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Extraterrestrial LIfe

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  1. Extraterrestrial LIfe By: Sydney Bumbargerand Haley Kreh

  2. Table of Contents • How Are Alien Worlds Discovered? • Mars • Jupiter • Europa • Titan • Kepler 22b • Kepler-62 System • Bibliography 3 6 7 9 10 11 12 13

  3. How Are Alien Worlds Discovered? • Transit Method • Watches for dips in a star’s brightness as a planet passes in front of it • Radial Velocity • Picks up on the tiny wobbles a planet causes on its parent star’s motion toward or away from earth • Also known as the Doppler method because it measures shifts in the star’s light caused by the gravitational pulls 3

  4. How Are Alien Worlds Discovered? • Gravitational Microlensing • Astronomers watch for massive objects passing in front of a star • The object bends and magnifies the light from the star, and produces a light curve that can tell a lot about the object • Direct Imaging • Powerful telescopes take images of distant worlds • Use coronagraphs to block out the glare of their parent stars 4

  5. How are alien worlds discovered? • Pulsar Timing • Anomalies in the timing of pulsars’ radio waves can reveal the presence of orbiting planets • Harnessing Special Relativity • Astronomers watch for a star to brighten as it is tugged by an orbiting planet and as a result light is focused in the direction of the star’s motion • Astrometry • Tracks a stars movements on the sky to spot the gravitational tugs of orbiting planets • Produces limited and debatable results 5

  6. Mars • Curiosity visited Gale crater, and found evidence supporting the idea that there was once a river running through the area that small microbes could have prospered in • Spirit and Opportunity both found clay minerals on Mars’ surface that formed in the presence of acidic or highly salty water • Recent analyses detected carbon dioxide, but this compound could have been given off during the rover’s experiments 6

  7. Jupiter • Jupiter is a gas giant planet that has no surface, and extreme temperatures and pressures • Some scientists speculate that organic chemicals in Jupiter’s atmosphere could have reacted and produced floating life forms in the lower atmosphere 7

  8. Jupiter • These life forms would be able to adjust to their own air pressure as they float about • However, recent studies show far fewer organic molecules than expected 8

  9. Europa • One of Jupiter’s many moons • Due to the changing gravitational pull of Jupiter, it is stretched over and over • This creates heat, which melts the ice closest to its core, resulting in a hidden ocean protected by a thick layer of ice • Many scientists predict that life forms that have adapted to live in these cold, dark conditions may reside on the interesting moon • Some organisms might even be able to walk on the surface as a result of cracks in the crust 9

  10. Titan • One of Saturn’s moons • Has an assortment of organic molecules on it • Amino acids discovered to be there • Led to understanding that there may have primitive life forms there • However, the moon is extremely cold 10

  11. Kepler 22b • Eerily similar to Earth • 600 light years away • Best candidate for life besides earth • Average temperature of about 72˚F • Orbits star similar to our own sun • One year = 290 Earth days • However, it could possibly be more like Neptune, with only a rocky core and mostly ocean 11

  12. Kepler-62 System • 1,200 light years away from Earth (7,054,199,780,000,000 miles) • Star is Kepler 62 • System of 5 planets • Kepler 62e and 62f • Mostly water, so any life would be sea- based • Daily life would not be technology based • Around 1.5 times the size of Earth 12

  13. Bibliography “Europa & Titan: Moons With Life?” Earthguide.uscd.edu. 2002. 14 May 2013 http://earthguide.uscd.edu/virtualmuseum/listu/10_3. “NASA finds new planet Kepler 22b outside solar system with temperature right for life.” The Washington Post. 7 December 2011. 14 May 2013 http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/nasa-finds-new-planet-Kepler-22b-outside-solar-system-with-temperature-right-for-life/2011/12/07/glQAPfzFdO_story.html. Fisher, Max. “New planet similar to Earth discovered: how far is 600 light years away?” The Washington Post. 06 December 2011. 9 May 2013 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/new-planet-similar-to-earth-discovered-how-far-is-600-light-years-away/2011/12/06/glQABQ9SaO_blog.html. Impey, Chris. The Living Cosmos. New York: Cambridge University Press, June 2011. Kaufman, Marc. “Think Outside the Box to Find Extraterrestrial Life.” National Geographic. 02 May 2013. 13 May 2013 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/13502-exoplanets-hydrogen-atmosphere-space-science/. 13

  14. Bibliography Landalay, Elizabeth. “3 new planets could host life.” CNN. 21 April 2013. 9 May 2013 http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery. Mann, Adam. “Curiosity Rover Finds Evidence That Mars Could Have Hosted Life.” Wired. 12 March 2013. 13 May 2013 http://www.wired.com/wired/wiredscience/2013/03/curiosity-mars-life/. Roach, Joan. “Jupiter Moon May Have Life- Experts Urge a Mission.” National Geographic. 23 March 2005. 13 May 2013 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/03/0323_050323_jupitereuropa.html. Taylor Redd, Nola. “Life on Jupiter Moon Europa May Hide in Depths to Survive.” Space.com. 04 April 2012. 14 May 2013 http://www.space.com/15152-jupiter-moon-europa-life.html. Wall, Mike. “7 Ways to Discover Alien Planets.” Space.com. 02 May 2013. 14 May 2013 http://www.space.com/20941-alien-planet-detection-techniques-countdown.html. York, Christopher. “Two Life-Friendly Planets, Keper 62e and Kepler 62, Discovered in Same Solar System.” Huffpost Tech. 22 April 2013. 13 May 2013 http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/22/two-life-friendly-planets_n_3130349.html. 14