobiology into the prison environment. It began in 2016/early 2017 with a series of visits to prisons in Scotland including HMP Shotts, Edinburgh, Glenochil and Lowmoss.


The programme uses astrobiology to discuss major civilisation-level questions such as how we explore and settle other planets and how we live sustainably on the Earth. Through the subject, inmates take part in thinking about and discussing some of the major challenges and opportunities that our civilisation faces, whilst gaining an opportunity for science education.

The purpose of Life Beyondis to:

1) Enrich the lives of those serving prison terms by providing an engaging opportunity for discussion on some cutting edge questions in science.

2) Augment and advance education in prisons and contribute to the diversity of education on offer.

3) Engage inmates in lectures and inmate-led discussions on the future of civilisation.

4) Encourage inmates to contribute ideas, essays, art and other viewpoints to a future book on human space settlement.


Life Beyond involves a four week course that focuses on the design of a Mars station and runs over four weeks. Participants design a Mars station, plan science and exploration from the station and consider the long-term sociological challenges of living on another planet. Life Beyond also seeks to introduce science into other parts of the prison environment, offering links to arts and other hands-on projects.


If you’re interested in finding out more about Life Beyond please contact us at