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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Life in Our Universe for a completely
rational and logical discussion of the possibility of life on planets other
than our own, and on planets around other suns other than our own.

Life in Our Universe
Lectures by Professor Laird Close

Life in Our Universe (2013) - 24 lectures, 12 hours
Life in Our Universe at TheGreatCourses.com

Are we alone in the universe? Or does the cosmos pulse with diverse life forms? This is one of the most profound issues facing mankind - and one of the unresolved questions that science may finally be able to answer in this century. Both scenarios are mind-boggling and, to quote futurist Isaac Asimov, equally frightening. No matter what the answer, the implications are vast.

If even the most rudimentary life forms could be found elsewhere in our universe, it would be a paradigm-shifting revelation on par with discovering the atom. Finding microbes in an extraterrestrial location would dramatically increase the chances of life being common everywhere, and encountering intelligent life would forever alter our place in the cosmos.

There has never been a better time to study our universe. NASA's Kepler mission, the first dedicated extrasolar planet-finding spacecraft, is rapidly changing what we understand about planets around other stars. At present, it has detected hundreds of confirmed planets, and well over 2,000 likely new planets have been identified. And exponential growth in telescope power and other critical technologies is enabling scientists to make new discoveries every day.

Life in Our Universe reveals the cutting-edge research leading scientists to believe that life is not exclusively the domain of Earth. Taught by Dr. Laird Close, an award-winning Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at The University of Arizona, these 24 mind-expanding lectures offer an unparalleled look at the subject of life and the mysteries that remain. Supported by stunning visuals, this course shares some of the most intriguing discoveries that the fields of astronomy, biology, geology, chemistry, and physics have to offer.

You'll examine the remarkable coincidences that created our planet and sustained its habitability for 3.5 billion years. And you'll join the hunt for microbial life elsewhere in our solar system and Earth-like planets in alien solar systems - one of astronomy's "holy grails."

Professor Laird Close is Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Arizona, from which he received his Ph.D. Professor Close has invented and helped develop several advanced-technology cameras for very sharp imaging of outer space using adaptive optics. His particular areas of interest include low-mass stars, brown dwarfs, and extrasolar planets. In 2004, Professor Close was honored with a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award, given to top young science professors in America. He also is a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute and has received numerous NASA Origins of Solar Systems grants.

24 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: Is There Life Elsewhere in Our Universe? 13: Liquid Assets - The Moons of Jupiter
2: Bang! A Universe Built for Life 14: Liquid on Titan and Enceladus
3: A Star Is Born - Forming the Solar System 15: Discovery of Extrasolar Planets
4: The Early Earth and Its Moon 16: The Kepler Spacecraft's Planets
5: Impacts - Bringers of Death ... or Life? 17: A Tour of Exotic Alien Solar Systems
6: Evidence of the First Life on Earth 18: Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life
7: Common Themes for All Life on Earth 19: SETI - The Search for Intelligent Life
8: Origin of Terrestrial Life 20: The Fermi Paradox - Where Is Everyone?
9: Astrobiology - Life beyond Earth 21: Space Travel - A Reality Check
10: Has Mars Always Been Dead? 22: Terraforming a Planet
11: Evidence for Fossilized Life from Mars 23: The Future of Terrestrial Life
12: Could Life Ever Have Existed on Venus? 24: The Search for Another Earth

 

8-28-19 Are there any aliens out there? We are close to knowing for sure
Next-generation telescopes and new ways of detecting life on other planets are transforming the search for extraterrestrials. We may finally be about to find out if aliens exist. IT IS the biggest question in the universe: are we alone? Philosophers have debated the question for millennia. When 16th-century Italian astronomer and Dominican friar Giordano Bruno declared that the cosmos contained “an infinity of worlds of the same kind as our own”, he was directly contravening religious dogma. He was later burned at the stake during the Inquisition, in part for daring to question Earth’s unique status. The debate continues, in more restrained fashion, to this day. For some, the sheer size of the universe makes it unlikely that life formed only once. For others, the remarkable complexity of life on Earth is testament to its uniqueness. Until recently, vague philosophical answers of this kind were the best science could do. The signs of life were far too ambiguous to pin down for certain, and our nearest potentially habitable worlds were too small and distant to test. But for the first time in human history we are reaching the technological sophistication needed to provide a genuine answer. Powerful telescopes are letting us study planets in other solar systems, giving us a glimpse into their atmospheres and a flavour of what type of life might be living on their surfaces. At the same time, improved analysis of our own planet is allowing us to redefine what life might look like from afar, and is helping us to distinguish the signs of a flourishing alien civilisation from the mere geological rumblings of a lifeless world. With these tools at our disposal, answers are finally within our grasp. To understand my optimism, it is worth revisiting the work of astronomer Frank Drake. In 1961, Drake devised a formula to estimate how many advanced civilisations were capable of signalling their presence in the Milky Way. His eponymous equation depends on breaking down that big unknowable quantity into a number of more tractable ones that can be multiplied together, such as the number of stars in the galaxy and the fraction of those likely to have planets (see Quiet neighbourhood). (Webmaster's comment: Of course they have existed and some still do exist, but most self destruct after 10-20,000 years of destroying the planet they live on. Their selfish individual drive to survive and breed ensures destruction.)

Life in Our Universe
Lectures by Professor Laird Close

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Life in Our Universe for a completely
rational and logical discussion of the possibility of life on planets other
than our own, and on planets around other suns other than our own.