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Category: Astrobiology

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Theories on the Origins of the Life: An Interview with Astrobiology Chair Nathaniel Comfort

Posted by: Dan Turello

In March, Astrobiology Chair Nathaniel Comfort interviewed four pioneering scientists about their roles in developing key models for the origins of life. The program titled “The Origins of the RNA World,” was part of Comfort’s year-long residency at the Kluge Center working on a book project about the genomic revolution’s impact on origins of life …

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Written at the Kluge Center: “The Impact of Discovering Life Beyond Earth”

Posted by: Jason Steinhauer

In a new series, we profile books, articles and other publications written by scholars-in-residence at The John W. Kluge Center and researched using the Library of Congress collections. Jason Steinhauer begins with the newly published “The Impact of Discovering Life Beyond Earth,” edited by 2013-14 Astrobiology Chair Steven Dick. Extraterrestrial life has not been discovered, …

Sweeping view from the floor of a great room, looking upwards past marble columns and arches to a grand golden-colored dome

Expanding the Astrobiology Conversation

Posted by: Jason Steinhauer

This year’s Blumberg Dialogues on Astrobiology expanded the conversations around astrobiology to include philosophers, historians, religion scholars, literature scholars, communications scholars and professors of English and theater, in addition to scientists. The videos of these public dialogues are now available on our website and YouTube; the dialogues were part of the Kluge Center’s Baruch S. …

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Baruch S. Blumberg: Bold Exploration and Pioneering Research

Posted by: Dan Turello

Our third Blumberg Dialogue in Astrobiology concluded on the afternoon of August 6th, bringing to a close an intense seminar series held this year with scholars from around the country and across disciplines. Designed as a complement to the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology, the dialogue series gathered more than 20 …

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Rethinking Life on Earth and Beyond: Astrobiology and the Role of Paradigm Shifts in Science and Human Self-Understanding

Posted by: Dan Turello

Scientific discoveries have always had the potential to be contentious, and this has been especially true in phases of transition, when new areas of knowledge have been glimpsed but not yet fully explored, classified, or agreed upon. It is during these transitions that thick debates often ensue. Discoveries can sometimes be threatening because new evidence …

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Astrobiology and the Religious Imagination

Posted by: Jason Steinhauer

In December, NASA announced that its Mars Curiosity rover measured a tenfold spike in methane in the martian atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill. Then last week, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft provided scientists clear evidence that Saturn’s moon Enceladus exhibits signs of present-day hydrothermal …

Sweeping view from the floor of a great room, looking upwards past marble columns and arches to a grand golden-colored dome

How the Discovery of Life Will Transform Our Thinking

Posted by: Jason Steinhauer

Astrobiology Chair Steven Dick believes that the discovery of life in the universe is a question of when, not if. Such a discovery will take different forms: microbial life, possibly complex life, maybe even intelligent life. Researching the scenarios and investigating the potential outcomes and ramifications has been at the essence of Dick’s year-long residency …