Anybody Out There?
In April 2007, astronomers discovered the most Earth-like planet outside of the solar system ever found. Gliese 581c, named after the star it orbits, is about 50 percent larger than Earth and is located about 20 light years away. We don't know much yet about this distant world, but what we do know is extraordinary: the planet is in what astronomers call the "habitable zone" around its star, at the right distance for liquid water to exist on the planet's surface. If there is water on Gliese 581c, it would probably be liquid water, which might be home to extraterrestrial life!
This amazing discovery inspired "Science 360: Anybody Out There?" Led by a Morehead educator, visitors will examine the science behind the search for extraterrestrial life. Throughout the program, with help of wireless response devices, the audience will be part of a science team that attempts to answer questions like how many planets are there in our galaxy, and could any of them support life? How often does life develop, and how often does it become intelligent? Will we ever make contact?
"Science 360: Anybody Out There?" is a great complementary program to our planetarium show, "Life in the Universe."
This interactive program is free and open to the public. Recomended for ages 8 and up. Special thanks to the SETI Institute and NASA's Ames Research Center for their assistance.
Major funding for Science 360 is provided by a National Science Foundation grant to support internships in physical science education.