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Astrobiology and the Religious Imagination

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 […]

Kinship and Scholarship: A Librarian and Scholar Find Books and Each Other

Astrobiologist David Grinspoon and science librarian Margaret “Peg” Clifton have such an easy rapport that all I had to do was ask an initial question, and the two proceeded to speak for 30 minutes–finishing each other’s sentences along the way. The two reflect on their relationship forged at the Library of Congress that helped Grinspoon […]

How the Discovery of Life Will Transform Our Thinking

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 […]

History, Discovery and Analogy: Steven Dick Talks with C-SPAN’s American History TV About Discovering Life in the Universe

In a new video interview with C-SPAN’s American History TV, Kluge Center astrobiology chair Steven Dick explains how history, discovery, and analogy may be useful frameworks for approaching the problem of what societal reactions may be to the discovery of life beyond Earth. Dick has spent the past year at the Library of Congress as […]

On Microbes and Planets: Our Second Astrobiology Symposium Recapped

Last week’s astrobiology symposium, a part of our NASA/Library of Congress astrobiology program, was a feast of ideas and perspectives. I won’t attempt to summarize the entire event here. The conference proceedings will eventually be published as a volume, and the full webcast will be available on the Library of Congress and the NASA Astrobiology Institute websites […]

Why Astrobiology Matters to the Humanities

For the second year in a row, scholars in philosophy, the social sciences and humanities will come together with scientists at the Kluge Center this week to discuss the implications of astrobiology research on humanity and society. What does astrobiology matter to philosophers, anthropologists, historians and religion scholars? A great deal, it turns out. Astrobiology, […]