Alien Planet

Astrobiology at NASA

Detecting Life Beyond Earth

How could a scientist here on Earth know whether a planet outside our solar system, beyond the reach of spacecraft, harbored life? Harvard astrophysicist Lisa Kaltenegger describes the clues she would look for—spectroscopic “golden fingerprints” that would reveal the chemical make-up of the planet’s atmosphere.

Launch Interactive
In this video and quiz, see how scientists sniff out signs of life on distant planets, then try it yourself.

The Drake Equation

The Drake Equation, named after its creator, radio astronomer Frank Drake, tackles a perplexing question: Does intelligent life, capable of communicating with us, exist beyond Earth? It makes the question easier to address by framing it as a numbers game. In this interactive version, learn about the factors in the equation and play around with the numbers yourself.

The Habitable Zone

Habitable Zone Illustration

NASA astrobiologist Dr. Richard Hoover takes ice samples from Alaskan permafrost.

NASA Finds Life at ‘Extremes’
Hundreds of feet under the Alaska tundra, NASA astrobiologist Dr. Richard Hoover ignores the eerie silence of the icy tunnel around him, even ignores the bones of woolly mammoths and steppe bison jutting here and there from the jagged walls, frozen where they died tens of thousands of years ago… about the time Homo sapiens began to assert dominance over the prehistoric planet.

The Search for ET

Astronomers have their radio telescopes tuned to receive signals from alien worlds. But is anybody out there?

Origins: Journey back to the beginning of everything: the universe, Earth, and life itself. Airs on PBS August 23 and 30 8 to 10 p.m.

Search for Life


< Prev
Next >


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s