Last week we talked about the various ways that astronomers could detect the presence of intelligent civilizations by observing technosignatures. This week we’ll give you an update on the state of searching for extraterrestrials. This field has gone from a collection of pariahs to a completely legitimate field of research. What’s changed?
Ep. 611: What is Required to Confirm Alien Life: Intelligence Edition
Last week we talked about what it’s going to take to confirm basic biological life across the Solar System and the Milky Way. This week, we’ll discuss what it’s going to take to detect intelligent life out there in space.
Ep. 610: What is Required to Confirm Alien Life: Non-sentient Edition
Are we alone in the Universe? It’s one of the biggest scientific questions we can possibly ask. And yet, with rovers on Mars, missions planned to visit Europa and Ganymede. Powerful telescopes able to detect the atmospheres of exoplanets, we’re closer than ever to finding out the answer.
Ep. 586: Life as We Know It: Habitable Exoplanets & Extremophiles
As scientists continue to explore the Earth, they’re discovering life surviving and even thriving in extreme environments. What hints can this give us about what we might find as we search for life on other worlds?
Ep. 506: It’s not Aliens, Unless it’s Aliens
Did you hear that astronomers from Harvard think that the interstellar asteroid Oumuamua was actually an alien solar sail? Is it aliens? Of course it’s not aliens. But some day, it’ll actually be aliens.
Ep 388: Megastructures
This week astronomers announced an unusual transit signal from another star. Although it’s most likely a natural phenomenon, one remote possibility is that this is some kind of alien mega-structure. Freeman Dyson and others have considered this idea for decades. Today we’ll talk about the kinds of structures that aliens might want to build.
Ep. 346: Numbered Places: Area 51
Who knows what mysteries lurk at the military’s Area 51 complex in Nevada? Conspiracy theorists and UFO chasers think it’s a big alien cover-up. But it’s probably something more boring, like advanced military aircraft. Let’s talk about what we know, and what we think we know about this infamous military base.
Ep. 339: Space Conspiracy Theories
Yes, we actually landed on the Moon. No, aliens didn’t crash land at Roswell. What is it about space exploration that leads to so many conspiracy theories? We’ll try to get to the bottom of these conspiracy theories, poke holes in their ridiculous ideas and help you build your baloney detection kit.
Ep. 273: Solutions to the Fermi Paradox
In Episode 24 we presented the concept of the Fermi Paradox. In short: Where are all the aliens? Today we’re going to examine the theoretical solutions to this problem. Maybe they’re out there, but just don’t want to talk to us. Maybe it’s too hard to communicate? Maybe there are no other civilizations. Maybe civilizations wipe themselves out when they reach a certain point. So many solutions, none of them satisfactory.
Ep. 209: Exotic Life
We don’t like to cover news on Astronomy Cast, but sometimes there’s a news story that’s interesting, complicated, and rapidly unfolding – and it happens to cover an area that we haven’t talked much about. So today we thought we’d talk about the discovery of arsenic-based life, and exotic forms of life in general. Maybe we need to redefine our definition of life. Or maybe we just got introduced to some distant cousins.
Ep. 143: Astrobiology
We know there’s life in the Universe. We see it all around us here on Earth. But is there life anywhere else? By studying the extremes that life can take here on Earth, scientists are learning just how hardy and adaptable life can really be. And if you consider other ways that life might function, the options open up considerably. This week we’ll discuss the study of life – extreme life here on Earth, and the possibility of finding life on other worlds.
Ep. 110: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
You know what this show needs? More aliens. Since we don’t seem to have any visiting right now, we’re going to have to find some. SETI is an acronym. It stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. But there’s more to SETI than just putting up a radio telescope and hoping to catch a glimpse of an alien television broadcast.