Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pathways Towards Habitable Planets


I knew it had to happen - a conference centered on the search for habitable planets. Pathways Towards Habitable Planets is being held at Barcelona, Spain, 14-18 September. Short notice, I know - I have signed up for their distribution list so that next year I will be able to give a decent heads up.

From their Web site:

The aim of this conference is to help integrate the prospective efforts in Europe and in the US, build a community around this theme, and bring together several pathways towards that final goal.
Conference Offerings

It should prove to be a very interesting conference. Looking over their program, there does not appear to be one talk I would pass up. Though if I could only attend two presentations:
  1. first, I would have to say Dr. David Kipping's presentation, "The Detectability of Habitable Exomoons," is not to be missed. As I have mentioned before, I strongly believe that we should not only look for life on habitable planets, but on large moons as well. Planet moons like Star Wars' Endor may not be just in the realm of science fiction (and will likely prove to be more interesting and exciting than what has been so far imagined).
  2. Second, I would have to attend J. Scheider's "'Are We Alone?' in different cultures" presentation. Dr. Scheider - I believe you have a book concept there: an exploration of how different culture's answer that enduring question: "are we alone?
Why It Matters

This is exiting stuff. One long running theme for the human race has been exploration: climbing a mountain to peer over the horizon, sailing across forbidding seas in small, fragile craft, spreading out across the globe until no continent was left. We are meant to explore. It is our nature.

There are still areas on the Earth that remain largely unknown. We have the depths of the oceans where many mysterious life forms swim in the dark, waiting to be seen for the first time by wonder-filled eyes of undersea explorers. But as incredible as the diversity of life is on our mother Earth, much of which is yet to be discovered and studied, out across the vast space-ocean lie islands of life to be discovered that will expand even more our understanding of the diversity of life. And we will find yet again that T.S. Eliot was right, as he wrote in his poem "Little Gidding":
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Conference Blogger (Tweeter)?

But alas, I have classes to teach, and the conference falls at the beginning of the Fall quarter - it would be difficult to miss the first week of classes. Someone needs to blog from that conference. If anyone attending the Pathways Towards Habitable Planets conference is planing on blogging (or tweeting) about their conference experience, please let me know, I will be more than happy to link to your blog.


Pathways Towards Habitable Planets. n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2009. <http://www.pathways2009.net/>

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog, well done. I especially liked the quote. I'll be back.