Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsExtraterrestrial Life
IN THE NEWS

Extraterrestrial Life

FEATURED ARTICLES
NEWS
October 12, 1990 | United Press International
A powerful new radio receiver began scanning the sky from the Southern Hemisphere today for possible messages from intelligent life in outer space. About 100 people gathered at the Argentine Institute of Radioastronomy outside Buenos Aires as the high-tech receiver was switched on and began monitoring more than 8 million radio frequencies. Nothing was immediately detected. "Nobody thinks it's going to get turned on and there will be a 'Hello, how are you?' sitting there.
ARTICLES BY DATE
SCIENCE
July 9, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
In a long awaited but hardly unanticipated development, two teams of scientists reported Sunday that a strange bacterium called GFAJ-1, once reported to use arsenic instead of phosphorus in its cellular machinery, requires phosphorus to grow after all - just like every other organism on Earth. The microbe “is still a phosphate-dependent bacterium,” one of the research teams wrote in the journal Science. The two groups' research papers may put to rest a debate that began in December 2010 when a group of scientists, including a NASA-affiliated researcher named Felisa Wolfe-Simon, announced a jaw-dropping discovery that a strange bacterium they had discovered in California's Mono Lake seemed to use arsenic in its cellular machinery instead of phosphorus.
Advertisement
NEWS
March 5, 2006 | Bryn Nelson, Newsday
Scientists are ramping up the search for extraterrestrial life with a powerful array of new telescopes and a refined sense of where to look within the vast expanses of the universe. At the annual conference of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science last month, a panel of experts discussed the key components of life and what it might mean to find them within our solar system -- or beyond.
SCIENCE
May 24, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / For the Science Now blog
Life on Earth is based on organic molecules - so when scientists have found these carbon-based compounds in meteorites from Mars, many can't help but get excited. Might the presence of organic carbon in Martian rocks be a sign of ancient life on the Red Planet? Were the molecules carried to Mars from Earth or someone else in the solar system?  Or did they arise on the planet, a product of Martian geology? The questions have been a subject of debate for decades, flaring up periodically when an object of interest comes along, offering tantalizing clues of life beyond.
NEWS
July 31, 1995 | LEE DEMBART, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
For several decades now, human beings have had the technological ability to search for life elsewhere in the universe, and we have done so. So far, however, the results of the radio search of the heavens have been zero. As far as we know, life on Earth is the only life there is. But it is far from clear whether "not yet" means "not ever." The case can be argued either way, and there is a small library of books that have made the arguments and investigated the possibilities.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 14, 1996 | K.C. COLE, TIMES SCIENCE WRITER
Intriguing new close-ups of Jupiter's icy companion Europa sent back by the Galileo spacecraft suggest that a huge watery underworld may lie beneath the moon's frozen crust, offering a possible habitat for life, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said Tuesday. In the wake of last week's dramatic discovery of possible ancient life on Mars, NASA chief Dan Goldin warned against jumping the gun.
SCIENCE
December 22, 2010 | By Karen Kaplan and Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The stage was set by a coy news release from NASA that hinted at a discovery tied to the search for extraterrestrial life. The blogosphere went wild: Had bacteria been found on one of Saturn's moons, or life of some sort on Mars? FOR THE RECORD: Mono Lake bacteria: A Dec. 23 article in Section A about a bacteria from Mono Lake that may be able to survive on the toxic element arsenic quoted Harry Collins, who studies the sociology of scientific knowledge at the University of Cardiff, and said that the university is in England.
NEWS
March 12, 1987
For millions of American adults a "close encounter of the third kind" is a distinct possibility, with only about one in three flatly denying the existence of either unidentified flying objects or extraterrestrial life. In a new Gallup survey, 50% express the belief that there are "people somewhat like ourselves living on other planets in the universe," while 34% are skeptical and 16% unsure.
OPINION
December 4, 2010
One of the better-known quotes from the original "Star Trek" series came from Mr. Spock, who, in describing a space colony, said "there is no life .... at least no life as we know it. " That quotation is echoed in the breathless descriptions by scientists of a newly found bacterium, one that can digest arsenic instead of the phosphorus processed by other life forms. The organism was found in California's Mono Lake. The discovery was important in itself, but scientists were quick to extrapolate from it to speculate about what it might mean for extraterrestrial life.
