At a meeting at the Royal Society, which will include representatives from Nasa, the European Space Agency and the UN Office for Outer space Affairs, physicist Professor Paul Davies, from Arizona University, will explain why the best way of proving that extraterrestrial life exists elsewhere is to find it on earth first.
Davies is into looking for “weird” microbes that belong to a “shadow biosphere” in deserts, volcanic vents, salt-saturated lakes and the dry valleys of Antarctica, places earth life doesn’t survive so well.
Professor Davies will give a public lecture ‘The Eerie Silence: are we alone in the universe? ’ on Tuesday 26th January.
The meeting concerning the detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society is the first to take place in the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary year.
Other highlights of the conference include Professor Simon Conway Morris FRS on predicting what extra-terrestrial life might be like and preparing for the worst, Professor Albert A Harrison on what the reality of human responses to extra-terrestrial intelligence might be, and Nobel prize winner Christian de Duve on life as a cosmic imperative.