Broadcast 1575 (Special Edition)

14 Jun 2011 Marc Kaufman
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Guest: Marc Kaufman. Topics: First Contact, the search for ET life, exoplanets, astrobiology. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. Mr. Kaufman has a website which you can visit for more information, http://habitablezones.com. In addition, the book is available on the OGLF Amazon partners page and if you buy it through One Giant Leap and Amazon, Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show. Please use http://www.amazon.com/dp/1439109001/ref=as_li_tf_til?tag=onegialeafou-20. We started our discussion with Mr. Kaufman by asking about his two years of travel researching this topic. He said one of the most influential people he met that interested him in the exoplanets subject was Professor Sara Seager at MIT. I then suggested to Marc that we start our more detailed discussion of his book and the subject by looking at the three options for possible ET life in his last chapter. These options include (1) "We are alone in the universe and Earth is the only planet, moon, asteroid, comet, or undiscovered other body anywhere with life;" (2) "Only Earth has complex life;" (3) "Life exists beyond Earth and, in some instances, has become complex and most likely includes what we would consider intelligence." We then worked backwards in our discussion from the three options, asking Marc what there was in his research that led him to each of these possible outcomes. Later in the first segment, we talked about Martian methane and the work by Dr. Michael Mumma. Marshall called in with a question about evolution and creationism among religions people that he met with regarding his ET research. Marc had much to say on this topic.. Marshall also asked about the Fermi Paradox. You do not want to miss what Marc said about this. We started the second segment talking about the book "Rare Earth" by University of Washington researchers which attempts to explain why complex life is uncommon in the universe. This theory suggests that the physical conditions and other contributing factors leading to complex Earth life were very rare and sometimes even occurring by chance, thus they would be hard to duplicate at best. Do not miss what Marc had to say about this theory. Later in this segment, Karen asked for a time line for discovering ET life and Marc suggested that much of the effort was based on the funding received by NASA and ESA. Also, coming up with a realistic time line for ET discovery would be extremely difficult and prone to error. That said, Mr. Kaufman talked about the pace of new scientific discoveries that have the potential to lead to the discovery of ET life. John from Atlanta called in to talk about doubt and the "ultimate trajectory" for technical progress. We talked about the laws of physics, the multiverse, the Entropy Principle as previously discussed on The Space Show with Dr. Richard Gott, and an inflationary universe. We also talked about the publication of theories and the blogosphere attacks, citing the arsenic studies from Mono Lake, the more recent announcement about Martian microfossils by Dr. Richard Hoover, and the attacks on Dennis Wingo for his open letter in reply to the open letter by the three famous astronauts. If you have questions or comments for Marc Kaufman, post them on the blog URL above. Mr. Kaufman can be reached at kaufman@washpost.com.

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