Life in the Universe

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Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps a decade or a century from now, scientists may make the most shattering discovery of all time: the detection of thriving, extraterrestrial life. As agencies such as NASA and ESA prepare missions and telescopes in space to search for life in this unearthly universe, each new generation awakens to the revolutionary possibilities that such a scientific discovery would bring.

This website presents first-class animations to help introduce our current understanding, from eclipses of our Sun and Moon to our place in the Milky Way.

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The question of what life lies beyond the Earth has fascinated us since ancient times. In that time creative minds from scholars and philosophers to film-makers and writers have devoted their energies to imagining life beyond this Earth. Only recently has such speculation been called astrobiology — the interdisciplinary study of the possibility of life on other worlds: alien worlds.

Astrobiology can be thought of as a field of natural philosophy, speculating on the unknown but grounded in known scientific theory. And much of that theory is based on our common understanding of stars and their systems of planets and moons — a common understanding which you can explore through the pages of this website.

Would you like to explore this subject further? For the latest news see Astrobiology Magazine. You could also visit the NASA website where the Origins program “takes up the challenge of answering questions as old as our species” and Planet Quest will “measure the distances and positions of stars with unprecedented accuracy”, while the European equivalent, ESA, is using Mars Express to “search for signs of life around the Red Planet”.