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NASA To Discuss Search for Life in Solar System & Beyond - Tues. June 16

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posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 08:03 PM
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NASA has issued a press release for a discussion about the search for life in our Solar System and beyond:

From the press release:

NASA, University Researchers Discuss Search for Life in Solar System, Beyond



WASHINGTON, June 12, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA and university scientists will discuss at 2 p.m. EDT, Tuesday June 16, astrobiology research activities and technology that are advancing the search for evidence of habitability in our solar system and beyond. The briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency's website.

Briefing topics will include the quest for evidence of habitability and life on Mars, plans for exploring the habitability of Europa and Enceladus, and progress in identifying signs of habitability on exoplanets.

The briefing will be held during the 2015 Astrobiology Science Conference in Chicago June 15-19 in Salon A5 of the Hilton Downtown Chicago, located at 720 South Michigan Avenue.

Briefing participants are:

John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for Science at NASA Headquarters in Washington

Vikki Meadows, professor of astronomy and principal investigator at the University of Washington's Virtual Planetary Laboratory in Seattle

Britney Schmidt, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and principal investigator for the NASA-funded project Sub-Ice Marine and Planetary Analog Ecosystems

Alexis Templeton, associate professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and principal investigator for the NASA Astrobiology Institute Rock-Powered Life team

Media representatives not in attendance may submit questions to dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov.

Watch the briefing and conference sessions online at:

ac.arc.nasa.gov...

For more information about NASA's astrobiology activities, visit:

astrobiology.nasa.gov...

For NASA's activities in the solar system and beyond, visit:

www.nasa.gov...



edit on 12-6-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 08:11 PM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Psssssst, NASA? Look around you. They are here.



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 08:25 PM
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Just once, I wish they'd have these sorts of things within driving distance...

That's a lot of ocean in the solar system.

What I don't like is the seeming assumption that life is "unlikely". Seems to me, layman that I am, that they're closing out a lot of possible avenues of investigations...



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 08:26 PM
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Is it me or does Mimas look like the Death Star?
edit on 6/12/15 by proob4 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 08:31 PM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Is the conference open to anyone? Will you be attending
& reporting back here on ATS? Sounds exciting.

Cheers
Ektar



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 08:44 PM
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a reply to: Ektar

that would be cool.

Hope so.



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 08:58 PM
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originally posted by: Ektar
a reply to: JadeStar

Is the conference open to anyone? Will you be attending
& reporting back here on ATS? Sounds exciting.

Cheers
Ektar


It will be streamed live at the link listed above and no I will not be attending (like at AAS 225) but I will be watching it and reporting back to ATS.



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 09:00 PM
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originally posted by: proob4
Is it me or does Mimas look like the Death Star?


definitely the Death Star, lol.



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 09:03 PM
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originally posted by: seagull
Just once, I wish they'd have these sorts of things within driving distance...

That's a lot of ocean in the solar system.

What I don't like is the seeming assumption that life is "unlikely". Seems to me, layman that I am, that they're closing out a lot of possible avenues of investigations...


Trapped oceans like the ones on Ganymede and Callisto would be cut off from much that we think life would need based on everything we know about those two worlds. That's why it says unlikely rather than impossible.

There are better places to find life and if Ganymede and Callisto have life it would be EXCEPTIONALLY hard to get to, if it existed at all.



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 09:27 PM
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a reply to: JadeStar

But then again life doesnt have to be and probably(if it exists there)wont be life as we know it on good ole Gaia...



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 09:49 PM
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Things are really starting to move forward with space exploration, it's really exciting to see - I remember when we didn't know if there were other planets around other stars - suspected and assumed but didn't know.

And all we know now, and all we will learn!!

I still totally believe without a shadow of a doubt that NASA is holding out on us, I don't claim that the Tether incident proves anything, although it could - but there are a couple of NASA feeds that do show very anomalous objects and reactions from the Astronauts.

But obviously TPTB think they need to ease us into the idea of intelligent life in our galaxy and beyond, which is why we will soon be given evidence of microbial life somewhere in our solar system - probably Mars, and then I suspect like Seth Shostak predicted, once SETI'S Wide Field Array is completed, it won't take to long to intercept some communications from another civilization.

