The new discipline of astrobiology addresses fundamental questions about life in the universe: "Where did we come from?" "Are we alone in the universe?" "What is our future beyond the Earth?" Developing capabilities in biotechnology, informatics, and space exploration provide new tools to address these old questions. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has encouraged this new discipline by organizing workshops and technical meetings, establishing a NASA Astrobiology Institute, providing research funds to individual investigators, ensuring that astrobiology goals are incorporated in NASA flight missions, and initiating a program of public outreach and education. Much of the initial effort by NASA and the research community was focused on determining the technical content of astrobiology. This paper discusses the initial answer to the question "What is astrobiology?" as described in the NASA Astrobiology Roadmap.