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Posts Tagged "life in the universe"

Life, Unbounded

Copernicus in Cleveland

514px-Nikolaus_Kopernikus

What is our cosmic significance? Does it even make sense to ask a question like that? If you happen to find yourself in Cleveland, Ohio this coming Thursday evening, and stop by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History at 8pm you can catch me talking about this. As part of their Frontiers of Astronomy series [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Unstoppable Extinction And Fermi’s Paradox

Really, this is what I evolved into? (Images used: Stephen Ausmus, USDA ARS, Matt Martyniuk)

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the evidence that we are currently within a period of mass extinction, the kind of event that will show up in the fossil record a few million years from now as a clear discontinuity, a radical change in the diversity of life on the planet. This [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Cosmic Solitude, Exoplanets, and Books

Credit: NASA

Earlier this week I had the very great pleasure of catching up with Lee Billings, the author of Five Billion Years of Solitude, a beautifully written and provocative new book about the quest to find other Earths, other life in the universe. If you haven’t read it, you should. The Strand Bookstore in New York [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Maybe Mars Seeded Earth’s Life, Maybe It Didn’t

mars clip

This week a major geochemistry conference heard an argument for life on Earth having originated on Mars, but does this hold up to scrutiny? The idea that a young Mars, some four billion years ago, was a far more hospitable and temperate place is not particularly controversial – although it is certainly not understood in [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Should We Expect Other Earth-like Planets At All?

exoplanets-many-habitable-worlds

This year has been a spectacular one for exoplanets. New discoveries and new insights have truly pushed the gateway to other worlds even further open.     In the past 12 months we’ve gained increasingly good statistics on the incredible abundance of planets around other stars and their multiplicity. We also finally seem to have [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Cosmic Citizens

More interesting than the weather (Credit: Steve Jurveston)

Our remarkable species has existed in its present form for about 100,000 years. That’s about 0.0025% of the total time that we think life has existed on this planet. We, and the vast network of life around us, occupy barely a couple of percent of the volume of this world – its surface, a few [...]

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Life, Unbounded

‘Mass Effect’ Solves The Fermi Paradox?

Who's been munching my galaxy?

Right now, all across the planet, millions of people are engaged in a struggle with enormous implications for the very nature of life itself. Making sophisticated tactical decisions and wrestling with chilling and complex moral puzzles, they are quite literally deciding the fate of our existence. Or at least they are pretending to. The video [...]

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Life, Unbounded

An Abundance of Exoplanets Changes our Universe

Earth-sized planets near and far (NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

Planets in habitable zones, planets orbiting twin suns, miniature solar systems, rogue planets, planets, planets, planets. If there is one single piece of information you should take away from the recent flood of incredible exoplanetary discoveries it is this: Our universe makes planets with extraordinary efficiency – if planets can form somewhere, they will. We’ve [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Eight Limbed Aliens: Octopuses Are Out There

Greetings Earthling

Ok, so this is really entirely for entertainment, and you should check out the excellent all-octopus-all-the-time blog Octopus Chronicles right here at Scientific American for genuine insight, but I couldn’t resist posting this video that seems to be on its way to viral fame. Apparently octopuses can, and do, make quite extended forays into that [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Astrobiology Roundup

The Ghost of Astrobiology Past

The range of topics relevant to astrobiology is pretty staggering – from microbial populations, chemistry, geo-chemistry, geobiology, climate, non-linear systems, solar system exploration, robotics, planetary science, exoplanets, astrophysics, and even cosmology. I often call astrobiology an ‘inter-discipline‘, since so much of it is about the connecting threads, the metaphorical synapses between highly specialized areas of [...]

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