The John N. Bahcall Lecture

Astrobiology and the Search for Life Beyond Earth

December 10, 2009 | 7:30pm
Presented Online | Museum in Washington, DC
Free, Tickets Required

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. The Museum's new observatory will be open for a special night-time star gazing. Don't miss this chance to see an array of celestial objects through a powerful professional telescope.

6:15 p.m. Free IMAX Film Presentation: Blue Planet

7:00 p.m. Meet the Lecturer Question and Answer

7:30 p.m. Lecture

Arrive early for the pre-lecture activities beginning at 6:00 p.m. 

For thousands of years, people have wondered, “Are we alone in the Universe?” At the dawn of planetary science, astronomers used telescopes to speculate about the possibility of life on Mars. Today, the search for life on Mars has intensified with the discovery of methane gas and evidence that liquid water—a requirement for all life as we know it—was once abundant on Mars’ surface. Farther away than Mars, Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moons Enceladus and Titan are intriguing astrobiology “laboratories” because the moons have liquids: water or liquid hydrocarbons. Beyond our solar system, exciting discoveries of planets orbiting other stars are fueling a huge hope that in the near future we will find habitable worlds and remotely observe signs of life in their atmospheres. Professor Seager will take us on a tour of the most promising places for life beyond Earth.

Dr. Seager holds a BS in math and physics from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D from Harvard University. Her research focuses on theoretical models of atmospheres and interiors of all kinds of exoplanets. She has introduced many new ideas to the field of exoplanet characterization, including work that led to the first detection of an exoplanet atmosphere. She is the 2007 recipient of the American Astronomical Society’s Helen B. Warner Prize.

After the Lecture: Book signing: Hubble: Imaging Space and Time, by David DeVorkin, space history curator

This lecture is part of the John Bahcall Lecture Series, which is organized by the Space Telescope Science Institute