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Extraterrestrial

Space

Alien contact not likely for another 1,500 years say scientists

There is perhaps no more compelling question for mankind than, are we alone in the universe? Given the odds, with billions of stars in our galaxy similar to our sun and billions of planets orbiting them, it seems unlikely. But, as Fermi's paradox asks, if aliens do exist, why haven't we found any evidence of them yet? Astronomers at Cornell University have done the sums to provide an estimate of when we might expect a call from ET, but don't worry about marking the date on your calendar – they believe contact isn't likely for another 1,500 years.Read More

Space

Essential feature of life detected outside our solar system

A molecule that exhibits a specific property associated with all life on Earth has been discovered in interstellar space for the first time. Displaying the quality of chirality, or "handedness", this molecule has a distinct one-way molecular geometry found only in biological building blocks like amino acids, proteins, and enzymes. This discovery may help provide answers to the origins of homochirality, whereby all a substance's molecules are of the same chiral form, and why it appears so important for biology.Read More

Space

Two technologies that could be invaluable to the search for life

NASA and its partners are in the process of developing two cutting-edge technologies with the potential to significantly advance the hunt for extraterrestrial life on distant Earth-like planets. The ambitious designs currently under development could allow astronomers to cut through the intense disturbance caused by an exoplanet's parent star, allowing them to image the remote worlds directly, and make detailed observations.Read More

Space

Breakthrough Listen Initiative starts sharing "search for ET" data

The first batch of data from a US$100 million effort to find signs of intelligent life beyond Earth has been released for public access. The Breakthrough Listen Initiative began making observations in January using the Green Bank Radio Telescope in West Virginia and Lick Observatory's Automated Planet Finder in California, and has posted what it's gathered so far on its website.Read More

Space

Stephen Hawking's space probes eye the express lane to neighboring stars

The Alpha Centauri star system is a fair old hike. At 25 trillion miles (4.37 light years) away, it would take around 30,000 years for us to roll into the area, and that's if we hitched a ride on today's fastest spacecraft. If the latest idea from the cosmically inquisitive Stephen Hawking comes to fruition, however, we could reach this neighboring stellar system within 20 years of launch.Read More

Space

Is ET dead – and are we next?

With the number of potentially habitable exoplanets in our galaxy alone estimated to be in the billions, many wonder why we are yet to see signs or hear from intelligent alien life. A pair of astrobiologists from the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Earth Sciences hypothesize the reason may be that ET could be long dead. According to Aditya Chopra and Charley Lineweaver, conditions on young planets are so volatile that if life doesn't evolve fast enough to stabilize the environment, it will quickly become extinct.Read More

Space

The Breakthrough Initiatives: Galvanizing the search for life in our Universe

At a Royal Society event in London earlier this week, Professor Stephen Hawking, Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees, and entrepreneur Yuri Milner announced an ambitious 100 million dollar initiative aimed at galvanizing the search for extraterrestrial life. The initiative would seek to make use of a blend of cutting edge telescopes and crowd sourcing to bring the hunt for life in line with present day technological capabilities.Read More

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