The Earth is Not Alone | Alien Planet

The earth is not alone in the last few yearsScientists have found that our planet is just one of billions out there in the Milky Way galaxyThere’s a really decent chance that there are more planets in the galaxy than there actually are starsWe’re now scouring these planets for evidence of atmospheresliquid waterof life itselfWe are going to know where in the night sky you can point and find another earthWe have a scientific method to actually determine whether there is life on another planet anotherearthAlien life the truth is out there, but are we ready for it?The earth gives us the blueprint for life as we know itThe Sun warms our oceans creating the perfect environment for all scales of lifeFrom the very smallest to the Giants that eat themMountainsplanesand forests teen with plants and animal species andIt’s all cocooned in a thick atmosphere that nurtures and protects for us. It’s paradise20 years ago a group of scientists decided to find out if there were other paradises out thereso-called exoplanets orbiting the stars that light up our night skyJust in the last decade we’ve had this explosion in the discovery of these exoplanetsWhich has revolutionized the whole field of astronomyThe early days of exoplanet hunting turned up enormous jupiter-sized planets by the boatloadThese hot gas, each iins proved easy to find but hostile to life as we know itNow though new telescopes and technologies have allowed astronomers to target smaller planetsEarth-sized ones and the stunning results have transformed the way we see our place in the universeWe now know something precious that our planet Earth is not unique. It’s not even rare. There areTons hoards flocks if you will of other earth-like planets out there fluttering around the other starsSome stars probably have multiple earths orbiting them. That’s how common earth-like planets areWe owe this exoplanet explosion to a Space Telescope called Kepler theKepler space telescope is an observatory in space that is staring at one spot in the sky. It’s looking at roughly150,000 stars and it’s looking for the tell-tale sign ofPlanets orbiting those stars then every time the planet passes in front of the starit’ll block a little bit of that star light and if you plot the amount of light you get from the star it drops andThen goes back up as the planet passesIn just four years scientists have detected over a thousand exoplanets just from their shadowsBut Kepler has a problem. It can’t tell if the shadow is made by a giant gassy planet hostile to lifeor a potentially habitable earth-like planetWhat we’re measuring when a when a planet passes in front of its host star is what is the area of the planetRelative to the area of the star that it’s passing in front of it’s a it’s a ratio basicallyBut Jupiter sized planets crossing giant stars full KeplerBecause they block the same fraction of light as earth sized planets crossing smaller starsTo prove a planet is earth sized you first need to measure the size of its star using the world’s biggest telescopesBut that’s time-consuming expensive and it creates a hugeexoplanet backlogBut astronomer Kavon Stassen has come up with an ingenious shortcut by turning the raw Kepler data into soundwhat the Kepler telescope directly measures and the data that we use issmall changes in brightness that a star produces due to the flickeringArising from the boiling and roiling motions of gas at its surfacewhat we can do then is take that light flickering data andTransform it in a sound studio for example into audio frequenciesAnd so then we can represent with sound what we’re actually detecting with lightThe bigger the star the more its surface boils with activityMaking big stars flicker more powerfullyConverted to sound this boiling becomes a deafening hissWell, let’s listen to some stars, okay, can we hear the red giant star please? I’m gonna bring up the volume hereThis is a very large star very low densityand so that large amount of hiss is the result ofvigorous boiling and churning at the surface of this large red giant starCan we get the dwarf star, please?On smaller stars sunspots dominate the sound profile creating a low-frequency droneActually sounds like a series of clicksBut below clicks lies the faint hiss Kavon needs to size the starUnderneath it at a very low level is a little bit of hissThat little bit of is actually the light flickering that we’re interested inBy accurately measuring the level of this background hiss Kavon can work out the size of the starIn this case, it’s around the same size as our star the SunCave-ins work could be the breakthroughexoplanet hunters have been hoping forIt’s cheap. The results are practically instantaneousAnd once you know the size of the starFiguring out the size of the planets casting shadows overIt is child’s play it it feels like a very privileged time to be a scientist to be an astronomerWorking in this area and contributing to the hunt for the next earth. Here. We are actuallydiscovering these worlds by the hundreds and now on the cusp ofBeing able to identify the next earthAstronomers suspect there could be tens of billions of rocky earth-like planets in the Milky WayPlaces where perhaps life has gotten a footholdBut life as we know it requires waterHow can scientists possibly find this miracle substance on planets?light-years awayWater divides our living world goes with it prosperThose bounts sufferRemarkably the water we drink today contains the same atoms as the water dinosaurs drank 100 million years agoIt’s the same water that formed clouds over the earlier4 billion years ago and every organism that has ever existed on earthHas used this single ration of water as the biochemical powerhouse that keeps it aliveOn earth all life requires liquid water to grow and reproduceIt’s the common ecological requirement for life liquid water is just so good for getting evolution goingMolecules can dissolve in the water actually interact with each other for more complex chains. It does it with chargeThere’s positive charges and negative charges separated between the hydrogen and the oxygen in h2oThose charges break apart the hydrocarbons the carbon-based molecules that persist everywhere in natureNow that’s very rare. Hardly. Any other liquids do that?So liquid water is a natural starting place when you look out into the universe and say what planets could possibly have lifeTo understand how much liquid water is out there astronomers must first calculate how common water is in all its forms?Amazingly they find it everywhere they lookWater is incredibly common in its gaseous form. We see water vapor filling the space between the starsWe see it in clouds of material that are actually forming new stars and planets right nowSince water is a fundamental building block of stars and planets exoplanet worlds must surely have it in abundanceBut if you’re looking for lifeYou need to find liquid water and plenty up to find it astronomers take their cue from a fairy taleEverybody knows the famous story of Goldilocks and the three bears and the the cup of porridge where one was too hot one was tooCold it was just rightWhen it comes to cooking up life like a porridge, you need to have an environment. That’s not too hot not too coldjust right andTraditionally we look for that at a certain distance around a starAt first astronomers based this magical distance known as the Goldilocks zone on the Earth’s orbit around the SunBut as they found more and more exoplanets, they’ve had to re-evaluate the boundaries from liquid waterThere isn’t a single distance. It depends on the brightness of your parents a dim star. You need to be closerHot star very bright need to be farther awayScientists have calculated just how many rocky planets may lie within the Goldilocks zone of their starsIt comes out to over 30 billionpotentially watery worldEven more remarkablyRecent discoveries have shown us. It’s not just planets that can bask in the warmth of the Goldilocks zoneThere may be moonspainted blue with oceans -Most of the planets were finding our big jupiter-sized planetsHowever, a lot of them were are orbiting roughly where the earth is orbiting the SunSo even if the planet that we’re finding can’t support lifeIt could have a moon a moon with an atmosphere that could support lifeAnd the biggest of these rocky moons they resemble our homeThere could be billions upon billions of XA means out there and even perhaps countless paradises teeming with lifeDavid kipping searches for exomoons by looking for double dips in the brightness of distant starsWe look for XA means in a very similar way to the way that we look for planetsby looking for them transit their host starNow if that planet had a moon then we should expect to have one big dipDue to the planet and then one smaller deputy to the left or to the right due to the newHabitable exomoons may play host to one of the most spectacular sights in the universeImagine a warm rocky world just like arrow with oceans mountainsBut in the sky a massive ringed planet with a fiery sister moon shooting hot magma into spaceExoplanets, and now the vast potential ofexomoonsInt a galaxy filled with the possibilities for lifeBut a rocky surface and liquid oceans may not be enoughBiology needs the breath of lifeairBacklit by the Sun a halo appears around the earth apale blue ring of light our atmosphere andWe oh, it’s everythingThe Earth’s atmosphere provides the gases that fuel the biochemistry of advanced lifeBut it also protects the oceans from the full fury of the sun’s rayspreventing the water from boiling away into spaceWithout an atmosphere there would be no wind. No rain. Nofresh water and probablyNo lifeAtmospheres are absolutely essential for lifeTake a look at the planet Earth and you realize that just like the skin of the Apple?The skin of the Apple preserves the Apple. Well the atmosphere of our planetPreserves the oceans and makes possible the presence of life as we know itScientists in search of living exoplanets. Hope to detect the thin gassy envelope that should surround these alien worldsTo do it. They’re turning to the power rainbowsIn the same way that water splits Sun lights into a rainbowastronomers use instruments to split starlight into a band of colours called a spectrumIt’s one of the oldest tricks and scienceand one of the most revealingSeveral hundred years ago scientists first began to take something like a prism and put it in front of their telescopeSo he started taking the light from stars like the Sun and actually spreading it out into a spectrumAnd what they saw was kind of surprising. So instead of seeing andreen continuous rainbow of lightThey saw that rainbow but they saw these dark lines superimposed on topEach chemical elements of the star’s atmosphere absorbs different parts of the spectrumcreating signature dark bandsFor instance up at the top. There’s a pair of lines in the yellow part of the spectrum which are due to sodiumLike a DNA profile for starsSpectral analysis has taught us almost everything we know about stars todayBut these same lines may hide a marvelous secretthe faint signal of alien atmospheres andperhaps alsoalien lifeso the challenge is that these planets are very small and very faint so we can’t actually go andDirectly measure the light emitted from the planet the same way that you go and measure this lovely spectrum for the SunInstead we have to rely on more indirect methodsSo one indirect way of doing that is to wait until the planet passes in front of the starWhen the light of a star passes through an EXO atmosphereThe gases that surround the planet should stamp their own faint lines on the star’s spectrumSo as we watched the light from the star transmitted through that atmosphere its atmosphere is going to act like a little filterso a part of the star light is going to pass through that atmosphere and we’re gonna see thatIn printing extra lines on it, which are due to the planet’s atmosphereSo that change in the spectrum tells us something about the properties the planet’s atmosphereThe one chemical astronomers most want to find is oxygenBecause only life can produce enough oxygen to be easily detectedIt’s a so-called bio signatureThe race is now on to find bio signatures in the atmospheres of rocky exoplanetsAnd while some groups look for rainbowsIndirectly others are tackling the challenge head-onAll rightThen Oppenheimer is part of a team trying to take direct photographs of exoplanetsusing massive ground-based telescopesWe’re within minutes of taking our first long exposure and I hope it’s goodThe greatest challenge to imaging exoplanets is the blinding light of the parent starWhich shines tens of millions of times brighter than the planet itself?The trick is to stop the light of the star from entering the telescope sensors by blocking it using a series ofMasks and lenses called a coronagraphRight now we’re standing right?Underneath the telescope’s primary mirror and the light comes through a hole in the middle of the mirror and goes into thisCrazy box here, which is full of optics motorsSensors and electronics that all allow us to precisely control the star light that’s coming through the systemUsing state-of-the-art software they manipulate the coronagraph to black out the unwanted light under good conditionsWe can actually carveDark holes into this image of the star so that we can see really faint things in those regionscoronagraphs present an intriguing problem thougherrors within the optics produce tiny flares of starlight called speckles that look just likeExoplanets, but van has come up with an ingenious way to tell speckles from planetsSo we’ve developed a technique where we exploit an aspect of specklesWhich is that they change position in the image, depending on what color you take your image at?So Ben takes the same image of the star through different color filters andRuns them like a movie the speckles appear to move across the screenBut the planets stay stuck still allowing Ben to easily pick them outAnd so I’d like to point out that there is a little thing right hereThat if you watch for you’re careful, you’ll notice that it doesn’t move and the speckles are washing over itThis stationary blob