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Earth at the Crossroads: Can the Study of Other Worlds Help Us Save This One?

Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021

Location: US,

Thu, November 18, 2021

10:00 AM – 6:00 PM EST

Tantalizing new discoveries suggest that we are probably not alone in the universe. And yet, as Enrico Fermi first put in 1950: where is everybody? Are habitable worlds rare, unlikely, and therefore cosmically precious? Or is life easily overwhelmed by changing planetary conditions? Do technological societies in particular face an inevitable “Great Filter” that causes their extinction? These questions link the search for extraterrestrial life to the urgent environmental challenges facing our own civilization, from deadly pandemics to human-caused climate change. On November 18th, Georgetown University and the SETI Institute will unite scholars, journalists, artists and activists in conversations that explore what the search for alien life may reveal about the future of life on Earth. These conversations will be open to Georgetown students and will be broadcast to the public. They will culminate in a roundtable debate intended to draft a proclamation on the state of Earth’s environment and its future potential in a cosmic context.

Panel Discussions:

  • A Planetary Perspective: Meet the L Variable
  • Habitability at Home
  • Habitability in the Solar System
  • Habitability Beyond
  • Habitability at Home Redux

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Ross Anderson, The Atlantic
  • John Brooke, Ohio State University
  • Morgan Cable, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Nathalie Cabrol, SETI Institute
  • Ann Marie Cody, SETI Institute
  • Nadia Drake, Science Journalist, Contributor to National Geographic
  • Abigail Fraeman, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Alice Gorman, Flinders University
  • David Grinspoon, Planetary Science Institute
  • Victoria Herrmann, The Arctic Institute
  • Chris House, Penn State University
  • Kennda Lynch, Lunar and Planetary Institute
  • Sofia Sheikh, Breakthrough Listen
  • Ellen Stofan, Smithsonian Institution
  • Jill Tarter, SETI Institute
  • Paul Voosen, Science Journalist, Science
  • Sara Walker, Arizona State University
  • Michael Wall, Science Journalist,
  • Michael Wong, Carnegie Institute of Washington
  • Alexandra Witze, Science Journalist, Contributor to Nature and Science

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