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Habitability at Home

Habitability at Home

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Moderator: Paul Voosen

Panelists: Ellen Stofan, Chris House and John Brooke

Part of the Earth at the Crossroads conference held on Nov. 18, 2021. Tantalizing new discoveries suggest that we are probably not alone in the universe. And yet, as Enrico Fermi first put in 1950: where is everybody? Are habitable worlds rare, unlikely, and therefore cosmically precious? Or is life easily overwhelmed by changing planetary conditions? Do technological societies in particular face an inevitable “Great Filter” that causes their extinction? These questions link the search for extraterrestrial life to the urgent environmental challenges facing our own civilization, from deadly pandemics to human-caused climate change. On November 18th, Georgetown University and the SETI Institute will unite scholars, journalists, artists and activists in conversations that explore what the search for alien life may reveal about the future of life on Earth. These conversations will be open to Georgetown students and will be broadcast to the public. They will culminate in a roundtable debate intended to draft a proclamation on the state of Earth’s environment and its future potential in a cosmic context.

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