is a candidate exoplanetAnd below it and to the left is a second. They both appear to orbit a star around 200 light-years from the earthJust a decade ago capturing an image like this through a telescope was unthinkableBut today thanks to the ingenuity of astronomers like Ben we have hundredsAnd by analyzing the light for these distant worlds scientists can work out their chemical compositionAnd potentially the fingerprints of lifeAt this point we’re studying much larger planetsGaseous things like Jupiter that most likely don’t have any kind of lifeLike we know it but that’s a first step and we’re going to fainter and smaller and smallerPlanets as time goes on as we develop this technologyIn the not-too-distant futureScientists may be able to simply scan a star for earth-like planets and find the signature of life thereWe can look right at the light from a little planet around its distant star and that opens up a whole range of possibilitiesFor us to not just detect the planet but to study the planetI mean this all sounds like science fiction, but there is a reality to thisWe have a scientific method to actually determine whether there is life on another planetLife is one thingintelligent lifeanother all together that requiresBillions of years and a powerful force field like the one we owe our lives to every dayIf an alien astronomer were to file a report on our home solar system they might make a surprising observationBecause of all the eight planets that orbit the Sun they could easily conclude that – not one were suitable for lifeIt’s an easy mistake to make because the Sun has two planets within its Goldilocks zone the Earth and MarsBoth planets have surfaces warm enough for liquid water to pool onBut while the earth is blessed with warm liquid oceansOurs is dry and deadThe one crucial difference between these two planets could be the key to finding truly habitable exoplanets amagnetic shieldOur Sun is constantly hurling deadly radiation out towards usOnly our magnetic shield the magnetosphere saves usWithout it the solar wind would blow our atmosphere away and without an atmosphere liquid water could not exist on the surfaceIn order to have liquid water not only do you need the right temperature, but you need the right pressureYou know if there were no atmosphere here right nowEven at the same temperature we are today all of the water would boil off into vapor immediatelySo where does the Earth’s magnetosphere come from and why does it Mars have one?Actually in the past both Earth and Mars had magnetospheresBut Mars lost its around 4 billion years ago and with it the potential for lifeBoth the earth and Mars were born into a realm of violenceAsteroids smashed into their surfaces turning rock and metal into a molten massAs they started to cool a solid crust formed on the surface but the molten metal belowChurned as the planets turnInducing a magnetic field which rose high up above the surface of both planetsAt the same time active volcanoes pumped gas into the space around each planetProtected by the newly formed magnetic field these gases built up into thick atmospheresCreating the air pressure for liquid water to run on the surfaceFor over a hundred million years both Mars and Earth were warm wet paradises primed for life to take offThen quite suddenlyMars’s magnetic protectionDisappeared the solar wind blew its atmosphere into space and its oceans boiled away leaving the drySterile, red rock we see todayMars is fundamental problem is is that it’s smaller than Earth and because it’s smaller the internal core of Mars cooled down andSolidified and once it becomes a solid metal. There’s no more magnetic field the magnetic field shuts off essentially andthe atmosphere therefore is vulnerable to both energy and radiation from the Sun and the rest of the galaxy andProbably just blew offWhatever life was on there, at least on the surface was now completely exposedAll rocky planets will one day lose their magnetospheres as their cores cool and turn solidSo to know if an exoplanet is alive you need to work out if its magnetosphere is still active butMagnetospheres are tough to measure because they are unbelievably weakThe earth has a magnetic field of approximately half a GaussWhich when you think about it is actually really weak. Our fridge magnets are about a hundred Gauss. They’re much strongerExcel planets are too far away for us to measure such weak magnetic fields directlyBut there is an indirect methodWhen electrons in the solar wind interacts with a planet’s magnetosphere they emit radio waves that beam out into spaceTurning the planet into a giant radio beaconAstronomers like of geniu hoped to use these signals to spot habitable exoplanetsNot only that the frequency of the signal should also tell her how big the planet isIf we’re looking for the magnetic signature in radio waves of a giantplanet say a hot JupiterWe expect it to have a strong magnetic field and therefore it would have a high frequencyAnd around 100 megahertz kind of where the limit of this radio isHowever, a weaker field like Earth’s requires us to go down to lower and lower frequenciesSo instead of a hundred megahertz we go down to ten megahertzBut hunting for exoplanets at 10 megahertz presents a unique challengeBecause the Earth’s own magnetic sphere creates a deafening radio roar at that frequencySo to find alien Earth’s using radio requires a dish in spaceWhen we want to look for magneto spheres of extrasolar planets, we really need to get outside of the earth-moon systemIn order to get away from all the radio frequencies that are bouncing around the earthWith a slew of new technologies and upcoming technologiesScientists are edging ever closer to the ultimate prizeFinding a second earthI wouldn’t be surprised if we have that data about an earth and about life on it around another star in 10 or 15 yearsI’m hoping to see that soonUsing shadowsRainbows and now radio we finally have the tools to detect a planet just like our ownBut in the rush to find the Earth’s identical twin are we missing something bigWhat if earth is an outlier a freakishly lucky place on the very fringes of habitabilityCould there be another kind of planet out there even better for life?For years astronomers have scanned the heavens for planets that could sustain lifeThey’ve faced their search on the earth seeking the exact same conditions an exact same size IThink right now there is a huge focus to finding earth-likePlanets now whether or not there actually is life there. That is another question all togetherBut after 20 years of searching for an earth clone, the exoplanet hunters may be about to switch targetsRecent observations have revealed a brand new class of planet. It’s one that may eclipse our own homeWe’ve learned something in the last few years that really shocked us withThe Kepler space porn telescope we have found hordes of planets that are a little bigger than the earthWe never imagined that there would be such planets. In fact in our own solar systemThere are no planets between the size of the earth and the next largest planet that of Uranus and NeptuneAstronomers call these mysterious planets super EarthsSuper earths are about three to five times the mass of the earth, and there’s nothing like that hereWe don’t know what they’re like, it’s an entirely alien sort of planetIn just the last few yearsAstronomers have begun to imagine the conditions on this new class of planet and they’ve come to a startling conclusionsuper earths could besuper habitableThere are probably planets out there that are even more hospitable for lifePlanets that have even more chemicals necessary to create the organic materials that create lifeConditions that make it more likely to get life off the groundImagine a rocky planet twice the size of the earthDramatic volcanism on the surface betrays a vast heart of fire that beats within its coreWe expect that a heavier earth will be more geologically activethat the increased amount ofGeothermal heat within the super earth will lead to strongermotions of the magma underneath the crustBelching volcanoes dot the surface of this super earthTheir gases feed a super thick atmosphere and help to regulate a super stable climateMany times life on Earth was nearly extinguished for example once upon a time the earth was snowball earthcompletely covered in icemaybe in these other planets there are earth in whichSnowball earth never happened that the climate was always stable and temperateThe grip of gravity is three times stronger here than we’re used toIt pulls mountain ranges down to a third the height, they’d be on earthGravity also flattens the ocean bed making shallower seas filled with volcanic island chains andThe nutrient-rich waters that surround these archipelagos provide the perfect conditions for lifeIn these other planets perhaps they have conditions which would make DNA get off the ground much earlier and flourish much more quicklyFinally our super earth may be protected by a super magnetosphere theMagnetic field strength is a condition both of the mass of the planet as well as itsrotation speed and so it is quite likely that a planet that is a couple of times bigger than the earths wouldBe able to develop a stronger magnetic field may shield the planet even better than our magnetic field shields usHaving a stronger magnetosphere would be a distinct advantage for life on a super earthSurrounding the Milky Way’s most plentiful kind of star the M dwarf or red dwarf starRed dwarf habitable zones are much closer in than the earth is to the Sun because their host star is so dimit’s as if you took the terrestrial planets in our own solar system and zapped it with a shrink ray gun andShrunk them down to orbital periods that are less than about 30 days meaning that they’re very close to their starsSome astronomers believe these planets are at risk from solar activity such as deadly flaresBut a super-earth with a super protective magnetosphereMay well resist these deadly raysallowing life to flourish under a psychedelic sky full of swirling Aurora’sIf one was standing on a super-earth we would see the Aurora come down to lower latitudesMight get different colorsIf I had the opportunity to travel to one of these exoplanets, I would snap that up pretty quicklyMost intriguing of all if life does exist on a red dwarf super earth, it could be home to the longest-livedcivilizations in the entire universe theAdvantage of the M Dwarfs is that they last for much longer and if you had a super earth then keeping a strong magnetic fieldGoing for billions and billions of yearsEspecially now around a red dwarf that is going to exist for billions and billions of yearsYou might be in that perfect system where life can exist and evolve into even more complex beings than usWe’re getting so closeOur local neighborhood of stars teens with red dwarfs bursting with the potential for advanced lifeBut they’re alsoCosmic killers out there lurking in our galaxy primed to wipe out life on a regular basisIs anywhere safe?The exoplanet revolution is in full swingthe Kepler space telescope has scanned our local neighborhood of stars for planets and it’s found them by thethousandsFor a long time we didn’t know if the other stars in our galaxy had planets and for thousands of yearsThere was no way to answer that questionFinally now with modern technology we can do that and to our surprise we found they are extremely commonFrom Kepler’s small sample astronomers believe there could be tens of billions of rocky earth-likeplanets throughout the Milky Way where life may already be thrivingBut how many of these countless worlds has held on to this life long enough for intelligence to evolveThe answer surprisingly may depend on a planet’s galactic zip codeThe universe is not a happy safe place the universe wants to kill usIt’s it’s incredibly violent out thereThere are solar flares and supernovae and black holes and colliding galaxies and all these really amazingly dangerous and violent eventsIt’s actually kind of amazing that we’re here at allIn order to developAdvanced intelligent life and exoplanets may have to avoid these cosmic killers for over three billion yearsIf we look at the history of the earth the first thing that happensThat’s important is the origin of life right away very quickly, but then nothing for a long timeYou have nothing but microbes stopping on the earthFor the first two and a half billion years the earth was ruled bysingle-celled BeautyMulticellular life has only been around for a billion yearsfish for 500 millionmammals for 200 million andModern humans have only walked the earth for the last200,000 yearsThe lesson is clear it takes a long time to cook up intelligent lifeBut most planets in the Milky Way don’t have that kind of timeAstronomers believe that a planet’s position within a galaxy may determine if it gets hit by global extinction eventsThere’s an idea of a habitable zone for a galaxy and it’s in analogy to the habitable zone around starsStars too close to the galactic center are in the firing line from their violent neighborsWhich frequently blast them with deadly high-energy radiation?In the middle of a galaxy we have a lot ofBright stars and young stars and maybe even supernova going off. And so there’s a very harsh radiation field. That’s not good for lifeFired up by the supermassive black hole that sits at the center of the Milky Waythis cosmic Killzone stretches out around8,000 light years from the galactic center and extends out along the densely packed spiral armsAny planets that exist within this zone are likely to have their surfaces regularly scrubbed clean of lifeFortunately for us our home star the Sun sits in a relatively emptyquiet zone between two of the galaxy’s spiral armsSo there’s this idea that there’s a band in the middle of the galaxyThat’s the Galactic habitable zone where you don’t have too many stars going off. You don’t have it too many supernovaeSo it’s quiet in that way. Those might be great places for complex lifeThese green zones are like the suburbs of the Milky Way galaxyThey’re sheltered from the worst of the galaxy’s radiationIt’s here that earth-like worlds will have the luxury of long uninterruptedperiods for life