||2001 News Releases
Public Invited to Free Lecture on the Search for Life
June 1, 2001
Artist's concept of Earthlike planet.
Are we alone in the universe? That tantalizing question
will be addressed in a free, public lecture by the director of
JPL's Center for Life Detection, Dr. Kenneth Nealson, on
Monday, June 4, during the semi-annual American Astronomical
Society meeting at the Pasadena Conference Center.
The lecture, "Searching for Life in the Universe:
Lessons from the Earth," will feature Nealson discussing ways
we can apply our knowledge of how life evolves and thrives on
Earth to our search for life elsewhere. The lecture begins at
7:30 p.m. in Room C101-105 of the Pasadena Conference Center,
300 East Green Street, Pasadena, California.
At best, the search for life beyond our own planet is an
inexact science. Recent studies of microbes on Earth have
convinced scientists that life is tougher and more persistent
than we might have imagined 20 years ago. If life can survive
in hostile environments on Earth, such as in boiling, toxic
thermal vents on the ocean floor, might it also be found in
unlikely niches on other planets?
In addition, the discovery of dozens of planets around
far-off suns has triggered even more speculation about
possible alien life.
Nealson will explain the challenges of looking for life
beyond our planet while avoiding the assumption that life
elsewhere would be like Earthly life. More information on JPL
and NASA research efforts in this area are available at
More information on the American Astronomical Society
meeting is available at http://www.aas.org .
JPL is a division of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena.
Contact: Jane Platt (818) 354-0880
JPL Media Relations Office