Big Picture Science – A New Hope For Life In Space

by Gary Niederhoff on June 1, 2014

Big Picture Science – A New Hope For Life In Space

Alien life. A flurry of recent discoveries has shifted the odds of finding it. Scientists use the Kepler telescope to spot a planet the same size and temperature as Earth … and announce that there could be tens of billions of similar worlds, just in our galaxy!

Plus, new gravity data suggests a mammoth reservoir of water beneath the icy skin of Saturn’s moon Enceladus … and engineers are already in a race to design drills that can access the subsurface ocean of another moon, Jupiter’s Europa.

Meanwhile Congress holds hearings to assess the value of looking for life in space. Seth Shostak goes to Washington to testify. Hear what he said and whether the exciting discoveries in astrobiology have stimulated equal enthusiasm among those who hold the purse strings.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Seth Shostak – Funding Exploration
Part 2: Elisa Quintana – Kepler 186f
Part 3: Chris McKay – Life Nearby
Part 4: Victoria Siegel – Astrobiology Tech
Part 5: Cynthia Phillips – Planetary Missions

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Richard June 4, 2014 at 12:06 am

“In space there are countless constellations, suns and planets; we see only the suns because they give light; the planets remain invisible, for they are small and dark. There are also numberless earths circling around their suns, no worse and no less than this globe of ours. For no reasonable mind can assume that heavenly bodies that may be far more magnificent than ours would not bear upon them creatures similar or even superior to those upon our human earth.” – Giordano Bruno, 1584

“All philosophy is based on two things only: curiosity and poor eyesight; if you had better eyesight you could see perfectly well whether or not these stars are solar systems, and if you were less curious you wouldn’t care about knowing, which amounts to the same thing. the trouble is, we want to know more than what we can see.” – Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Conversations on the Plurality of the Worlds, 1686

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