The Most Beguiling Question: Is There Life Beyond Earth?

Friday, 13 February 2015: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room LL20D (San Jose Convention Center)
Carolyn Porco, Space Science Institute, Boulder, CO
Whether or not life exists beyond the Earth is so venerable and beguiling a question that humankind is today actively devoted to finding the answer ... in its robotic explorations of the planetary systems in orbit around the Sun and in its astronomical searches for Earth-like planets around other stars. It may one day soon transpire that we indeed discover genesis has occurred, independently, more than once in our solar system, or that Earth-like exoplanets or their moons show evidence of biological processes. At that point, we could safely infer that life is not a bug but a feature of our universe ... along with dark matter, supernovae, and black holes.

This presentation will review the most promising candidates for extraterrestrial life and the search methods that are currently being considered for returning the unambiguous resolution, 'We are not alone'.