But think about this, NASA more than likely knew that there was water on the Moon for nearly 40 years before they announced it, just before Chandrayaan-1 could make the discovery first.

Doesn't give me much confidence.



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 09:57 PM
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Also very interesting that Pluto may have rings and an ocean/s, after being knocked from his highness Pluto has given us new mysteries to contend with.



posted on Jun, 12 2015 @ 11:53 PM
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originally posted by: Soapusmaximus
Also very interesting that Pluto may have rings and an ocean/s, after being knocked from his highness Pluto has given us new mysteries to contend with.


Pluto could be a very interesting place. We'll see soon thanks to New Horizons.

I predict we will discover that the 5 moons it has are not alone and there are smaller asteroidal type bodies and perhaps even a ring around it.

It's a dwarf planet but don't let that demotion fool you. It and other Kuiper Belt objects like Sedna, Quaor and Makemake are hella interesting since they are what is left over from the beginning of our solar system.



posted on Jun, 13 2015 @ 12:11 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar

It'll be interesting, that's a certainty.

Are there any missions being put forth to those Kuiper Belt bodies?



posted on Jun, 13 2015 @ 01:46 AM
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They can shove the conference up their asses. They hide and destroy photos of the good stuff. Screw u NASA.



posted on Jun, 13 2015 @ 02:09 AM
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originally posted by: proob4
Is it me or does Mimas look like the Death Star?


That's no moon...



posted on Jun, 13 2015 @ 03:06 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar

I am curious as to what changed NASA's focus with regards to ET. For the longest time NASA has maintained they weren't looking for ET. Now all of a sudden its in the news a lot and NASA is chatting it up.



originally posted by: jtrenthacker

originally posted by: proob4
Is it me or does Mimas look like the Death Star?


That's no moon...


its Megamaid...

edit on 13-6-2015 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 13 2015 @ 10:34 AM
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originally posted by: Xcathdra
a reply to: JadeStar

I am curious as to what changed NASA's focus with regards to ET. For the longest time NASA has maintained they weren't looking for ET. Now all of a sudden its in the news a lot and NASA is chatting it up.



originally posted by: jtrenthacker

originally posted by: proob4
Is it me or does Mimas look like the Death Star?


That's no moon...


its Megamaid...


I'm not sure why you say "For the longest time NASA has maintained they weren't looking for ET".

I mean, NASA has been on the cutting edge of looking for life elsewhere.

- As far back as 1965 when NASA sent the mariner 4 probe to Mars, they thought that they might find Mars to be a place that could support Earth-type life, possibly with rivers of flowing water. Mariner 4 instead showed a dry surface, but before that, NASA openly and publicly considered the possibility finding signs of Earth-type life.

- With the Viking landers in 1976, one of the key instuments was one that tested for life processes; however, it apparently found none. I say "apparently" because some think the testing method was flawed due to the fact that perchlorates present in the soil (which NASA did not know were there until decades later) could have skewed the results towards "negative" when they were heated.

- Back in the 1980s when Voyager showed that Europa could have an ocean under it, NASA openly speculated about the possibility of life in that ocean.

- Even with the various Mars rover missions over the past decade or two, the mission directive has been to "follow the water in search for life". NASA's entire Mars exploration program is mostly about looking to see if Mars had harbored -- or maybe still does harbor -- life.

- NASA's Kepler space telescope began being designed by NASA about 15 years (launched about 6 years ago), and its primary purpose was to look for habitable exoplanets


- Here's a paper written 12 years ago by NASA making the case for the possibility of bacterial life in the clouds of Venus. The papaer notes that there are certain imbalances in the chemical make-up of the atmosphere of Venus that may suggest biological processes:

Astrobiology: The Case for Venus
NOTE: The link opens directly to a PDF file

(Excerpt):

3.3 Present Life

Could bacterial life exist in the atmosphere of Venus today? Although this is considered unlikely, the possibility of life in the clouds or the middle atmosphere of Venus has not been ruled out by any observations made to date. While the atmosphere is both dry and acidic, extremophilic life has adapted to far more harsh conditions on Earth.

