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Energy and Environment

Searching For Life 'Out There'

Brittany Kruger
Dr. Brittany Kruger sampling water from a mine to look for microbial life.

Since antiquity, humans have been looking up and wondering, ‘Is there life out there?’ or ‘Are we alone?’. The latest Kepler mission data suggests that there are over 40 billion habitable world zones in the universe with the potential to support life. Out of the 40 billion habitable zones, there has to be life out there somewhere, right?

In this Science Distilled episode, we are going to address astrobiology and the deep questions of the universe. The topic was discussed at the Science Distilled Lecture series produced by the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum and the Desert Research Institute, both in Reno, Nevada.

Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary field with the goal to understand actual and potential life in the universe through natural sciences like biology and geology, and even the humanities, like philosophy. Astrobiologists are interested in the potential for extraterrestrial life on things like comets and asteroids, but more often than not, they are looking at planetary bodies.

Dr. Brittany Kruger is an astrobiologist and researcher at the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Dr. Carlos Mariscal is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Nevada, Reno. They spoke at the event and later with KUNR about life--what it is, how scientists find it, and if we do find life on other planets, will we even be able to call it life, exactly?

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