Thursday, December 05, 2013

Alien Nation

Congress holds hearings on extraterrestrials:
"The chance that there's a planet like Earth out there with life on it is very high," Massachusetts Institute of Technology planetary science and physics Professor Sara Seager told the House Science Committee.

"The question is: Is there life near here, in our neighborhood of stars? We think the chances are good," she said, answering a question from Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, who asked: "Do you think there's life out there, and are they studying us? And what do they think about New York City?"

Seager was one of three Ph.D.-credentialed witnesses prominent in a scientific field once considered speculative who testified at a hearing called "Astrobiology: The Search for Biosignatures in Our Solar System and Beyond."

A biosignature is a substance -- such as an element, molecule or even a phenomenon -- that provides scientific evidence of past or present life.

Seager studies gases on distant planets that might indicate life.

The others testifying were NASA astrobiologist Mary Voytek and science historian and astrobiologist Steven J. Dick of the Library of Congress.
There's no intelligent life in Washington, so they'd never land there...

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