The Kavli Foundation Q&A: Microbes and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Astrobiologists discuss the search for life beyond Earth — join the conversation!

Courtesy of The Kavli Foundation, Sky & Telescope is featuring an in-depth Q&A with two astrobiologists on the search for extraterrestrial life.

Within 10 years, scientists at NASA and elsewhere are aiming to send life-seeking robots to Mars and to Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. But first they must decide where to look, what evidence of life to look for and how to detect it.

To answer those questions, they’ve turned to “extremophiles,” microorganisms that inhabit the Earth’s most hostile environments. By stretching the limits of life on this planet, these organisms are improving the odds that faraway places thought to be uninhabitable may harbor it, too.

DiRuggiero and McKay discussed the next missions to search for life in our solar system in The Kavli Foundation roundtable discussion Microbiome and Astrobiology: How to Search for Life on Other Worlds. Now, join the conversation with two prominent astrobiologists who study life at the extremes and how to hunt for it on other worlds.

Submit questions ahead of and during the webcast by emailing info@kavlifoundation.org or by using the hashtag #KavliLive on Twitter or Google+.

About the Participants

Photograph of Jocelyne DiRuggiero, JHU Professor and Researcher for a story about astrobiology for Hopkins Magazine on 11/13/14 at her lab in Mudd Hall.

JOCELYNE DIRUGGIERO, PhD is Associate Research Professor in the Department of Biology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a member of the University’s Institute for Planets and Life. She studies how microorganisms adapt to extreme environments and what that can teach us about searching for life on other planets.

 

 

 

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CHRISTOPHER McKAY, PhD is a senior scientist in the Space Science and Astrobiology Division at NASA Ames Research Center who studies life in Mars-like environments on Earth and plans missions to search for evidence of it.

 

 

 

 

2015_SL_microbiome_LindsayLINDSAY BORTHWICK (moderator) has been working as a science journalist for more than a decade and holds a Master’s degree in neuroscience.