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Extremophiles to Exoplanets: Life in the Universe
May 17, 2008 @ 12:00 am
Consider these questions: Could there be life underneath the icy crust of Jupiter's moon, Europa, or under the surface of Saturn's moon, Titan? How is our study of “extremophile” life forms on Earth affecting our search for life "out there"? What life forms exist under extreme environments on Earth and how do they survive? What fascinating possible abodes for life are being discovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope? How does the near-daily discovery of extra-solar planets influence our views of the likelihood of extra-solar life? Join four prominent scientists working at the cutting edge of their respective fields as they examine the search for life within the solar system and throughout the galaxy.
Program speakers include Kevin Grazier, PhD, Investigation Scientist, Cassini Mission to Saturn and Titan, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech. In addition to his JPL duties, Dr. Grazier teaches several university astronomy courses, and has served as a science advisor for the Sci-Fi Channel, CNN, and PBS; Michelle Thaller, PhD, Research Scientist, Spitzer Space Telescope, Caltech. Dr. Thaller not only performs research based upon Spitzer observations, she also is a highly sought-after astronomical outreach speaker; Kenneth Nealson, PhD, Wrigley Professor of Geobiology at USC. An expert on extremophile life forms, Dr. Nealson studies organisms that live in extreme environments and develops techniques both for in situ life detection and analysis of samples returned from Mars in future missions; and William I. Newman, PhD, Professor in Physics and Astronomy, Earth, and Space Sciences, and Mathematics at UCLA. Dr. Newman is an expert in planetary dynamics, teaches astrobiology, and has written professional publications with the late Carl Sagan on the plausibility of extraterrestrial life.