Charles Cockell is Professor of Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh. He received his doctorate at the University of Oxford and was a National Academy of Sciences Associate at the NASA Ames Research Centre, California. He was a visiting scholar at Stanford University and the University of Arizona. He worked at the British Antarctic Survey for four years and at The Open University. Cockell is currently Director of the UK Centre for Astrobiology and his research interests focus on the role of microbes in extreme environments, including volcanic and impact crater environments. Cockell is a Senior Editor of the journal, Astrobiology. His popular science books include ‘Impossible Extinction’ (Cambridge University Press), which explores the tenacity of microbes on the Earth, and ‘Space on Earth’ (Macmillan) which explores the indivisible links between environmentalism and space exploration. He is Chair of the Earth and Space Foundation, a non-profit organisation he established in 1994 to help support field work and research that bridges the gap between environmentalism and space exploration. He was the first Chair of the Astrobiology Society of Britain.