Saturday December 24, 2016

Looking for aliens in all the right places

Two of Saturn's moons, Enceladus (504 kilometers across) and Tethys (1,062 kilometers across). The clean ice of Enceladus may make it a good place to search for alien life.

Two of Saturn's moons, Enceladus (504 kilometers across) and Tethys (1,062 kilometers across). The clean ice of Enceladus may make it a good place to search for alien life. (NASA )

Listen 16:53

This segment first aired in December 2016.

The idea of finding life beyond our planet has fascinated humans for hundreds of years — from our earliest ancestors who first gazed into the night sky, to scientists behind exploratory space missions like Kepler, New Horizons or Curiosity.

The fact remains that no trace of life beyond the Earth has been found, but that hasn't stop humans from wondering and searching.  

Europa moon

Jupiter's moon Europa has warm, salt water oceans that could sustain life. (NASA )

One is Dr. Jon Willis, an Associate Professor of Astronomy at The University of Victoria in British Columbia.  In his book 'All These Worlds Are Yours - The Scientific Search For Alien Life' the author suggests the top five most plausible places to find other life out there.  

The book challenges the reader to choose the best option, given a specific budget in order to undertake the search.  Willis suggests that finding alien life — either extraterrestrial or microbial — in an infinite universe is not just a possibility, it is a certainty.