Emerging insights from the new science of astrobiology paints a picture of a universe seeded with potential life. While astronomers discover new exoplanets every other week or so, biologists are finding unexpected life in some of the most inhospitable environments on earth. Together, their work is leading to a discovery most believe is inevitable: biological life on another planet. We talk with science writer Marc Kaufman, planetary scientists Dmitri Sasselov and Sara Seager, Vatican astronomer "Brother Guy" Consolmagno, and science fiction writer Orson Scott Card.
Are we alone in the universe? Almost certainly not. The young science of astrobiology is closing in on a discovery that will rock our world: there IS life beyond earth. New telescopes, new missions, and new discoveries in outer space and in the most remote areas of our own planet all point to one conclusion. Extra terrestrial life exists, and we're very close to finding it. Science writer Marc Kaufman explains what's changed.
Scientists are combing the universe for signs of exoplanets -- planets that orbit a star other than our sun. They're finding them in record numbers. Most believe it's only a matter of time before they find an exoplanet that can -- and perhaps does -- suppport life. Sara Seager is a planetary scientist at M.I.T. and one of the pioneers of the field.
From the tiniest microscopic particles to some of the biggest structures on earth, the new science of astrobiology is leading the way to the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe. Dimitar Sasselov explains why the creation of the world's first artificial cells will revolutionize lifeon our planet.
Guy Consolmagno is an American planetary researcher and a Jesuit priest. He's the curator of one of the world's great collections of meteorites, at the Vatican Observatory. He gets a lot of questions about how he can be both a priest and a scientist. Luckily, he has a sense of humor about it -- witness a recent appearance on the Colbert Report -- and believes science and religion can work together.
How will we react, the day we hear the news that scientists have found life on another planet? Science fiction writer Orson Scott Card has dreamed up many first contact scenarios. His classic science fiction novel, "Ender's Game" is all about the consequences of a first contact gone badly wrong. He's just published a long-awaited sequel.