Astrobiology

When Will We Find Life Beyond Earth?

Panel: Nathalie Cabrol, Seth Shostak, Mark Showalter, Fergal Mullaly – SETI Institute

Is this the generation that will discover extraterrestrial life?  Some scientists have opined that we’ll find other living beings – whether they be microbes on other planets or intelligent beings in another star system – within two decades.  An energetic panel of SETI Institute astrobiologists will discuss why both science and technology give support to the idea that we may soon prove that Earth is not the only world where life has arisen. Audience Q&A follows panelists.

Orbital Dynamics Suggests A Recent Formation of Saturn's Moons

The age of Saturn's rings and the source of Enceladus's hydrothermal energy have been hotly debated topics for years. Recently the age of Saturn's moons interior to Titan, previously thought to be as old as Saturn, also became actively debated. I will show how computer simulations of the past orbital dynamics of Saturn's moons Tethys, Dione and Rhea can tell us how long they have been around. It appears that the inner moons and rings of Saturn are only about 100 million years, equivalent to the Cretaceous period on Earth.

Moon Express 2017 - A Private Lunar Mission Enabling Science & Commerce

The health of our home planet and the survival of our species will only be secured through the use of space resources and the expansion of Earth's economic sphere to the Moon and beyond. Creating an off-Earth economy and multi-planet civilization will safeguard the long term prospects of humanity.

SETI and the Computational Universe

Dr Stephen Wolfram, founder & CEO of Wolfram Research, and creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha and the Wolfram Language will come to the SETI Institute to discuss his latest thinking about the relation between searching for complex behavior in the computational universe of simple programs, using this in creating AI, and searching for intelligence elsewhere in our physical universe.

 

Quantum mechanics at the macroscopic scale

Quantum mechanics is a foundation of physics, chemistry and materials science.  Still, there is an ongoing debate about the emergence of the classical, macroscopic world from the well-understood microscopic world of quantum mechanics.  We contribute to this discourse by demonstrating quantum superposition of massive particles at the distance (0.5 m) and time scales (2 s) of everyday life, thereby advancing the state-of-the-art of atom de Broglie wave interferometry by nearly two orders of magnitude [1].   In addition to testing a cent

400 years of Planetary Cartography - mapping channels on Mars

Since Galileo, astronomers and planetary scientists work hard to draw accurate representations of planetary surfaces. Planetary mapping today is a tool of geological investigation, landing site selection and also a visual statement of our ever expanding horizon of discovery. From copper engravings to dynamic online maps, the technique of presenting planetary maps changed a lot.

But What About the Stellar Occultation Data of Pluto's Atmosphere?

Before the flyby of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, one of the major sources of data about Pluto's atmosphere was ground-based observational data of light intensity as Pluto moved in front of a background star.  From these data the temperature of Pluto's atmosphere as a function of altitude was derived using various techniques.  These techniques rely on knowledge of the vertical temperature structure of Pluto's atmosphere before doing the calculation from light intensity to temperature, the very property that is being sought.  Here I will make the distinction between the "inverse problem" a

The enigma of planetesimal formation: theoretical developments on cold-disk protoplanetary turbulence and small particle assembly

The riddle of planet formation is a key question in solar system studies. Models of the disk formation process show that there are regions where the disk can be turbulent, and regions where it is dynamically quiet. The quiet zones are called 'Dead Zones'.

The implication that Dead Zones are widespread in planet forming protoplanetary disks has sparked renewed interest in assessing the dynamical state of these Dead Zone objects.  

On the Shores of Titan's Farthest Sea

In this talk, Author/artist Michael Carroll will explore the bizarre methane-filled seas and soaring dunes of Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Recent advances in our understanding of this planet-sized moon provide enough information for authors to paint a realistic picture of this truly alien world. Following his presentation, he will be signing his new science fiction adventure/mystery book, "On the Shores of Titan's Farthest Sea".

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