SCIENCE
May 24, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / For the Science Now blog
Life on Earth is based on organic molecules - so when scientists have found these carbon-based compounds in meteorites from Mars, many can't help but get excited. Might the presence of organic carbon in Martian rocks be a sign of ancient life on the Red Planet? Were the molecules carried to Mars from Earth or someone else in the solar system?  Or did they arise on the planet, a product of Martian geology? The questions have been a subject of debate for decades, flaring up periodically when an object of interest comes along, offering tantalizing clues of life beyond.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 7, 2011 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
Software engineer Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill sat alone in an observatory in this volcanic valley near Mt. Shasta, staring out a picture window at storm clouds gathering over the world's largest instrument to search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He had reason to look forlorn, surrounded by empty bookshelves, unmarked chalkboards and rows of tables where scientists from around the world once argued over the best direction to aim 42 radio telescopes designed to act as an enormous ear capable of scanning more than a million stars over 10 billion radio frequencies.
SCIENCE
December 22, 2010 | By Karen Kaplan and Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The stage was set by a coy news release from NASA that hinted at a discovery tied to the search for extraterrestrial life. The blogosphere went wild: Had bacteria been found on one of Saturn's moons, or life of some sort on Mars? FOR THE RECORD: Mono Lake bacteria: A Dec. 23 article in Section A about a bacteria from Mono Lake that may be able to survive on the toxic element arsenic quoted Harry Collins, who studies the sociology of scientific knowledge at the University of Cardiff, and said that the university is in England.
OPINION
December 4, 2010
One of the better-known quotes from the original "Star Trek" series came from Mr. Spock, who, in describing a space colony, said "there is no life .... at least no life as we know it. " That quotation is echoed in the breathless descriptions by scientists of a newly found bacterium, one that can digest arsenic instead of the phosphorus processed by other life forms. The organism was found in California's Mono Lake. The discovery was important in itself, but scientists were quick to extrapolate from it to speculate about what it might mean for extraterrestrial life.
SCIENCE
October 9, 2010 | By Lori Kozlowski, Los Angeles Times
Gregory Benford, his brother James and his nephew Dominic decided to combine their knowledge of astrophysics, space, microwaves and economics to look at the search for extraterrestrial life from a money perspective. They posed a simple question: What would beacon transmitters be like if built by civilizations that cared about cost? Imagining and pricing out how much it would cost for aliens to create a beacon to send a signal deep into space, they concluded that sending messages between life forms could be very pricey and that our current searches for alien life may thus be looking for the wrong things.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 24, 2008 | Steve Padilla, Times Staff Writer
The ongoing debate over whether religion and science comfortably coexist got more ammunition this month, and on both sides of the argument. This ammunition took thought-provoking forms -- a foundation dedicated to exploring provocative questions, a letter written in 1954 by Albert Einstein and a Vatican astronomer who said it's OK to believe in space aliens. Let's start with Einstein. The letter was sold at auction in London on May 15 for $404,000. Einstein, writing a year before his death to philosopher Eric Gutkind, said, "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."
ENTERTAINMENT
December 18, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke listed three wishes on his 90th birthday: for the world to embrace cleaner energy resources; for a lasting peace in his adopted home, Sri Lanka; and for evidence of extraterrestrial beings. "I have always believed that we are not alone in this universe," he said in a speech to a small gathering of scientists, astronauts and government officials Sunday in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 14, 1996
Spacecraft are propelled by two kinds of engines: liquid-fuel rockets and public enthusiasm. It's the latter--roaring since late summer when independent analyses of a Martian meteorite revealed persuasive evidence of ancient organisms--that has fueled the prospect of an adventurous spaceflight.
NEWS
January 6, 1988 | BETTYANN KEVLES
Brown dwarfs and little green men inhabit Benjamin Zuckerman's working world. Neither cartoonist nor fantasist, Zuckerman is an astronomer whose recent discovery of the first brown dwarf suggests that other planets exist outside the solar system. Zuckerman defines a brown dwarf as "an object not massive enough to be a star, but bigger than a planet."
SCIENCE
July 7, 2007 | From Reuters
Extraterrestrial life may well be so weird we would not immediately recognize it, and scientists looking for alien life should be seeking the unfamiliar as well as the familiar, experts advised Friday. NASA's current approach to "follow the water" works if the assumption is that life everywhere is just like life on Earth -- based on water, carbon and DNA, they said. But the "life as we know it" approach could easily miss something exotic, the National Academy of Sciences panel said.
NEWS
March 5, 2006 | Bryn Nelson, Newsday
Scientists are ramping up the search for extraterrestrial life with a powerful array of new telescopes and a refined sense of where to look within the vast expanses of the universe. At the annual conference of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science last month, a panel of experts discussed the key components of life and what it might mean to find them within our solar system -- or beyond.
Los Angeles Times Articles
|