Are we alone in the universe?

Is Earth really the only life-sustaining planet in existence? These speakers think there might just be something or someone else out there, and urge us not to stop the search.

1. Jill Tarter’s call to join the SETI search

The SETI Institute’s Jill Tarter makes her TED Prize wish: to accelerate our search for cosmic company. Using a growing array of radio telescopes, she and her team listen for patterns that may be a sign of intelligence elsewhere in the universe.

2. Carolyn Porco: Could a Saturn moon harbor life?

Carolyn Porco shares exciting new findings from the Cassini spacecraft’s recent sweep of one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus. Samples gathered from the moon’s icy geysers hint that an ocean under its surface could harbor life.

3. Penelope Boston says there might be life on Mars

So the Mars Rovers didn’t scoop up any alien lifeforms. Scientist Penelope Boston thinks there’s a good chance — a 25 to 50 percent chance, in fact — that life might exist on Mars, deep inside the planet’s caves. She details how we should look and why.


4. Freeman Dyson: Let’s look for life in the outer solar system

Physicist Freeman Dyson suggests that we start looking for life on the moons of Jupiter and out past Neptune, in the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud. He talks about what such life would be like — and how we might find it.


5. Seth Shostak: ET is (probably) out there — get ready

SETI researcher Seth Shostak bets that we will find extraterrestrial life in the next twenty-four years, or he’ll buy you a cup of coffee. At TEDxSanJoseCA, he explains why new technologies and the laws of probability make the breakthrough so likely — and forecasts how the discovery of civilizations far more advanced than ours might affect us here on Earth.

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