Cosmic Origins

The Oldest Question: Is There Life Beyond Earth? - Christopher Impey. Our reconstruction of the chronology of events that led to the origin of the Earth and subsequent chemical evolution on our planet informs us that nothing unusual was required for the origin and development of terrestrial life, and that therefore life may be pervasive throughout the cosmos. Whether extraterrestrial life exists is so ancient and beguiling a question that humankind is actively seeking the answer in its explorations of the planetary systems in our solar system. It may one day transpire that we discover that genesis has occurred, independently, not once but twice in our solar system. At that point, we could safely infer that life is a fundamental feature of our universe ... along with dark matter, supernovae, and black holes.

Christopher D. Impey, Distinguished Professor, Astronomy/Steward Observatory, The University of Arizona.

The Oldest Question: Is There Life Beyond Earth?

Related Links
Are We Alone? The Search for Life beyond the Earth
A discussion of the prospects of finding life, simple or intelligent, beyond our own planet. There is the possibility of finding evidence of life, past or present, on Mars or even below the icy crust of Jupiter's moon Europa.
Finding Life beyond Earth: Are We Alone?
This is a PBS documentary which takes a spectacular trip to distant realms of our solar system to discover where secret forms of life may lie hidden.
The Search for Life in the Universe
Scientists on the hunt for distant planets and extraterrestrial intelligence explore faraway galaxies and barely visible realms.
Life in the Universe (UA Science Lecture Series)
This explores our Universe at molecular, biological, planetary and cosmic scales to ask 'What is life?' and how do we recognize it?
Life in the Universe (UC Irvine)
This course provides an overview of the scientific quest to discover life elsewhere in the universe.
Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life
In this course we will explore what we know about life's ability to live in extreme environments on the Earth, we will look at different hypotheses for how it originated.
Astrobiology and Space Exploration
This course discusses evolution in the context of space and time, focusing on the emergence of life in a planetary context on Earth and possibly elsewhere as well as the evolution of intelligence and the search for it elsewhere.
Origins - From the Big Bang to the Emergence of Humans
This course will cover our modern scientific understanding of origins, from the Big Bang to the formation of planets like Earth, evolution by natural selection, the genetic basis of evolution, and the emergence of humans.

Go to the Series Home or watch other lectures:

1. Cosmology: Making Sense of the Universe
2. Origin of the Universe: The Big Bang
3. Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Inflation: The Big Mysteries of Cosmology
4. Astronomical Alchemy: The Origin of the Elements
5. Origins of Black Holes: Gravity at Its Extreme
6. The Oldest Question: Is There Life Beyond Earth?