FOSSILS of marine creatures about 270 million years old found at Cessnock have attracted NASA's attention, and could help unlock answers to how life began.
The fossils were molluscs that lived in shallow water on the ancient continent Gondwanaland, according to scientific studies.
They have come to the surface on Peter Makeig's Mount View property.
Mr Makeig was aware of the fossils but had not realised their significance.
University of California Department of Earth and Space Sciences paleontology professor Bruce Runnegar plans to visit the site with a team of scientists in April next year.
Professor Runnegar, a member of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, will study the fossils to extract historic information about the atmosphere and the sea's chemical content.
This information is considered useful in trying to understand Earth and other planets.
Astrobiology is about seeking answers to how life began and evolved, whether life exists elsewhere and the future of life in the universe.