All posts tagged: Astronomer

‘We live in a golden time of exploration’: astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger on the hunt for signs of extraterrestrial life | Alien life

‘We live in a golden time of exploration’: astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger on the hunt for signs of extraterrestrial life | Alien life

Staring into the abyss… Am I really reaching anyone out there?” Lisa Kaltenegger is laughing about the unsatisfactory experience of teaching astrophysics over Zoom during Covid lockdowns, but she could be talking about her vocation: trying to discover if there’s life beyond our solar system. Kaltenegger founded the Carl Sagan Institute in 2015 to investigate just that. A burst of sunny energy and infectious enthusiasm on a grey day, she’s speaking to me from the legendary extraterrestrial life researcher’s old office, now hers, overlooking the leafy Cornell campus in upstate New York. The institute brings together researchers across a range of disciplines to work out what signs of life on other planets might look like from here, so that we recognise them if (or when) we find them. It’s a big job at the forefront of exceptionally hard science. Kaltenegger collaborates with Nasa, has won multiple awards and published extensively over two decades. But her latest project is no peer-reviewed paper: it’s a pop science book about the search for life. Alien Earths – at …

Top Astronomer Warns That Elon Musk’s Mars Plans Are a Dangerous Delusion

Top Astronomer Warns That Elon Musk’s Mars Plans Are a Dangerous Delusion

“I don’t think it’s realistic…” Mars Attack SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said he plans to put a million people on Mars by 2050 — with his ex-girlfriend Grimes presumably being one of those colonizers. But Martin Rees, respected astrophysicist and member of the Royal Households of the United Kingdom under the lofty title of “Astronomer Royal,” is saying not so fast — and calling Musk’s plans a “dangerous illusion.” He made his bold-face remarks for the House of Lords’ podcast Lord Speaker’s Corner, as spotted by The Telegraph, in which he also called Musk an “extraordinary figure” who has a “rather strange personality,” alluding to Musk’s increasingly erratic behavior. “I don’t think it’s realistic and we’ve got to solve those problems here on Earth,” he said. “Dealing with climate change on Earth is a doddle compared to making Mars habitable. So I don’t think we should hold that out as a long-term aim at all.” “I think there might be a few crazy pioneers living on Mars, just like there are people living at the South …

Send robots into space rather than people, says Britain’s Astronomer Royal

Send robots into space rather than people, says Britain’s Astronomer Royal

LONDON : Britain’s Astronomer Royal Martin Rees said sending people into space when robots could do the job just as effectively was a waste of public money, and space exploration should be left to billionaires and those willing to pay for trips themselves. “I’m sceptical about the idea of a human space flight being worthwhile,” Rees told the Lord Speaker’s Corner podcast, which features members of Britain’s upper house of parliament. “Now that robots can do the things that humans were needed for 50 years ago, the case for sending people is getting weaker all the time.” Astronomer Royal is now a largely honorary title. It was established by King Charles II in 1675 to advise the monarch and has previously been held by some of Britain’s most pre-eminent scientists. Rees said space travel should only be for those prepared to accept a “very high level of risk”, and it should be paid for privately rather than by the taxpayer. Britain’s space programmes have traditionally focused on space research rather than crewed missions. Helen Sharman …

‘This century is special’: Astronomer Royal Martin Rees on the vast span of time

‘This century is special’: Astronomer Royal Martin Rees on the vast span of time

Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, British cosmologist and astrophysicist. Getty Images IN OUR everyday lives, time is a precious commodity. We can gain it or lose it. We can save, spend or waste it. If our crimes are revealed, we risk doing time. But it is, of course, something we can measure. Indeed, clocks have, over the centuries, been the high-tech artefacts of their era – the water clock, the pendulum clock, Harrison’s chronometer, all the way up to the incredible precision of atomic clocks. Before there was a reliable calendar of… Source link