Life outside the solar system

On Monday 27th September, RSS member (and new secretary) Josh Krissansen-Totton gave a talk on detecting life in the universe. He explained the methods used to find extra-terrestrial life and the likelihood that scientists will discover life outside earth in the near future. He also touched on SETI, the methods for finding intelligent alien life and some of the implications that this may have.

Today the Washington Post published this article:

First habitable planet outside solar system is found.

By Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 29, 2010; 9:14 PM

For the first time, astronomers have detected a rocky planet in another solar system that has the most basic and essential conditions needed to support extraterrestrial life. The presence of Earth-like exoplanets in what is called the “habitable zone” has been predicted for some time, but actually identifying and measuring one was referred to Wednesday as the beginning of a new era in the search for life beyond Earth.

Read more..

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Posted on September 30, 2010, in Links, Meetings. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I can email you a (readable) copy of my slides if you’re interested. It’s too large to be sent via Google groups, but I can send it to individuals.

  2. Re Ramesh and co:

    As I understand it WFIRST will be looking for exoplanets using gravitational microlensing (I think it’s doing a survey of the galactic bulge?) Thus even if it did discover many habitable worlds, they would be way beyond the range of a terrestrial planet finder. But hopefully the survey will tell us what fraction of stars have habitable exoplanets, so we can decide whether or not it’s worth building a TPF to search our local neighbourhood.

    Yeah I’m basically hoping for a political miracle. Either that or for the US public to actually become vaguely interested in science again. I’m not sure which of the two is the more improbable.

    Also, I’m all for Survivor Pripyat. Given the ridiculous number of people that watch that show, the revenues raised from advertising would be enough to fund a TPF. We should do it.

    • Yes, you’re right about WFIRST– I got lazy and only thought about the IR in the acronym standing for infrared. I also understand it’s a dark matter probe.

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