to take hold and develop into more complex forms and eventually perhapsintelligent life like usThe Galactic habitable zone is no more than a fledgling theoryBut if it’s true, it reduces the number of places where advanced life could flourish in the Milky WayThe good news is those places should be near us and aliens more likely to be on our doorstep andWith our technology getting better every day. It surely won’t be long before we find themIThink in 20 years time I’m gonna be able to look up into the night sky and say there really isAnother place. I could stand like this and feel at homeSuddenly we humans will realize for the first time that there are other cultures other civilizations probably other religionsOut there among the stars and we are just one member of a grand galactictribeto havecousins that we one day may communicate with seems to me to be potentially one of the greatest developments that humanity will ever everexperience andIf that isn’t worth doing I don’t know. What isAll systems are go for entry descent landing Jim, bye-byeAt the dawn of the 21st century space agencies in Europe and AmericaBegan, making plans to land the first humans on MarsBut manned missions to the red planet have been proposed beforeFor some Mars holds the answers to mankind’s future in spaceOthers say Mars is too far too dangerous and too expensive for humans to exploreAnd in a world torn by troublesSome say there is no need or will for mankind to reach into space anymoreMore than 30 years after the last Apollo astronaut walked on the moonthe American manned space programSeems to have lost its wayUnable to reach beyond even in low-earth orbitWe’ve got a problem NASA has been literally going around in circles with its space program for the past 30 yearsAstronautica engineer, dr. Robert ZubrinHas been arguing for years that sending humans to Mars is the mission the space program needsIt’s time that we set goals for NASA that were worthy of the risks of human spaceflightMars is the next logical step in our space programIt’s the challenge that’s been staring us in the face for the past 30 years. It’s the planet that’s most likely earthIt’s the planet that has on it. The resources needed to support life and therefore someday technological civilizationIt’s the planet that will provide us with the answer as to whether life isprevalent in the universe or exclusive to the earth and it’s the planet that will give us the critical test whether humanityCan break out of the planet of our birth and become a spacefaring speciesIn the early 1990s Zubrin was the head of the Mars direct program at Martin Marietta astronauticsHis team developed a mission to Mars that could be done at a fraction of NASA’s projected costsUsing only existing technology Zubrin argues that the first steps on Martian soil could be made within 10 yearsThere is absolutely nothing in this that is beyond our technologyWe are not ready to send humans to Mars right now, we don’t know how to keep them aliveThere are people out there who say we can go to Mars tomorrowOne of my requirements one of NASA’s requirements is that if we send humans to Mars we bring them back aliveFor the past 15 yearsZubrin and his colleagues have waged a campaign to convince society and the political class that humans on MarsShould be the goal for NASA nowThis is the story of a cold neighboring planet and the debate over whether man’s fate is tied to the red worldIt’s the story of an engineer’s journey and the Battle of ideas over which direction in space will truly benefit mankindWe’re at a crossroads todayWe either muster the courage to go or we risk the possibility of stagnation in the caseThe victor in this debate could determine the fate of mankind?Will we become a spacefaring species?Will we live on more than one planetIn the winter of 2003 the Chinese put their first tycoon all in spaceThe Chinese space administration plans to begin a manned program of moon exploration by 2017The european space agency has outlined a plan for humans to the moon by 2024 and to mars by 2033And the Russians building on years of experience are conducting tests for long-duration Mars missionsIn America with the impending retirement of the shuttle fleet in the completion of the International Space StationThe brochure administration announced in 2004 the constellation programOn the moon a plan that would return Americans to the moon by 2020But the program was never fully funded was eventually cancelledIn 2010 the Obamaadministration announced its vision for NASA and human Mars exploration by the mid 2030sI believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to earth andlanding on Mars will followAnd I expect to be around to see itWith a new timeline for humans to Mars sometime after 2035 and with administration’sChanging every four or eight years. It is far from certain that such a plan will be realizedTwenty years earlier the first president Bush also proposed a long interview man exploration programunder great fanfareThe program quietly died in Congress a few years laterifYou want to go to Mars? You cannot do it in 30 years you can’t do in 20sYou’ve got to do it in ten years or less from program start or you’re more or less guaranteeingpolitical failureto date only the Apollo moon programWhich was announced in 1961 and had men on the moon eight years later has succeeded in getting astronauts beyond low Earth orbitIWas 5 when Sputnik flewand while to the adultsSputnik was a terrifying event to me as a child who was already reading science fictionit was exhilarating because it meant that this possibility of a spacefaring future was going to be real andI was 9 when he gave his speech committing us to the moonIGrew upDuring the 60sWhen it was mercury was Gemini Apollo?Every month NASA was doing something more impressive than in a month before we were gonna be on the moon by 1970Mars by 1980 Saturn by 1990 Alpha Centauri by the year2000 we were moving out and I wanted to be part of thatAnd so I got myself a scientific education, but then in the early 70s, it’s all collapsedWe achieved the first part of that program moon by 1970 but the NixonAdministration shut down the rest and we did not move out into space and for a while. I accepted thatgrudgingly it became a science teacher but then in the early 80s something hit me and I said I’mNot going to accept myselfDoing less than what I had dreamed of doing when I was a boyZubin went back to graduate school getting advanced degrees in engineering into aerospaceHe then went on to work at Martin Marietta, which later became Lockheed Martin designing interplanetary missionsIt was here that zubrin’s obsession with the red planet began to take holdWhile at Martin in the 1990s Zubrin and his colleagues developed a plan for sending humans to MarsThat changed NASA’s thinking on the issueBut the plan has languished on the drawing boards ever sinceNow as president of the Mars Society Zubrin is at center stage in the debate over the future of manned spaceflightKnown as a smart visionary scientist. He’s authored several books on exploring spaceAnd is the self-appointed spokesman for the possibility of colonizing Mars?Mars is where the futurist Mars is the closest planet to the earth that has honored all the resources needed to support life and thereforeTechnological civilization it has water it has carbon it has nitrogens. It has a 24-hour dayIt has a complex geological history that has created mineral org, it has sources of geothermal energyMars is a place we can settleOne reason for such optimism over a frozen world like Mars isEvidence that two billion years ago Mars was a much warmer and wetter placeWe think that at one time in the ancient past Mars was very similar to the condition of early EarthThis Martian war mage lasted for over a billion years and could have been a suitable environment for the development of lifeIf we go to Mars and find evidence of a second Genesis on Mars, I think we can conclude thatThe universe is full of lifeWe can probably conclude that on some planets that life evolves to more complex forms, and I think we’d be reasonable to conclude thatIntelligence could also emerge on some planets as well. It really does answer the question. Are we alone?That to me is a question that transcends science. It’s a philosophicalSocietal as well as scientific question to me. That’s the big prize. That’s what why Mars is interestingThat’s why human exploration makes senseSpace programs are often criticized for the huge sums of money. They requirealthough the American space program is less than 1% of the federal budget aHuman mission to Mars may have to wait for better timesThere are those who say then we have many problems to deal with here on earth and we need to postpone venturesSuch as the human exploration on Mars until these problems are solvedwell, there are many problems in Spain in 1492 andthere still areThere are problems that need to be dealt with here on earth and should be dealt withBut we also have to think of the futureWe also have to think about opening up new volumes in human historyIBelieve that it’s essential for a positive human future that humanity expand into spaceThe greatest value that we got out of Apollo was the creation of intellectual capital through the inspiring ofMillions to go into science and engineering to be part of the great adventure of human expansion into spaceThere’s a phrase that happened with the Apollo programWhich was if we can go to the moon we canAnd then everybody’s filled in whatever they were interested in build mass transit cure cancer do this through thatThe point is it did give us a sense that we could accomplish great things. It did bring out the best of usWe excited a generation of engineers and scientistsThe generation that built the computers and cell phones and all the technology everybody uses todayIt takes for granted if we send humans to Mars as our goal, we’ll get millions of new scientists that will create newinventions newIndustries. This is the enormous payback and we can get it if we set the kind of challenge that will inspire the newsTo Zubrin civilizations like people thrive on challengeDecay without it. We have everything we have today because of our predecessorswho had the courage to leave the world of the known and go out into the wilderness and build new cities andIf we stop being people like thatThen we will hand down much less to our posterityThat our ancestors handed down to usSo there’s the choice in life one either grows or one decays grow or die I think we should growHistory proves that we have never lostby pressing the limits of our frontierIn the summer of 1989 the first president Bush announced the space exploration initiativeDirecting NASA to draw up long-term plans to get humans back to the moon and begin developing a program of manned MarsexplorationAt Martin Marietta Zubrin and his colleagues looked forward to moving NASA’s Space Programoutwards after two decades in low-earth orbit ofCourse, we were very excited when Bush made his call saying that he was making a national commitment to implement such a programNASA assembled a large team to take on the space initiativeIn 90 days the team developed a 30-year plan that required an enormous buildup of space infrastructureWhat the NASA bureaucracy?decided to do was basicallyDesign the most complex mission they possibly could in order to make sure that everyone’s pet technology would remain mission-criticalWhich is the exact opposite of the correct way to do engineeringFirst NASA would triple the size of the planned space station and add enormous hangars as well as free-floating fuel depots checkoutDocs and crew stations then on the moon. They would construct more shipbuilding facilitiesbases and depotsNext the moon crew would construct the Mars ship a huge craft dubbed by its detractors as BattlestarGalactica this ship would carry everything to Mars over an 18-month flightOnce in Mars orbit, a small group would descend to the surfaceSpend a few days then plant a flag in the ground and go homeThe plan became known as the 90-day reportto those of us at Martin who had been engaged in designing Mars missions when they saw theMonstrosity of complexity of the 90-day report we were dismayed and it was readily apparent to anyone with any insight that that program would failPolitically the plan was submitted to Congress the estimated cost450 billion the legislators went into sticker shockThis would have been the single most expensive program for the United States since World War twoBy the end of 1990 Congress had refused all requests for sei fundingWhen the realization came the sei was doomed Zubrin wrote a memo to his colleagues at Martin Marietta outliningHis problems with the NASA plan and arguing for a more direct approachZubrin favored launching a Mars mission directly from the surface of Earth using only existing rocket technologyThis negated the need for a lunar base and avoided the complexity and cost of building ships in spacehe also objected to NASA’s plan for a short surface stay on Mars aMission that would amount to little more than a flag and footprints exerciseTo Zubrin we were going to Mars to explore and develop a new worldTo maximize surface time Zubrin proposed using a faster flight path known as a conjunction class missionThis would mean a crew could arrive on Mars after only a six-month journeyThey would then remain on the Martian surface for a year and a halfThis would give the team time to explore a wide area and conduct detailed research about the planetThen as the earth returned window opens crew would launch from Mars the six-month trip homeZubrin was convinced that a simplified more robust and cost-effective mission could be designed using these principlesAlong with several like-minded colleagues Zubrin decided to ask management at Martin to allow them to design alternative Mars missionsThe management approvement andWe formed a teamWas known as the scenario development team of just 12 people from the whole very large Martin companyOne team member whose thinking was closely aligned with zubrin’s was David BakerI went off to my office and said alrighthow would I do a Mars mission if I had to pay for it, and I had to go on the ride