Peter Ward, an investigator for the NASA Astrobiology Institute, discussed his new book Life as We Do Not Know It, which ponders the possible existence of alien life. Ward believes that scientists need to expand their classifications of what constitutes "life" and include such forms as viruses.He also argued that scientists should be open to the possibility that silicon or carbon-silicon bonds can generate lifeforms.
Ward reviewed the likeliest places for life in our solar system:
Life on Titan would be the most alien imaginable, said Ward, who advocated for manned missions to explore there even though it would take seven years for a crew to arrive. Visualizing what form alien life might take, he described single celled entities that could aggregate together to form huge spheres. Ward also touched on the efforts to synthesize alien life in various NASA labs. So far, microbial life has been created that from a chemical standpoint is unlike anything on our planet, he noted.
Bumper music from Thursday November 03, 2005