Life as we know it produces complex order. Earth's many life forms are diverse and continually changing through birth, growth, and evolution. To understand life in the Universe we ask: What environments produce life and which attributes make something alive? How does life change? Is there life in our Solar System, or on one of countless exoplanets? Is there a connection between life on Earth and life elsewhere? Or are we alone?
Lectures will be held at Centennial Hall on the campus of the University of Arizona.
Monday, March 2, 2015 at 7 p.m.
Amazing Discoveries: A Billion Earth-like Worlds
Laird M. Close, Professor, Astronomy/Steward Observatory
One of the most fascinating developments in the last two decades is humankind's discovery of alien worlds orbiting stars near our Sun. Since the first such discovery in 1995 there has been a truly exponential growth in the detection of these new planets. Scientists have been puzzled and surprised by the diversity and extravagance of these new extra-solar systems. For example, we now know the most common type of planet is actually missing from our own Solar System. Recently, the space-based NASA Kepler Mission has discovered thousands of new worlds and suggests that one in five Sun-like stars may harbor an Earth-like planet. We will take a grand tour of some of these amazing new worlds, specifically noting where life might already exist, beyond our Solar System. The latest developments and difficulties of direct imaging for life on an exoplanet will be discussed.
For more information visit the UA Science website.