andI said well it’s going to be simple. There’s gonna be no on-orbit assemblyI really tried to take everything out of the mission that didn’t absolutely need to be thereWhile the rest of the team focused on longer-term more traditional mission plans that required on-orbit assemblyZubrin and Baker decided to collaborate on a mission that could be done near-termWe decided to do Mars the way Lewis and Clark did AmericaOkay, use local resources travel light live off the landZubrin and Baker were convinced that a Mars mission could be launched directly from the groundThe other team members felt this was impossible that the weight of the rocket fuel required for a round trip to MarsWas so enormous it would render the launch ship impossibly heavyTo solve this problem Zubrin was exploring a radical idea that had been kicked around the aerospace industry since the 1970sThe idea was to produce a methane-oxygen rocket fuel directly from the Martian atmosphereIt was a relatively simple and robust Chemical Engineering procedure that was done commonly in the 1800s the air of the gas lifeIf the idea worked astronauts could land a relatively light ship with empty tanksThey wouldn’t have to ship all the fuel with them for their return tripThis would radically lower their size and weightThe only problem was methane-oxygen fuel requires a hydrogen componentHydrogen exists on Mars in the form of h2o but water may be difficult or impossible to extract from the Martian environmentReally the hydrogen was only 5% of the total weight of the methane-oxygen propellantBeing manufactured so you just say, okayWe won’t be pure we all get all of the propellant from Oris will just get 95% of the propellant from MarsThe other 5% of the hydrogen will just bring from EarthAnother fundamental resource that could be extracted from the Martian environment is oxygenSecond processing unit could separate oxygen molecules from the thin carbon dioxide atmosphereproviding breathable air for a Mars crewIf used intelligentlyThe same resources that make Mars interesting are preciselyWhat could make it attainable?Baker and Zubrin had greatly reduced their mission massBut they still found their ship was too heavy and would require two launches and assembly in spaceThen Zubrin hit on an ideaOne of the keyEvents of the Mars directive element was one morning Bob burst in my office and said I’ve got it the idea that I finally hitonIn 1989 was that we had split the mission up into two parts and we’d send the return vehicle out firstwith its own return propellant plantSo the propellant would be made on Mars before the first astronauts ever left herWith two separate direct Amar’s launches a human crew would have a fully fueled ship waiting for them on the surface of Marsbefore they ever left EarthSo Zubrin and Baker had come up with a plan that seemed to accomplish all of their goals, it was relatively inexpensiveDevelopment time was short, they could use existing technology and it allowed for a long stay on the Martian surfaceThey dubbed their idea Mars directBoard and Ares rocket is the earth return vehicle or ERVNo one has aboard this shipIt will pave the way for the astronauts who years later. We’ll use the ERV to return to EarthOn its second day the ERV deploys a small nuclear power reactorThe reactor powers a chemical plant inside the ERVThe plant will produce the methane-oxygen rocket fuel for the launch homeNearby a second robotic rover is guided to a pre-picked landing site for the human crewit places a radar transponder to help guide the astronauts in thelong journey to land a human being on Mars beginsThree two one engineCarrying the most skillfully assembled flight team in history four astronauts begin their two and a half year mission to the Red PlanetThis will be the first time a human has gone beyond the earth-moon system250 million miles farther than any person has ever beenTo counter the health problems of zero-gravity and to fully acclimate the astronauts to Mars the ship will deploy a weighted tetherattached to the last stage of the spent rocket boosterBy thrusting the ship into a rotational spin the counterweight of the rocket will create centrifugal force andThus artificial gravityThe crew will be able to live with their feet planted firmly on the floor during their six-month transitBut the hab is not entirely alone on its journey just ahead of it is a second ERV identical to the firstLaunched just a few weeks prior to the Harpe. It will prepare the way for a second human crew that will follow two years. LaterIt can also function as a backup for the first mission if anything should go wrongOn the sixth month of the flight the crew gaze upon an alien worldThis is the new frontierAfter days in orbit, unsatisfied with the landing conditions the crew will receive final word from Mission Control on earthIt will be a tense 40 minutes before people back on earth get the signal from Mars and know if everything has gone wellI thought forward downContact light okay in this stopFor more than 500 days the astronauts will therefore Mars andEmbark on one of the greatest journeys of discoveryin the history of scienceWill they find life or the fossilized remains of past lifeSuch a discovery could tell us whether our solar system has seen more than one Genesis andAnswer the ultimate questionAre we alone?In any case these explorers will be learning how feasible the colonization of Mars really is and whether or not mankindHas a future among the starsThen when the time comes in the window for Earth return opens crew will climb into their earth return vehicle and headThey will arrive home heroesthe first to stretch the limit of man’s expanse from one planet to anothertheir names added to the list of great explorers of new worldsIn their footsteps others who followWhat began as a trickle is free to rise into a deluge of humankind sweeping over a once barren land andTransforming it into a viable new worldWhen Baker and Zubrin presented Mars direct to their bosses at Martin they expected the worstTo their surprise management was excited about it. They liked the fact that everything needed was relatively simple and near-termAs time went on Martin Marietta embraced Mars direct as their creation andput Bob and I on an airplane to several NASA centers to present Mars direct and try to build some momentum forBaker and Zubrin flew to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AlabamaThis had been one of the original design hubs for the Apollo moon landingsBut recently many of the engineers had become demoralized by the failure of NASA’s sei programtag-team style Baker and Zubrin presented their alternative mission architectureThe response was three the old-school Apollo crowd embraced itThis was a plan that actually made sense and was within reach Baker and I gave a number of briefingsThe first was at the Marshall Space Flight CenterNext was a chance. These people were incredibly excitedOver the next few weeks Zubrin and Baker were flown around the country pitching to all branches of NASA and everywhereThey went the response was electricThe plan was standing up to scrutiny and groups all over NASA were converting to Mars directtheir tour culminated in a public presentation to the National Space SocietyThe crowd gave the two aerospace engineers a standing ovationA week later. The story was in newspapers around the countryBut a counter-attack was beginning to form within NASA the space station teams and many in the advanced propulsion groups were against the ideaSince Mars direct didn’t need their programs, they felt under threat as quickly as doors opened for Zubrin and Baker. They began to closeNASA didn’t want to pursue a Mars mission at that timeThey didn’t want to be derailed by a bunch of Mars fanatics that thought that their idea of what NASA should do should overwhelmWhat NASA thought NASA should do what we did in Mars direct was?Literally come up with the leanest solutionthe one that involved the least spending on an assortment of technologies and infrastructural elements including for examplewe made no use whatsoever of the International Space Station andSo people involved in all those programs were very upset because we were showing they shouldn’t go to Mars withoutTheir program being required they felt that we were justifying themthe NASA administration rejected Mars directThe two engineers were outside is againbut Zubrin remained determinedBob had grabbed hold of it andI could see that it was his and no matter what I did he was gonna do what he was going to do andhe was going to be a proponent for it and push it andI really saw my role sort of evaporateIt’s a little bit like being a dim planet next to a bright star around him in terms of hisEnthusiasm and you really can’t compete with that. All you can do is decide how you’re going to deal with itBy February 1991 Baker. Quit Martin to start his own firmZubrin battled on for the next year and a half Zubrin tried to get NASA to pay attention giving speeches writing papersBut Mars directs time seemed to have passedBut then in 1992 a new administration came into power at NASA and ZubrinSaw a second chanceI was invited to brief Mike Griffin who was the associate administrator for space exploration in charge of the whole space exploration initiative?He immediately became a very strong supporter Mars directBut before the engineers at NASA would take another look at Mars directThey wanted Zubrin to prove the producing rocket fuel on Mars could workThey gave Martin Marietta a small budget to do an experiment Zubrin and his team built a machine called the in-situ propellant planIt could take carbon dioxide the dominant gas in the Martian atmosphereCombine it with a little hydrogen and produce a methane-oxygen fuelWe did it in three months with a very small team. We built a plant. That was 94%efficient andNo one who actually participated in that effort was actually a real chemical engineerThey were all aerospace engineers like me who were simply dabbling in chemistryIn order to prove to NASA that 19th centurychemical engineering really workedWith the experiment to success the administration had Zubrin give detailed briefings of the mission plan to the engineers of the Johnson Space CenterThey liked it, but had some problems Dave Weaver was the lead mission architectThere were a number of things that we were concerned about with bob zubrin’s missionFirst of all, we thought his estimates of mass were probably too optimisticDidn’t have sufficient margins for a variety of things not the least of which would be things like provisionsFor the crew the amount of water, that would be requiredWe thought as a sent vehicle was very large, which meant his power requirements his propellantrequirements wereMuch larger than needed to be his trip times out were too long and that for a very little effort you could get him shorterThe other problem was the size of his crew. He had a four-person crewI think virtually every study that’s been done says that a four-person crew for aThree-year type of mission is probably not realisticWeaver took Zubrin into his office and the two men worked out compromised mission architectureFirst Weaver wanted three launches for every mission instead of twothe first year three ships would launch a MAV Mars ascent vehicle an unoccupied hab andan ERV earth return vehicleThe harb and MAV would land on the surface and begin producing fuel for the return flight and air for the crewThese crafts would spend to solitary years on Mars allowing NASA to test all of the system’s before sending a human crewThen in the third year three more ships would launchThis time with the hab occupied by astronauts. The other two ships are for a future mission unless needed as a backup for this crewOnce on Mars the team could also utilize the first habThen after a year and a half stay the crew would climb aboard their small capsule and rendezvous with the returned shipThis ship would carry them back home in a roomier environment than zubrin’s ERVZubrin called the plan Mars semi directNASA called it the design reference mission. They had a larger crew than we had they had bigger shipsThey had more equipment they had heavier equipment so they had to do the mission in three launches instead of twoBut it was done with the same principles of Mars directThe plan was subjected to the same cost analysis that tagged the 90-day report with a four hundred and fifty billion dollar price tagThe design reference mission came back at a fraction of the cost55 billionSpread out over 10 years. It could be done within NASA’s existing budgetThe plan made the cover of NewsweekHere was a mission architecture that was affordable and could be done today with existing technologybut NASA’s astronauts have not left low Earth orbit sinceWith the completion of the International Space Station and the retiring of the space shuttle program adebate rages over the future of space explorationShould NASA continue to focus on low-earth orbit developing technologies for the futureOr shouldn’t a sir have a goal like it did in the 1960s with Apollothe way we got to the moon was by apresidential imperative that demanded that NASA get to the moon within a decadeSo NASA was forced to sit down design a plan for how to do that and then fly the missionSince that time without the presence of the driving imperative we engage in basically a random set ofConstituency driven programs which are justified ad hocAfterwards by the argument that they could prove useful at some time in the future when you actually have a plan to go somewhere. IThink NASA has focused on a steady process where the government can’t just pull the plug on their funding. Ithink the Apollo cancellation was very traumatic for NASA and it reallyTransformed NASA from what it was in the 60s to more of what it is nowIf you have a singular program like going to Mars then it is very vulnerable to having its funding poolNASA must be destination-drivenIt is the only thing that allows the agency to be productive NASA was a hundred times more productive when it wasDestination-driven than in the period that has not been and we have stagnated in NASA since 1973Thirty years more than a generation has been wastedThe American space