The Search for Earth-like Planets: Looking for Signs of Life
May 10 & 11, 2007
In the vast blackness of space, our home planet is a single sparkling oasis of life. Whether the universe harbors other worlds that can support even simple life is a question that has been pondered, yet has remained unanswered, for over two thousand years. Over the next two decades, NASA will launch a series of spaceborne telescopes that will search for Earth-sized planets around other stars and examine those planets for signs of life. But which observations should we make? And what should we look for? This talk will explain how we will search for and identify planets that might support life around other stars, and describes results from the new science of astrobiology that will help us recognize signs of life on these distant worlds.
Dr. Victoria Meadows
Principal Investigator, Virtual Planetary Laboratory
Spitzer Science Center, California Institute of Technology