Ted Talks- Blog 5

There are many beliefs that life exists somewhere else in the universe. Seth Shostak, a researcher at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute claims that “the smart money, which is to say the people working on this project, the smart money is suggesting that the fraction of planets that might be suitable for life is maybe one in a thousand, one in a hundred, something like that”. That’s a very high estimate, although not for our solar system, but for the rest of our galaxy and universe. There are many factors that contribute to suitability of life on another planet.

Some of these factors are temperature, atmosphere, and distance from the sun. But there are ways for life to adapt to extremes. For example, Europa, a moon that orbits Jupiter, is almost covered with a large layer of ice. It is also very far from the sun and therefore receives little sunlight. In his TED Talk, Freeman Dyson claims that life could be possible on Europa if the life had lenses or mirrors that could concentrate sunlight to produce energy/warmth. This is an interesting theory, as it suggests that the factors such as temperature, atmosphere, etc. may be avoidable through adaptations such as the one above.

Another thought-provoking idea that is spoken about in the TED Talk is the possibility of designing creatures and sending them to other planets where they will be suitable to live. Obviously we don’t have the technology for this yet. Although we wouldn’t be able to send shuttles to distant planets yet, humans are innovating in modifying living things. For a while, modifying human genes has been a widely debated topic as it may become available in the future. This is the first step in possibly sending life to other planets.

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