Date: Monday, September 18, 2023
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., CDT
Where: Space Center Houston, 1601 E NASA Parkway, Houston, TX
Louis Friedman will talk about the possibility of life beyond Earth and his book Alone but Not Lonely: Exploring for Extraterrestrial Life at the Space Center Houston. September 18, 2023, marks the beginning of National Astronomy Week, and Friedman will answer the popular question: “Are we alone in the universe?” Friedman co-founded the Planetary Society with Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray and was its executive director for thirty years. He serves on the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts External Council and on the Breakthrough Initiatives Starshot Advisory Committee.
About the book:
Humans have always been fascinated by the possibility of extraterrestrial life, often wondering if we are alone in the universe. Drawing on nearly fifty years as a leader in planetary exploration, Louis Friedman brings into focus the subject of extraterrestrial life, separating knowledge from conjecture, fact from fiction, to draw scientific and technical conclusions that answer this enduring question.
Friedman argues that intelligent life is probably rare in the universe (maybe even uniquely on Earth) but that simple life is likely abundant on millions or billions of planets waiting now to be discovered. He asserts that studying and searching for extraterrestrial life cannot be done by interstellar probes—due to the vastness of space and the comparative brevity of human lifespans—but it can be done remotely by a new technique involving the solar gravity lens that can magnify exoplanets by tens of billions. This technique will allow humankind to explore exoplanets and open up an exciting new field of comparative astrobiology.