Life in the Universe
Could humans be the only intelligent beings in all the vastness of the universe? Or are we just one humble race, a member of a vast intergalactic fraternity of advanced civilizations? SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is the scientific quest to answer these great unknowns. As of now all we have are questions, but we know the answers, when they come, could transform our world. Since the day it was formed in 1980, The Planetary Society has been there to support the search.
And what about other life? Is there -- or was there ever -- anything else alive in our solar system? Did microbes once spring to life in oases on early Mars, or around the undersea volcanic vents of Europa or Enceladus? Could life have originated on Mars and been transported to Earth? We've never detected evidence for anything living elsewhere than our own fragile planet. Are we alone?
NASA has selected a Planetary Society proposal to study accommodation of the Society’s LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) biomodule on NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM).
Are we alone in the universe? This month’s National Geographic cover story takes a look at the question, and I weighed in on the subject.
Our own Dr. Bruce Betts is once again teaching his Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy college course online. Come join him.
Cosmos returns in fine form in its penultimate episode. Sagan explores the historical and scientific precedents for the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) and our human desires to not be alone in the universe.
Cosmos stumbles with an episode that is plodding, scattered, and more than a little preachy. This episode will only persist in my memory as a shadow of what could have been.
Posted by Matthew Francis on 2014/01/15 12:08 CST
CosmoAcademy — a project from the CosmoQuest educational and citizen-science group — is offering three new online classes: Introduction to Dark Matter, Introduction to Astronomy via Color Imaging, and Life Beyond Earth: Introduction to Astrobiology.
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.