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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?

Phobos LIFE Ready to Launch

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/09/01 12:00 CDT

Years in the making, our Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) is nearing launch this November. Phobos LIFE will send millions of passengers on a 34-month journey to Mars’ moon Phobos and back.

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Launch Window Approaching!

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/08/21 12:00 CDT

We are super excited that the Planetary Society’s Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) is about ready to launch to Mars’ moon Phobos and back. We have been working for years preparing this unique test of the effects of long term exposure to deep space on a wide variety of life.

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Shuttle LIFE Organisms Return from Space

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/06/09 05:40 CDT

In the middle of the night on June 1, 2011, millions of passengers returned safely to Earth as part of the great conclusion to space shuttle Endeavour's last flight, STS-134. Many of those millions of passengers were part of the Planetary Society's Shuttle LIFE experiment. Five different kinds of creatures from all three domains of life are part of Shuttle LIFE.

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Best "Arsenic and Odd Life" coverage

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/03 10:03 CST

Last night I asked via Twitter for recommendations for articles that did the best job explaining the significance of the work, by people who actually read the relevant paper in Science.

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Jaded by Mars Organics

Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2010/09/11 04:35 CDT

So, you may have heard the news making the rounds last week that a new analysis of the Viking data suggests there may actually be organics and (dare I even say it?) life on Mars! Yawn. Consider me underwhelmed.

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Optical SETI's Growing Capabilities

Posted by Paul Horowitz on 2009/10/28 12:00 CDT

Often, the phrase “next steps” has been known to describe things that don't actually happen. But for The Planetary Society's All-sky Optical SETI, it's different. Here's what's happened in the last year.

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Astropulse: A Fresh Look at the Skies in Search of E.T.

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2009/08/27 12:00 CDT

If you were a member of an alien civilization trying to communicate across the immeasurable distances of space, how would you go about it?

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Dunes in the Outback Red Center

Posted by Jani Radebaugh on 2009/07/29 12:12 CDT

Jani talks about the importance of understanding analogs we can easily visit on Earth to processes happening across the solar system.

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