program has been stacking for thirty years. There is a once-in-a-generationShot right now to get it moving again by giving it a goal that will take it somewhereSome mistakes today are highAnd if you ask me if I am nervous right now I andDr. Zubrin why is NASA stuck in low-earth orbit?The problem with NASA’s lack of current achievement is not money. The problem is lack of focus its lack of a goalIt shouldn’t be humans to Mars in 50 years. It should be humans to Mars in 10We can do this. We do not need gigantic nuclear-electric spaceshipsTo send people to Mars that that is porkIt’s nonsense the primary question I get from American people is why aren’t we doing this?There’s a big sense of disappointment almost verging on a sense of betrayalThe purpose of spaceships is to actually travel across space and go to new worlds not to hang out in space and observe the healthEffects from doing so dr. Zubrin in your testimony. You were very passionate, but you also were madYou’re mad. We haven’t done this or that this vision has been stolen from a generationI guess you could say thatIt’s like Columbus coming back from the New World and Ferdinand and Isabella saying ask so what forget it burned the shipsOkay, you know that’s what has happened in this countryWe’ve won our point but there needs to be a destinationWhat we need the point we need to win on now is the destination needs to be Mars and it needs to be suitThe movement to send humans to Mars in the near term began at the University of Colorado in1978 aGraduate student in Astro geophysics named Chris McKay gave a small seminar on the possibility of introducing life to Mars. IGot interested in Mars in graduate schoolI enter graduate school the same year that Viking landed on Mars and sent back these images that sent backData that showed. All the elements needed for life are here on this planet and yet there’s no life hereI know that’s sort of the lights are on and nobody’s home. And I thought well, that’s curiousSo some of my other grad students and I we sort of got together to talk aboutWell if there’s no life on Mars nowCould we put life there and that evolved also into the question was maybe there was life in the pastAnd so we could find fossils evidence of itWell, how would you do that while you do that by sending people there?Together with fellow graduate students the group decided to put together a small conference to discuss the matter of human Mars explorationWe basically just started a forumWe invited everybody from all the NASA centers and from all the universities were involved in itAnd they all came and it was it really was in retrospectI realized a very important step toward building a consensus for human exploration of Mars in 1996I published my first book the case for Mars andthe response was phenomenal I got4,000 letters from all of the worldParisian bankers and twelve year old kids in Poland and firemen from Saskatoon andAstronauts and they’re all writing me and saying how do we make this?Bob ZubrinCame to the 3rd Mars conference and got very much involved. He was willing and interested in forming a society forming a group inOrganizing said look if we could pull these people together we can get them to work togetherWe could have a force that could actually make humans to Mars had the group formed the Mars SocietyRobert Zubrin became the president they held their first convention in 1998 the conventionwas justMagic, we had no idea how many people were coming. They were there not just from the United States and Canada EuropeThey were there for Israel. They were there from Mozambique. We are there from New ZealandIt was astonishedSince its inception the Mars Society has attracted members worldwideDerek Shannon is the head of the Southern California ChapterHe’s met with political leaders from all over the country if you make them look at the whole Marsvision inHistorical terms it becomes a much easier. So how will be Martians?Remember our century. They’re probably not going to remember our deficit our Wars or healthcare. Those will be footnotesWhat they’ll remember is it out of all of human history?there came a generation that decided to take this amazing step out into space andIf you tell politicians and they’re the ones whose names actually get to be remembered. That’s when hopefully the space program starts going somewhereIn order to further the knowledge necessary for a manned mission to the red planetThe Mars Society has been building research stations around the globe all of them based on the design of zubrin’s hab moduleMost recently the society set up a desert Research Station in UtahHere international researchers and aerospace students come to do experiments under the harsh desert conditionsAnd learn what’s necessary to keep a Mars crew alive and productiveBasically, what we’re doing here is undergoing analog studies crews of up to six people at a time come together to live in a fullSimulation environment for up to 14 days. So what that means isEvery time we go outside they have people have to Don spacesuitsAfter depressurizeWhen we go outside, they called extra vehicular activities, they can only be of a certain duration to the air supplyWe have to recycle all our water and basically have our own food as wellIt’s great to fantasize but it’s another thing when you have to put it together when the nuts have to fit the boltsLike the Apollo missions to the moonSending human beings to Mars will mean putting people in harm’s waythere are many dangers in outer space and many things could go wrong aSerious equipment breakdown could doom the crew to their deathsSome argue that the risk of failure is simply too highYou know back in the days when medieval man was looking out from Europe thinking about exploring in the worldThe world was unknown and mapmakers populatedtheir maps with dragonsWe’ve got the same thing todayThere are people who are afraid to go out into space and they’ve populated their maps of the solar system of dragonsYou know, we’ve got cosmic radiation. We’ve got zero gravity. We’ve got bat contamination, but these areDragons that we can take onThere are two kinds of radiation astronauts must contend with in outer space solar flares and cosmic raysSolar flares are floods of protons that burst from the Sun at irregular intervals and would be dangerous to an unshielded human crewWe are now ready to send humans to Mars right nowWe’ve got to know a lot more about radiation and radiationmitigation one of the Apollo flightsBarely missed like by a week a major solar event if it had gone off when the ApolloAstronauts are on the way back and forth to the moonThey would have gotten their entire lifetime radiation dose in that one mission and that’s it’s one Solar FlareSo that’s why we worry about this in the Maz direct planZubrin envisions a central insulated core where a crew can retreat to while the radiation passes byThe core would be surrounded by all the provisions of the mission. This should stop any harmful dose of radiation from reaching the astronautsBasically, you use your pantry as your storm shelter. So a solar flare happens the alarm bell ringsThe crew goes into the storm shelterThey stay in there cramped up pretty tight for a few hours until the all-clear rings and they come outthis is gonna happen once it might happen twice in the course of the mission theSecond type of radiation is cosmic raysThis constant rain of charged particles comes from interstellar space and cannot be avoided without many metres of shieldingWe can experience some of this type of radiation on earth at high altitudesAirline pilots who spend their career is flying high in the atmosphereCan receive almost as much of this radiation throughout their life as a Mars astronaut would on a two-and-a-half year missionIt’s a long trip. It’s a six-month trip there six months back is probably a year on the surface. That’s a lot of radiationthe best estimates are that the magnitude of that dose is not that great perhaps60 REM of radiationscattered over two-and-a-half years now 60 REM of radiationDelivered over a long period of time like that would not create any noticeable effects at allIt would though it is believed increase your statistical risk of getting cancer at some point later in your life by about 1%Right now if you’re an average American and you do not smoke you have a 20% chance you’re going to die of cancerThis would make it 21 if you’re an average American smokerIt’s 40in factIf you recruited the Mars crew out of smokers and sent them to Mars without their tobaccoYou would be reducing their chance of getting cancerWith the immense distance from Earth never before experienced by a human being with the constant dangers of outer spaceSurrounding their small life-sustaining craft and with nowhere else to go the psychologicalImpact on a crew could be severeFear is realI mean it would be to me abnormal for a person to not feel the fear of getting on arocket and launching into space andGoing to Marsso I think fear is a very normal thing that all astronauts in fact are supposed to have andI would be afraid to fly with someone who does not have fearSome psychologists worry the cabin fever could set in and the crew might literally go crazyThe human Mars mission is a more rigorous and difficult condition than most of us experience in daily lifeBut it is hardly more difficult situation than many people have endured throughout human historyWe could compare the Mars crew to the crew of 19th century or priorsailing vesselsmany of whom were away from home for three years or more than three years under conditions in which they’re eating extremely bad food withoutAny medical knowledge to support their health commanded by brutal officers in every respect the crew of the human Mars missionWith the full support of Mission Support in the whole world cheering for them and greatRewards awaiting for them in life upon their return is in a vastly superior conditionThe Mazda eight crew spend most of their time inside the two-story habCarefully designed to promote psychological well-being despite the confinement the space where I think everybody would spend the most time, you knowJust like a lot of homes on earthIt would be the galley wardroom area there would be chairs a table some kind of large screen for entertainment you would haveindividual staterooms about four or five feet wideThe ability for them to communicate with loved ones with colleagues on earth. I think will be almost unlimited aMars crew will need to be carefully chosen and thoroughly tested to ensure their ability to handle the extreme isolationJohn Young went to the moon used to say that he could coverThe earth by just lifting his thumb up to up to itAnd he says that when you go to Mars you are going to redefineThe concept of loneliness and so it is very important that the crew be well-balanced and well-chosenSo that they can support each otherWhoever gets picked to go they will have to learn to live together for two-and-a-half yearsif you put out a call forvolunteers for the first crew to MarsThey’d be lined up coast to coastmost people recognizewhat’s left after you go is the good you left behind andTo take part in adventure this character such a historic character of extending the reach of the human speciesThis is something of immortal significanceOne of the most bogus threatsAssociated with the Mars mission is the so called back contamination issueWhich is this notion that you go to Mars and discover these virulent diseaseOrganisms that you bring back to earth and destroy all life on Earth if we discover life on Mars one fearIs that our earth biology will have no defense against possible Martian pathogens?Some argue that missions to Mars cannot be risked until we can prove Mars is free from harmful contaminantsThis is completely nonsensicalThere’s natural transfer of material from Mars to earth all the timeWe get around 500 kilograms of unsterilized Martian rocks landing on earthEvery year and they have been doing so for the past three fourBillion years. And so if there were Martian organisms that could contaminate the earth they’ve already done soalthough the prospect of Martian diseases seems remoteLawmakers have required that NASA create elaborate protocol to ensure that any extraterrestrialmaterial stays contained andlike the Apollo astronauts who spent 17 days in quarantine after they returned from a sterile moon aMars crew will have to be thoroughly tested for any harmful Martian pathogensthe probability isInfinitesimally tiny but nevertheless this is our home planet and it’s extremely important and we have to protect itThe idea of a pathogen on Mars is clearly ridiculous because there is no megafauna or mega flora on Marsfor pathogens to infectSo it is impossible to propose a credible lifecycle for a Martian karaginthediseases that afflict us have been Co evolving with us and ourancestors and near relatives for the past three billion years andThey are specifically designed to live inside the habitat of the human body and to overcome itsDefenses and they’ve been engaged in an arms race with the human defenses for those 3 billion yearsThis is why humans do not get diseases from distantly related speciesFor example, I don’t know of any person who has ever contracted Dutch elm diseaseYou know in trees don’t get coldsWhen the first Mars Lander touches down the crew will be staring out at a new world a place that in four billion yearsNo eyes have ever seenThe crew won’t be aloneMillions of television viewers back home will be watching as the first man or woman places their footprint into the rust-colored soilThe crew will savor these moments for here someday a new branch of civilization might begin andFuture Martians will remember and celebrate this dayThere is much for the crew to do and exploreOne of their main mission objectives will be to search for signs of microscopic lifeTo do this they will follow the ancient water flows for on earth where there is water there is lifeTo help the crew in their search they will have a pressurized Rover that allows them to explore in a comfortable shirtsleeve environmentThis means the crew can examine a vast area around the landing site during their 18-month stay andThere is much to exploreMars