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Preparing for alien life

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Author Topic: Preparing for alien life  (Read 34 times)
Stacy Dohm
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« on: February 01, 2015, 08:25:01 pm »

The symposium was hosted by Steven J. Dick, the second annual Chair in Astrobiology at the Library of Congress. The video presentations can be viewed here.

"Three Horse Races"

Of course, the impact of discovery will depend on the specific scenario. In a talk titled "Current Approaches to Finding Life Beyond Earth, and What Happens If We Do," Shostak described three ways—or three "horse races"—for finding life in space.

First, we could find it nearby, in our Solar System. NASA's Curiosity Rover is currently surveying the Martian surface for signs of past or present life. And Europa Clipper, a mission to Jupiter's icy moon, is now under consideration.

Second, we could "sniff it out" of the atmosphere of an exoplanet, using telescopes to look for gases such as methane and oxygen that might hint at a biosphere. The James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched in 2018, will be able to carry out that kind of work.
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