In the first half, Astronomy Professor Chris Impey discussed the types of life that may exist beyond Earth, and how we may find it, as well as issues in cosmology, and space exploration. In a recent interview, he suggested that extraterrestrial life will likely be detected within 10 to 15 years, though it will probably be microbial rather than intelligent in origin. Among the most promising sites for life, Impey named the Trappist-1 system, which is thought to have five inhabitable planets, and within our own solar system-- Jupiter's moon Europa, and Saturn's moon Titan, which both have liquid oceans. If Titan's cold ethane-methane oceans contain life, they would be of a novel biochemical composition, not found on Earth, he added.
Looking to our future, Impey speculates that humanity will venture off Earth, with colonies on the moon, Mars, and beyond. Over the next thousand years, such colonies would start to deviate from us genetically, as well as use genetic engineering, and machine parts to almost become cyborgs, he added. The Dalai Lama has in recent years been bringing out teachers such as Impey to lecture at their monasteries to keep the monks and nuns attuned to the latest scientific developments. Interestingly, he noted that Buddhist religious traditions relate to modern notions of cosmology such as the multiverse, and the idea of many worlds. Regarding interstellar journeys, right now interdimensional travel remains science-fiction, but "the best bet...is to get near light-speed travel to make something like teleportation work," he cited.
Professor Rosalyn Berne is an expert in the social and ethical implications of newly developed and emerging technologies. She has also become known for her work with animal-human communication, particularly with horses. She recalled how about seven years ago, she was riding a horse on a trail in Costa Rica, and fell off and landed in a river. "I got up and something had changed. I hopped up on that horse, wet from head to toe, and I heard that horse talking," she disclosed. The horse communicated to her in a kind of telepathy, expressing surprise that she had fallen off, and worry that he was going to be in trouble. He also asked Berne to relay to his owner that he didn't need any more training, just occasional breaks from the trail rides. This shocked the owner who revealed that they had just discussed in the previous week the possibility of retraining the horse.
As an "equine empath," Berne subsequently became close with a mare named Beauty, also located in Costa Rica. The mare shared concerns with her over the state of humanity, and said the Earth was on the brink of a possible shift in which it would no longer be able to sustain the human race. "We have just a little time left to figure out how to be here in a way that is not so destructive to the whole," Beauty warned her. Berne also addressed her research into nanotechnology and ethics, and the social responsibility of scientists in these kinds of fields.
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