has 58 different kinds of topography and a surface area equivalent to all the continents of Earth combinedIf these explorers can uncover the fossilized remnants of indigenous Martian lifeThey will redefine mankind’s understanding of its place in the universeBut if life arose separately on a planet so close to our own it strongly suggests that the universe is abiologically rich place and full of lifeFor some the ultimate question of Mazda is will there be human settlements on the planet?Will Mars become a new branch of human civilization?AsEach subsequent Mars mission explores a wider and wider area of the planet over several yearsAn ideal site for a base will be foundProbably worn with a thermal vent that can supply water and powerAt that point several Habs will be landed in this one spot with crews that plan to stay foreight or even twelve yearsPerhaps we’ll be interconnected and a permanent human presence on Mars will be establishedThis scientific community will have to learn to become self-sufficientTo be able to survive on Mars without supplies constantly being sent from EarthUnlike any other planet in the solar system besides Earth Mars has all of the fundamentals needed to make this possibleIt’s 24 hour and 37 minute day is critical for growing plantsit has all of the elements necessary for creating building materials, like plastics metals and glass andIt has oceans of water frozen into the soilIf we can develop this craft of living on MarsThen Mars becomes inhabitableNot immediately physically, but intellectuallyI mean, look what determines whether an environment is habitable or not is Colorado habitableWe’re not naturally adapted to live in Colorado. We’re tropical animalsNo one could survive a single winter night here without technology such as clothing efficient use of fireweInvented our way into becoming people that could colonize such hostile environmentsEventually with a lot of ingenuity and invention the scientists will learn to live off the landthey will grow crops in the iron-rich but potassium poor soil andThey will produce oxygen and energy from the water and atmosphereSooner or later children will be born the first true Martians. They will grow up to see Mars as their homeWith time more and more people will arrive these won’t only be scientists but settlers people who plan to stayThey may come for all kinds of reasonsBut to them Mars will be a chance to start over to build a new life for themselvesThe well of human social thought is not exhausted by the present age and I don’t think we’ll ever be exhaustedThere will always be people with new ideas on how humans should live togetherWith Mars so far away the hold of earth governments on their colonies will be tenuousThe Martians will need to govern themselvesMars is not going to be utopiaMars is gonna be a lab. It’s an open frontier. It’s a place where things are gonna be tried outI think we’ll see a lot of noble experiments on MarsPerhaps some of these Martian colonies with their novel ideas based on the best thought the 21st century has to offerMaybe they’ll find ways in which humans create societies that are more humane and offer moreopportunity for you and potential theUltimate dream of the Martians will be to terraform their planet to make Mars as hospitable as EarthThis may not be as big a fantasy as it seemsHere we are an earth a world. That’s verySophisticated and developed and complete and anything we do is just a subtractionIt’s because we live in such a biologically rich planet when we go to MarsWe have an opportunity that we don’t have on earth. Here’s a planet that’s diedHere’s a world that’s not full of biology. It probably doesn’t have any at all. Well there we can actually do something to helpOnce there are large even settlements on Mars that would have significant industrial capabilityWe could actually start addressing ourselves to the question of transforming the Martian environment itselfTerraforming Mars as it is called because Mars was once a warm and wet planet and it could be madeSo again through human engineering effortsWith daytime temperatures in the Martian tropical zone averaging around zero degrees centigrade and with an atmosphereOnly 1% as thick as Earth’sExposure to these elements by human without a space suit would be instantly fatalThe first step to terraforming Mars and bringing it back to life will be for the Martian colonists to warm up their planetWell, we know how to warm up planets. We’re doing it on earthBy putting gases in the atmosphere on earth. It’s not a good idea to warm up the planet. The temperature was just fineThank you. We don’t need it any warmer here but in principle if you could trap the sunlightReaching Mars todayEvery single photon that’s hitting MarsMars would warm up in about ten yearsWell, obviously you can’t trap every single photon. That’s hitting MarsBut you can trap about 10% of them with the greenhouse effectSo that would imply that Mars could warm up in about 100 years100 years is a long time, but it’s notastronomically longOne idea is to build small automated factories that produce super greenhouse gasses with no ozone depleting side effectsAlthough these gases would be unwelcome on earth for the Martians there would be an efficient way to trap heatThen within a few decades we would raise Mars by more than 10 degrees centigradeAnd if you did thatThat would cause massive amounts of carbon dioxide that is currently adsorbed into the Martian soil to start to outguessCarbon dioxide is also a natural greenhouse gas as it builds up in the atmosphereMore and more heat will be trapped which will in turn cause more co2 to out gasThe process will become automaticAnd as the atmosphere thickens Mars will eventually reach a state of equilibrium and stay warm naturallyThe rise in air pressure would mean that the human colonists could discard their pressure suits andWalk around the surface of Mars carrying only a supply of oxygenAnd as the temperatures rise on Marswater frozen into the soil will begin to melt out andFor the second time in its history Mars would have liquid water on its surfaceDrei Martian rivers will start to flowSeas will rise and there will be rain clouds in the skiesThe return of Mars to its warm and wet stage will make it a fertile environment for lifeAny indigenous Martian organisms lying dormant will begin to grow and Mars will be full of MartiansIf no native life emerges or that life is all dead and humans could begin addressing the idea of bringing life from EarthAt first it would be simple organisms perhaps genetically engineered that would thrive in the Martian environmentThen more complex plants could be introducedThe plants would be right at home in the carbon dioxide atmosphere and with no competition and a whole planet to coverThey could transform Mars into a green worldWarming Mars so that it sustains life is rapid but then the slow process of making the atmosphereBreathable for humans and animals starts and that’s done by plantsAlthough the process will happen naturally if the colonists can’t find a quicker way. It will take tens of thousands of yearsThis is a philosophical debate many people think the universe has a big sign on it that says do not touchLeave it alone was made this way that is not in our purview as human beings to change anythingI can respect that view, although I disagree with itI think the universe has a big sign on it that says go forth and spread lifeBecause when I look around the universeI think life is the most amazing thingWe see it is just incredible and we human beings are uniquely positioned to help spread light from this little tiny planetWhich it seems to have been started onbeyond andThat’s our giftEarth’s gift to the universe I think is the gift of lifeThis scheme for terraforming Mars is based on 20th century notions of engineering IDon’t think it is how Mars will actually be terraformedWhat you have here is a 20th century mindTrying to address a 22nd century problemAnd so I think Mars will be terraformed by the 23rd century not by the 33rd23rd things that would seem utterly fantastical to us is how it will actually be done, but it’ll be doneWe’re at a crossroads todayWe either muster the courage to go or we risk the possibility of stagnation in the casethe exploration of the solar system and expanding of life through the rest of our solar system and some day beyond is theKind of thing that will keep our civilization goingWe’re explorers by Nature eventually, we will go to the Stars and the question is when we start IThink a manned Mars mission could happen within 15 yearsSome days. I’m very optimistic. I think we can do it in 10, maybe 15 yearsOther days I see the all the political things that go into the space program. I look back on 230 yearsWe’ve been bogged down and I and I get more negative about and I say it’s going to be another three decades or four decadesYeah, we’d be surprised if we got to Mars prior to2025 or 2030in May of2018Understanding the various political obstacles that exist in what we need to fight through to get the program startedI believe that we will be on Mars by 2020You have to believe in hope you have to believe in the futureThere are more and more people coming around to the point of view that a positive future for Humanityrequires human expansion to spaceWe will eventually break through the forces of inertia that have been holding this thing backYouWe are surrounded by thousands and thousands of stars, are we alone in this vast cosmic landscape?Science is searching for an answer and has outlined two hypotheses oneWe are alone and life is an anomalous fact that can only be explained by an unpredictable and eventful combination of circumstancesTo life is implicit in the nature of the universe and its appearance anywhere is unavoidableThe systematic search for extraterrestrial life has just begunIts discovery would be the most important earners in the history of mankindPresently from out there only the ekor of an intense silence reaches usThis gigantic diaphanous mass occupies a space that is a thousand times greater than the solar systemIt is one of the many interstellar clouds that the universe containsHundreds of organic molecules accumulate in its interior many of them are identical or similar to those that make up the living beings on earthAsKnowledge of the universe advances it is confirmed that the ingredients of life do not exist. Only on earthTo the contrary as living beings. We are made from a raw material that is abundant in the universe youCan think of the origin of life is perhaps in three different ways in one extremeLife is a miracle life comes from God a unique eventIf so science can’t address the question because science can’t address miracles miracles by definitiondefine natural law butlife may have beenConsistent with physics and chemistry and yet a very rare perhaps a unique eventvery improbable because of chance and if so again,Science has trouble addressing the question because how can one go to a laboratory and study an improbable eventSo only in the third case if life is an inevitable consequence of chemistry and physicsIf anywhere there’s water in rock and air lifearisesThen science can hope to answer the questionWhen we ask ourselves about the mystery of life we almost always look at the earth for the answerWe have no other reference although the earth with its inexhaustibleVariety of forms plants and animals is like a box of surprises and new questions more than a direct answerNo one is sure where life begins and ends on earth this is possible that something existsThat is not just a copy more or less advanced than what we have on earthWe already know with much precision what caused life to develop on our planetEverything began with water and with the release of certain chemical elements like carbon and oxygenWhich combined to form organic molecules?These molecules thanks to the light of the Sun electric discharges from the atmosphere and the energy from the interior of the earthBecame incipient living beingsThus starting with water chemical elements and a source of energy the most elemental living organism known today appearedbacteriaIn 1953 the American chemist Stanley Miller and Harold Urey tried to reproduce the origin of life in a laboratoryThey placed water vapor methane and ammonia in a test tube and ran a continuous electric current through itAlmost one week later the water had acquired color and new compounds it appeared including two amino acidsWhich are the basic building blocks of life?This combination however continued to be just as lifelessPerhaps something similar to this experiment occurred on earthbut if this is trueIt was nothing more than another failed attempt that kept the planet during its early stages as a barren lifeless placeExperiments aimed at reproducing the origin of life have helped science to define with greater precisionThe frontier between living material and lifeless material between life and non-lifeSeries of specific characteristics that make a living beings different from a non living beingfor exampleReplication a living being should replicate generate progeny. It should produce offspring whether they are molecular children or someMeaning that replication should not be exact from father to child because we would laugh diversityin replicationThere should be a series of mutations that introduce changes between the parental generation and the generation of the descendantand these changes will make the descendants different from each other andBeing different amongst themselves means they will react in different ways to stimuliselective pressure and to environmental changesTherefore some better than othersLiving beings there replicate in a bottle and they have a metabolismThis means that living being and ms are capable of carrying out a series of processthe consumption of energy they produce biomoleculesFrom a disorganized outside world, they produce organized molecules, which they used to grow and for their own metabolismIt’s possible that these are the three fundamental characteristics of living entitiesreplicationmutation and therefore evolution andmetabolism dilutionAt the limit of these requirements we find the viruses which most scientists don’t consider living beingsIt’s true that they reproduce and evolve that they transform with several mutationsBut they only do so when they infect a cell which they use so that they can reproduce themselvesThus viruses only act as living beings when they act as parasites on a cellThe question of this transition from non-life to lifethat’s in some sense a philosophical question and yet many of us who work in the field have our prejudices andmine, is that the transition occurs when competition andnatural selection beginsYou can imagine inanimate natureMolecules rocks water that’s not alive that doesn’t compete but at some point a level of organizationoccurred in molecules molecular systems that could replicate themselves andWhen that happened and because of the richness of organic molecules available you had slight differences in theseself-replicating molecules somewhere a little more efficient than others andSo lifebegins to compete forResources for energy and to me the crucial stage in the origin of life. Is that very moment when competitionled to selection that’sDarwinian evolutionEvery day, the great milestones in the path of the evolution of species are better understoodThe first step of life is still unknown. HoweverIn laboratories biologists and chemists try to reproduce time and time again how this first gestation took placeTo do so the key is to manage to get certain chemical molecules to combine in a specific wayWhich is what provokes the miracle of lifeThe recipe of the great ant nest is a secretscientists have no other option but to continue investigating how the miracle of life occurred andThe only place where they know that this has happened is on the earthJust like the rest of the solar systemThe earth was formed over 4. 