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Science, Maths & Technology

World Space Week: Is there life beyond Earth?

Updated Tuesday 16th September 2014

Open University academics discuss their recent findings during a special World Space Week Lecture: Is there life beyond Earth?

OU World Space Week lecture
For most of our history, the question of whether the Earth hosts all life in the entire Universe was a matter for speculation rather than scientific study.
Now, researchers at the OU are investigating the possibility of life on comets, moons and extrasolar planets and revealed their recent findings during a special World Space Week lecture titled Is there life beyond Earth? which took place in The Berrill lecture theatre at The Open University on Tuesday 7 October. 
As the European Space Agency's comet-chasing spacecraft, Rosetta, prepares to land on the 67P/Churyumov¬Gerasimenko comet on 11 November, Professor Ian Wright, who led the OU's 20-year involvement in the mission, discussed the possible connection that life on Earth has with the materials they will look at with their sensors and detectors once the spacecraft lands.
Professor Dave Rothery looked at what conditions for life are needed on moons such as on the icy surfaces of Jupiter and Saturn's moons. Read ‘Are we alone in the Universe?’, a look at the potential for life beyond Earth, by David Rothery.  

Dr Carole Haswell discussed the international efforts to find habitable conditions on planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. She will also discuss her work revealing a new population of potentially habitable planets which offer the possibility for life in our Galaxy long after the Earth is swallowed by the Sun.




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