Exoplanets and the search for life in the universe – with Chris Impey

Exoplanets are planets that orbit around a star, like our own Earth. These planets could be hiding life somewhere out in the universe - what does that mean for our world?


Exoplanets are planets that orbit around a star, like our own Earth. These planets could be hiding life somewhere out in the universe - what does that mean for our world?

Watch the Q&A here: https://youtu.be/tT0E7JWBCX0
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00:00 Intro – the search for life in the universe
04:20 How do we define life?
11:39 What about artificial intelligence and robot life?
14:51 Is there life on Mars, or other planets near us?
21:10 Searching for exoplanets
23:51 Are any exoplanets habitable by life?
27:56 What would it like on other planets?
31:04 How many habitable worlds might there be?
32:52 Nomad planets sailing through space
35:34 How would we find life on other planets?
39:28 Are we alone in the universe?
47:28 The analogy between technology and biology development
49:02 Imagining an Earth-like planet

There are over 5000 confirmed exoplanets and scientists believe the James Webb Space Telescope will discover many more. So as our planet faces increasing environmental challenges, this talk will explore the question: Could space be our salvation?

Chris takes us on a tour of the science behind this exciting frontier, from the basics of habitability to the role of private industry in space exploration, offering a glimpse into a future that's both exciting and uncertain.

This talk was recorded at the Ri on the 10 June 2023

Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He has over 220 refereed publications on observational cosmology, galaxies, and quasars, and his research has been supported by $20 million in NASA and NSF grants. He has won eleven teaching awards and has taught four online classes with over 370,000 enrolled and 6 million minutes of video lectures watched. Chris Impey is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society, and he has won its career Education Prize. He has written 100 popular articles on cosmology, astrobiology and education, two textbooks, a novel, and nine popular science books: 'The Living Cosmos', 'How It Ends', 'Talking About Life', 'How It Began', 'Dreams of Other Worlds', 'Humble Before the Void', 'Beyond: The Future of Space Travel', 'Einstein’s Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes', and 'Worlds Without End: Exoplanets' and 'Habitability and the Future of Humanity'.

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