5 billion years agoWhen the remains of a supernova like this one crossed a vast cloud of cosmic dustAfter this accidental birth our planet was subject to bombardment by meteorites and comets during a large part of its historyDuring the first part of its existence the earth was an inhospitable placeAside from external aggression. There was also a great volcanic activity on its surfaceThis violent phase however, favoured the evaporation of water and the emission of gases like carbon dioxide and methaneThe atmosphere was slowly created with these elementsIf this had not occurred the earth would eventually have been burned by the sun’s raysDuring this infernal period the basic broth a kind of culture medium or breeding ground for life was also formedThe water of the Seas penetrated the cracks of the sea bottom and returned to the sea through the volcanoesThis water was enriched with minerals that it had taken from the heart of the earth which when it came into contact with the atmosphereprovoked that greatlyChemistry opened the way to biology and the appearance of the first bacteriaPresent-day organisms could not survive in such a toxic environmentBut the planet’s path towards milder stable conditions allowed the first signs of life to maintain themselves and evolve from their simple formstowards more complex beingsThe impact of meteorites did not suddenly stop in fact many years later the dinosaurs disappeared due to their effectsBut fortunatelyBiodiversity was well developed at that time. And even though species disappeared in huge numbers life was already deeply rootedHundreds of organisms were able to survive in the middle of the impressive destructionLife on Earth has overcome a variety of climatic and environmental changesBut as radical as the changes may be a living being that does not depend on water oxygen and solar energyOr one that can survive in such extreme temperatures is not conceivableIn recent years, howeverThe discovery of organisms that live on the fringes of these laws are modifying our ideas about what a living being needsThese organisms are known as extremophiles the lovers of very radical external conditionsThese waters belong to the river team Phil in the southern Spanish province of WavelineIt’s peculiar blood-red color which gave it its name is due to the metals that it bearsThey come from the rocks that are drank from its headwaters and from spillages four minesSteer a community of living beings has been discovered that challenges the traditional point of view concerning the environmental conditions that allow for survivalThese microscopic images have been recorded in these unhealthy watersWhich show some organisms that assume basic vital functions without difficulties?Dominant a less characteristic there are two extreme characteristics of the river the low pH in other words the acidity of the systemWhich is around 2 and the high concentration of heavy metals always beside heavy metals are toxicEspecially those in the mining area of the river Tintoessentially copper which is used to prevent the growth of fungi and vineyards andArsenic and cadmium etc. Speeding. Yes. The supplies was fine down eukaryotic organism a seasonNot the prokaryotes the bacteria that eat mineralsBut eukaryotes algae fungi filament fungi protozoans amoebas, etcWhich are present in a place where no one in the right mind what you think that they could exist?The mysterious life that is hidden in the River Tinto has disconcerted scientists and not only because it is a unique class of extremophilesIt is extraordinary because in these conditions a certain degree of biological variety has developed with more or less common algaefungi and amoebasTheir ability to adapt is such that we could say that they don’t appear to be terrestrialThe first extremophiles were discovered a little over 30 years ago in Yellowstone Park in the United StatesThey were organisms that survived in temperatures over 100 degrees CelsiusThey appeared in geological chimneys where water vapor emerged from the interior of the earthScientists have also found living beings that are fond of extreme temperatures in the cold Antarctic rocksIn the ice or in the lakes of water found below they have found bacteria and algae living hundreds of meters below the surfaceThey are cold lovers living beings that have the peculiarities of growing slowly since the low temperatures slow down their metabolismsAt Moga cave in romania a group of several animals have lived isolated from the outside world for about five and a half million yearsThere is no oxygen or light there but 48 different species survive in this placeIts trophic chain takes advantage of the energy from the chemical elements that exist in the cave in order to produce nutritional substances for feedingThese strange mounds on the Australian coast are known as stromatolitesThey are the fossil remains of bacteria that have been grouped in layersThe lower layers are formed by anaerobic bacteria, which are beings that strange as it may seem do not need oxygen to liveEven today there is a class of organisms that exist in environments that lack oxygen of which our intestine is one on othersThere are even more cases of life in anonymous conditions in the Dead Sea and in specific salt lagoons of Africa’s Rift ValleyThere are some salt living bacteriaTo survive in a salty medium these organisms have developed their own mechanisms to avoid dehydrationLast table Philip the extremophiles are what allows us to open a series of scenariosWhich means if there are microorganisms that can grow at high temperaturesThe model of originating life in an underwater volcano at a hundred or so degrees is not absurdBecause today there are microorganisms that can do it in a surface salt marsh. The high concentration is due to evaporationSpecific interactions are favorable which can happen since there are microorganisms that exist in these conditions todayIf life emerged in such unfavorable environments it is therefore a much stronger impulse than what our limited vision expectedThe discovery of these living beings in unimaginable conditions has had repercussions among those searching for the presence of life in spaceIf life here was possible in conditions that were different from what we enjoy today why couldn’t the same thing happen on other planetsGeologists biologists chemists and astrophysicists have come together in a new scientific fieldAstrobiology, they have established new expectations about what type of life to search for and where to look for itWhat we have successfully achieved is the collaboration of geologists and planetary astrophysicistsAnd the people dedicated to the original evolutionary chemistryIn this way geologists give us a guideline for example as to how the planet has evolved into a physical bodyAt the same time they join with planetaryAstrophysicists who explain how the earth was formed and how this formation is the result of the evolution of the universe itselfOn the other hand the people who study evolutionary chemistryComplex molecules that evolve and bridge the knowledge of the geologists about what existed on the original the primitiveopinion locality mediaAll these related Sciences of astrobiology are drawn from a basic ideaThe appearance of life as a natural phenomenon as the inevitable consequence of a universe in continual change and evolutionIn a shorter middle termAstrobiology is searching to contrast the idea that life is a cosmic imperatives by applying the scientific method to itThe scientific method that is based on everythingWe know from how a mobile phone works to how bridge is built or how to launch a spacecraft into outer spaceThis scientific method requires more than one example of a specific phenomenon life on Earth as we know it has extraordinary biodiversityA biodiversity that is manifested in millions as different species on earthall of these forms of lifeHowever are based on certain unique principles so that the phenomenon of life as we know it on earthIs the manifestation of a unique phenomenon?Therefore the scientific method cannot be directly applied as a resultWe have to go to other places in order to contrast whether life exists or has existenceIn1975 the direct search for life in the solar system began when NASA sent the Viking spacecrafts aloft with Mars as their destinationToday the red planet is very cold with average temperatures of minus 53 degrees CelsiusWhich has frozen the water that at some point covered its surfaceIt is dominated by a current geological relief of deep craters and dusty dunes which gives it the appearance of a rocky desertOn the other hand the absence of an ozone layer subjects Mars to relentless ultraviolet solar radiationIn this dead land it would seem impossible to find lifeThe results of the tests carried out by the Viking mission confirmed this hypothesis and the scientific interest in Mars was set asideStudies of extremophiles on earth a lower have put Mars back in the game forScientists the absence of signs of life in the two places where the Viking spacecraft took samples is not final proofThey have to search other parts of the planet with milder environments and investigate the possibility that life manifested itself there in the pastWell, I think to methe fact that we’re seeing that life exists in these very extreme environments on earth gives usoptimism thatwe’ll find life other places becauseWe know for example on Mars that there is liquid water at times. We know that there’s iceWe know that they’re very dry regionsThey’re probably very salty regions too. And so it seems to me thatThe fact that we find lifeexisting on earth in these extremeEnvironments means that we don’t know yet the limitsevery year the limits increaseIn terms of our discoveries, so why not?Broaden the limits a bit more to to the environments of some of the planetsI think Mars is the planet of greatest interest for astrobiologicalexplorationfirst because it’s nearby and therefore is is fairly easy to explore or at least relatively easy to explore andsecond becausealthough todayMars is a very forbidding planet low temperaturesvery little atmosphereTectonic Li it appears to be almost dead at least at the time that life emerged on earthMars was a planet much like much more like our own restaurant identical book much moreIt had active volcanism. It had a thicker atmosphereAt least episodically it had liquid waterAnd so therefore mars is a good candidate to askThe question directly did life appear more than once and if it did appear on Mars the way we will recognize it isin generalThe same way that we recognize evidence of ancient life on Earth through micro fossilsThrough the influence of microbial communities on sediments and through chemical signatures that they impart to rocks1984 ascientific expedition goes to the Antarctic to collect samples of meteorites theSolitude and the conditions of the frozen continent have kept them intactHere they discovered a rock that became a key piece in the investigation of MarsIt weighs almost two kilograms and is known as al H in1996 at NASADavid McKay and his team presented it to the public as a Martian meteorite with possible fossil evidence of certain living beingsSince then the era light alongside others that had been previously collected have triggered a debate within the scientific communityOn whether or not we are standing before the definitive evidence that Mars also for lifeWe’ve been studying the the alh meteorite for a long time nowWe’re also looking at other Mars meteoritesthere are now 18 different Mars meteorites and we’ve looked in detail in about four of them andWe have found what we believe to be signs of life in all four meteorites that we have studiedFirst alh then then Nakhla which fell in egypt in 1911then sure Gatti which fell in India andThen Lafayette which was recovered in Indiana USAWe think we see evidence for life we have to prove itWe haven’t proved it yet to the satisfaction of the scientific community, but we’re working on thatHow long will that take?Possibly a few more years we hope that we can do thatEither prove it or disprove it within say three or four more years and that’s what we’re we’re working onThrough the study of meteorites and through new explorations scientists. Hope to decipher the Martian enigmas in the period of just one decadeThe European Space Agency is also participating in the race with the Mars Express, which will be launched in 2004It is a satellite that will be placed in