There is some evidence that the trace-gas constituents of the Venus atmosphere are not in chemical equilibrium with each other. On Earth, the primary source of disequilibrium in the atmospheric chemistry is the activities of biological processing; could disequilibrium on Venus also be a sign of life? In 1997, David Grinspoon made the suggestion that microbes in the clouds and middle atmosphere could be the source of the disequilibrium. In 2002, Dirk Schulze-Makuch independently proposed that observations of the Venus atmosphere by space probes showed signatures of possible biological activity.



- Another NASA article from 5 years ago discusses the possibilities for life on Titan:
What is Consuming Hydrogen and Acetylene on Titan?

In fact, NASA created an entire branch of its research -- started back in 1998 -- dedicated to looking for life elsewhere in the universe. It's called the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Here is their website:

NASA Astrobiology Institute


So NASA has been openly looking for life elsewhere for decades now. It's not a new thing for them.


edit on 6/13/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 13 2015 @ 11:53 AM
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originally posted by: seagull
a reply to: JadeStar

It'll be interesting, that's a certainty.

Are there any missions being put forth to those Kuiper Belt bodies?


Yes.

New Horizons which will fly by Pluto will be directed towards a Kuiper Belt Object following it's close encounter with Pluto.


NASA’s Hubble Telescope Finds Potential Kuiper Belt Targets for New Horizons Pluto Mission

Peering out to the dim, outer reaches of our solar system, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered three Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft could potentially visit after it flies by Pluto in July 2015.

The KBOs were detected through a dedicated Hubble observing program by a New Horizons search team that was awarded telescope time for this purpose.

“This has been a very challenging search and it’s great that in the end Hubble could accomplish a detection – one NASA mission helping another,” said Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission.

The Kuiper Belt is a vast rim of primordial debris encircling our solar system. KBOs belong to a unique class of solar system objects that has never been visited by spacecraft and which contain clues to the origin of our solar system.

The KBOs Hubble found are each about 10 times larger than typical comets, but only about 1-2 percent of the size of Pluto. Unlike asteroids, KBOs have not been heated by the sun and are thought to represent a pristine, well preserved deep-freeze sample of what the outer solar system was like following its birth 4.6 billion years ago. The KBOs found in the Hubble data are thought to be the building blocks of dwarf planets such as Pluto.

The New Horizons team started to look for suitable KBOs in 2011 using some of the largest ground-based telescopes on Earth. They found several dozen KBOs, but none was reachable within the fuel supply available aboard the New Horizons spacecraft.

“We started to get worried that we could not find anything suitable, even with Hubble, but in the end the space telescope came to the rescue,” said New Horizons science team member John Spencer of SwRI. “There was a huge sigh of relief when we found suitable KBOs; we are ‘over the moon’ about this detection.”

Following an initial proof of concept of the Hubble pilot observing program in June, the New Horizons Team was awarded telescope time by the Space Telescope Science Institute for a wider survey in July. When the search was completed in early September, the team identified one KBO that is considered “definitely reachable,” and two other potentially accessible KBOs that will require more tracking over several months to know whether they too are accessible by the New Horizons spacecraft.

This was a needle-in-haystack search for the New Horizons team because the elusive KBOs are extremely small, faint, and difficult to pick out against a myriad background of stars in the constellation Sagittarius, which is in the present direction of Pluto. The three KBOs identified each are a whopping 1 billion miles beyond Pluto. Two of the KBOs are estimated to be as large as 34 miles (55 kilometers) across, and the third is perhaps as small as 15 miles (25 kilometers).

The New Horizons spacecraft, launched in 2006 from Florida, is the first mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. Once a NASA mission completes its prime mission, the agency conducts an extensive science and technical review to determine whether extended operations are warranted.

The New Horizons team expects to submit such a proposal to NASA in late 2016 for an extended mission to fly by one of the newly identified KBOs. Hurtling across the solar system, the New Horizons spacecraft would reach the distance of 4 billion miles from the sun at its farthest point roughly three to four years after its July 2015 Pluto encounter. Accomplishing such a KBO flyby would substantially increase the science return from the New Horizons mission as laid out by the 2003 Planetary Science Decadal Survey.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, manages the New Horizons mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. APL also built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft.

For images of the KBOs and more information about Hubble, visit:

www.nasa.gov...

For information about the New Horizons mission, visit:

www.nasa.gov...




posted on Jun, 13 2015 @ 11:56 AM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

The examples you listed revolve around microbes / etc and not Extraterrestrial intelligent life.



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