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 the American Astronomical Society meeting is available at http://www.aas.org .

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.


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