orbit around Mars and which has a landing moduleBoth devices will carry out in-depth studies of the planet and with the images obtained precise maps of the territory will be drawn upAs the Museu knows since the American Viking missions in the 1970sThere has not been another mission with such a central astrobiological focus in its investigations as the Mars ExpressAs fool’s he misty and furthermoreThis spacecraft has a landing vehicle the Beagle 2 with a series of instrumentsTo analyze the chemistry and organic substances of the planetSuch as the rock minerals and the surface of MarsThey can also take images of the surface and measure the composition of the atmosphere around the landing areaIt even has instruments able to reach a depth of between one and one and a half meters in order to analyze the subsoilWhich has not been affected by ultraviolet radiation and where indications of life may be preserved better than on the surfaceParrinello sorry Supes WidowConocido effect I’ll pour la radio thermal travelator in kuala pedido preserve our say in details de vidaIn addition to Mars, the scientific community is investigating other planets within the solar systemMercury and Venus due to their extremely hot climates have been ruled outUranus Neptune and Pluto due to their extremely cold climates are not worthy of consideration eitherSaturn and jupiter are the only two left to gassy giants where life seems impossibleThese planets however have satellites orbiting around them that are arousing scientific interestIn the case of Jupiter the moons IO and Europa two satellites, which thanks to the energy of the planetThey orbit are much hotter than what was expected given their great distance from the SunIo is the satellite with the most volcanoes interruption in the entire solar system, which is a positive symptomDue to the history of the earth. It is known that volcanoes can play a fundamental role in the generation of lifeIn contrast however, signs of water have not been detected yet which for the moment reduces the hope of finding lifeEuropa seems to be a more gifted contender. It’s frozen surface may shelter an enormous ocean below with organic moleculesIf these were to exist just as it happened on earth the discharge of some kind of energy may provoke the appearance of lifeAndin this aspectThere are also indications that the moon Europa has volcanoes which is why some scientists hope that life exists or has existed thereSo Mars is our best candidate but on a longer time scaleI think the exploration of Europa is going to be interestingThere’s every reason to believe there is an a long-standingWater body and ocean if you will on Europa, and that could have incubated lifeIt may actually have a higher probability than Mars of actually having still living organismsSo we might be able to look by biological techniques for life on EuropaWhereas on Mars I think largely it’s going to be a paleontological exerciseIn the orbit around Saturn there is a satellite called TitanWhich with a diameter less than half the size of the earth is very similar to our planet in other aspectsIn 1980 the Voyager 1 spacecraft passed by Titan at a distance of 7,000 kilometersWhich enabled it to carry out a detailed study?The images show a disturbing orange atmosphere with a touch of blue on the horizon mainly made up of methaneWhoAccording to the scientists who studied the data the smell of the air of Titan should be like the inside of an oil refineryMethane is the star gas of this satelliteIt is suspected that it may exist in three states solid liquid and gasSo perhaps there are giant oceans of methane with polar ice caps made up of this compoundIt is also possible that there is an evaporation cycle and methane rain is producedIf this were trueIt could be compared with the earth and water as if methane were able to fulfill the role that water plays on our planet inThis case cells could exist that have methane in their interior. Just like ours have waterIfThis hypothesis of methane beings were true. We would be dealing with organisms that live at very low temperatures with very slow biochemistryOne of the key attributes for life on Earth is the presence of water and I think it’s fair to say that in most astrobiologicalexplorationPeople look for water first and then if there is water on a planet or a moonThen perhaps there will be some sort of lifeSo the question becomes is there another substance that might do the same job as water and it has been suggestedfrom time to time that methaneWould be a substitute for water has a substrate for lifeIf so, it’s not easy to imagine what kind of life that would beCertainly, it would not be a life. That would be easily recognizable in terms of our experience on earthWhether or not it’s impossible. I don’t know but IWould certainly think it would be much less probable than a lifeThat is based on a on a watery environment and so in that regard when we think about a place like TitanWell, perhaps Titan could have given rise to life. It certainly has given rise to complex organic moleculesBut in the absence of water, I think the probabilityThe life would have emerged from that chemistry is much much lowerIn 1998 the Cassini spacecraft was sent into space with Saturn as its destinationOne of its missions is to study Titan thanks to its atmosphere intro which will descend down onto Titan surfaceThis will take place in 2004 starting them perhaps the mystery of the methane satellite can be decipheredThe first explorations of the solar system have not provided proof of extraterrestrial lifeBut the absence of evidence as paradoxical as it may seem increases the belief that life is possibleThe mechanisms of life are better understood todayFurthermore it is also known that life can develop in much more open conditions than was originally believedThe question is what kind of life are we dealing with?Instead of beings with antenna and extraordinary abilities more realistic scientists assert that there is no intelligent life in our immediate cosmic environmentIt’s one thing to find unicellular organisms on a planet but it’s something very different to believe that these beingsNecessarily evolved into such complex forms as human beingsIf earth is the point of reference the data is devastating of the millions of species that have prospered hereOnly one has been able to develop technological intelligenceWe can then say well what are the conditions that mightfavorintelligent life and certainly one is environmental you certainly need anEnvironment that’s capable of sustaining the biology of a largeorganism and on our planet that only became possible when oxygen rose to high concentrations in the atmosphere andthen secondone can ask what kind of lifestyles wouldFacilitate the origin of intelligence and there certainly predation is importantOnce you have to get your food by capturing preythere is strong selective pressure forvery very sophisticated sensory apparatus and the neurological ability to integrateSensory apparatus and there’s also very strong selectiveSelective forces favoring highly sophisticated muscular systems and again a highly sophisticatedcoordination of the neurological and muscular systems once those were in placeThen I think the basic biologicalAttributes that could lead to intelligence were thereThe lack of existing intelligent life in the proximities of the earthDoes not mean that it cannot be found in other parts of the universeNothing is impossible within the magnitudes and dimensions of the cosmos theUniverse has hundreds of thousands of galaxies which at the same time have thousands of millions of starssome of which are accompanied by planetsThere are so many possibilities that we have to search far beyond the limits of the solar systemIn 1996 the first extrasolar planets were detected and since then their numbers have increasedUnceasingly adding up to hundreds of them todayMost of them are big planets normally located very close to their corresponding SunThe main difficulty is that they cannot be observed directly yet. Their existence is a deduction made from the behavior of the star theMost successful techniques so far for finding planets around other stars is the so called radial velocity or spectroscopicTechnique this technique sanim direct techniqueYou don’t actually see the planet what you see instead is the starmoving around the center of mass of the planet star systemThat is we all are familiar with planets moving around a star but in addition the star moves around on a much smaller orbitthe center of mass of the star planet systemso we detect the planets by seeing the star move around and we detect the stellar motion by looking at theline-of-sight changes in the velocity of the starUsing this the Doppler technique which are familiar with from hearing a train whistle as a trance coming towards you or away from youSame thing with a star the Stars. It’s coming towards you. It’s light is shifted towards the blue as it’s moving away from usIt’s shifted towards the redso by watching very carefully how thespectral lines of the star change with time one could infer that the star is moving back and forth on its orbit andSomething must be causing that motion and we now know that that is actually a planetNASA and the European Space Agency plan to place infrared telescopes in space in order to observe the extrasolar planets directlyIf they have an atmosphere, that would be a good sign since an atmosphere normally regulates extreme temperaturesWhich are found quite frequently on many planetsThe telescope’s will analyze these atmospheres in order to find evidence of the necessary chemical elements for life to be producedOxygen which is present in our atmosphereIs one of the key signs of life, but it is not the only element that they are looking forthere is also the signature of co2 carbon dioxide andwater vapor and these three compounds are all involved in the reaction that produce oxygen by biology which isoxygenic photosynthesis andIf there there are all these three signature, it could be a very very good indicator for the presence of somePhotosynthetic activity and another signature is the the signature spectroscopic signature of methaneBecause it’s it seemed that the primitive life forms on earthcould have produce huge amount of methane in the atmosphere andThis could be detected. There was a very efficient telescopeThe possibility of an intelligent civilisation in some corner of the universe has encouraged the sending of messages into outer spaceThese images place us in the year 1974When a communication was broadcast from Addis Ababa Porto Rico towards a dense ball of stars located25,000 light-years away from usIf someone was able to decode the message he or she or it would find a pictogram explaining the foundations of life on EarthMeanwhile some spacecraft sent into outer space which are never going to return to Earth having graved plaques about who we areThe Voyager spaceships more specifically have all kinds of sounds and imagesEven those of animals tribal songs and a Beethoven string quartetBut almost 40,000 years will have passed before the Voyager approaches the first starThe SETI program is another initiative for establishing contactThey are doing more than just sending messagesThey are now trying to receive them that is if there is an alien civilization that uses radio waves in its interstellar communicationsTo powerful radio telescopes are being used to detect radio signals from space which are later analyzed in an enormous computerInformation is so abundant that the SETI program allows anyone who wants to use his or her computer to help with this task ofdistinguishing captured signalsWhen the computer is resting a program is activated to analyze the data provided by the central computerAlmost 3 million people collaborate with the SETI programSome curious signals have been detected but after being thoroughly investigated it has been proved that they were nothing more than telecommunication equipmentinterferencesTo date we have not received news from outer spaceWestern culture suffered an earthquake when CopernicusDiscovered that the earth and man were not the center of the universe but mere extras in a corner of the cosmosThe discovery of planets revolving around other stars now shows us that planets are a common occurrenceWith this knowledge somedayIt may be possible to solve the question of whether we as the inhabitants of the earthDo or don’t represent the only life forms in the universeSeems what does England finally be beings in other parts of the universe? It will be without a doubtIt’s the most important discovery in the history of mankindBut we will therefore be able to show and in a palpable way that life is a consequence of the evolution of the universefurthermoreSince we proudly believe that we are unique and the most powerful living beingsWe will realise that we are nothing more than a coincidence but frozen in the evolution of the universeThis will add in an important way to our understanding of humility as human beingsWe should be humble not only with respect to ourselvesBut also with respect to other species that live on the planetWe should also give life the respectIt deserves and every aspect they look at lead us a minuteIf you imagine looking out above the Earth’s atmosphere into the dark starry night and imagining the immensity of the universeIts would be ratherDiscomforting to think that we are the only sentient beings out thereI think who would make the universe so much feel like a much more pleasant place if we realize it’s somewhere out there on anotherrock orbiting another starLike our own could beAnother sort of being perhaps similar less perhaps not so similar looking back in our direction and wondering if we existedLife beyond Earth is today. I have offices more than a certainty aNew science astrobiology is knocking on the gates of the universe once again with more improved technical equipment and greater knowledgeThe cosmos will shine then with greater magnificence and man will be amazed once again before this manifestationAfter all month why not just might emerge at any moment or in any place and in whatever form you chooseYou

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