The question we ask is - if there is life on other planets, should we expect it to be based on the same molecules, i.e. be universal - or should we expect it to depend on the local conditions, i.e. on the planet's geochemistry. So to find out, we try experiments on biomolecules, starting with such geochemistry conditions.
Life and the universe compare to each other like a child and a parent, parent and offspring.
I grew up in Bulgaria in a small city on the Black Sea Coast, so I was very interested in the sea, marine life, and everything related to it. But it was also a very dark place at night, so I could see the stars. And I just got very interested in it.
Life is extremely resilient once it takes hold, but it requires rich chemistry, large energy sources, and stability, right from the beginning. The comparative planetology of our solar system makes it seem like those initial conditions are hard to come by.
We love our planet Earth. We should - it is our home, and there's no place like home. There can't ever be a better place than Earth.