2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the first experiment to search for extraterrestrial intelligence. In 1960, astronomer Frank Drake used a radio telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia to listen to two nearby stars. He heard nothing interesting, but the idea of searching for life beyond Earth was born.
Fifty years of searching for signals and occasional broadcasting of messages has not detected any transmissions that require intelligent alien authors. Either intelligent life is much more rare or short-lived than we expected or we are not looking in the right places with the right tools.
Life in the Universe takes a fresh look at this fifty-year-old question, looking forward from the big bang, in search of those special places that might harbor life, including all of the planets in our solar system. It’s a beautiful scenic tour of our universe through the eyes of astronomers looking for clues about the origin of life and the development of intelligence.
The vistas are breathtaking from stellar birth clouds like the Orion and Trifid Nebulas to the death throes of Eta Carinae and the mysterious surfaces of nearby planets, their moons and rings. Join the search and enjoy the adventure.
Life in the Universe is partially funded though a NASA public outreach grant directed by Dr. George Fox, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston.