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Search For Life

Andrew Fain

November 27, 2012

The search for life should lead the Planetary Society's focus for years to come. If life were found it would be a game changer like no other. It would change our perception of who we are and our place on this planet and the universe. It would reinvigorate interest in the space program from new and old and would generate badly needed funds for the embattled space program. It would take at least a three pronged approach. 1. Increased exploration of likely abodes for life within our solar system. Mars, Europa, Enceladus and others with dedicated instruments designed to probe for life. 2. Continue funding SETI but expand its focus to include optical, infrared and other radical ideas including a thorough search of our moon to find any evidence of alien visitation be it past or present. 3.Get to work on advancements in propulsion technology. Once we can get our spacecraft to travel much faster we can begin to consider interstellar missions to places like Alpha Centauri which very well may contain an earthlike planet with life. These things are important and in our not too distant future. But we must start laying the groundwork for them now otherwise they will be just dreams that are forever out of reach.


Vikel: 11/27/2012 02:50 CST

Watching the wawering beautyful northern lights glowing green on the sky, it occurred to me that this would be a perfect signature for life as we know it.The glow derives from electrons from the Sun, deflected by the magnetic field (probably a prerequisit for life) of our planet striking oxygen atoms (which are a product of plant life) in the upper atmosphere. The glow is visible from far away, and could possibly be detected by special instruments. Of course, the luminosity is low, and the technical challenges would be severe.

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