Show Details


February 21, 2006

An astronomer gives us the scoop on where scientists are likely to look next for life outside the universe.


Which stars will support life? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Finding life outside the solar system is the goal of several science programs. But with so many stars out there, how do they know where to look? One astronomer they turn to is Maggie Turnbull of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. She and her colleagues have created a catalog of about 19,000 nearby stars that could harbor life. And recently, she unveiled her top five.

MAGGIE TURNBULL (Carnegie Institution of Washington):
Our first and favorite targets are stars that are very similar to the sun. Stars that look like they are taking care of a planet that has Earth-like life on it


She says all of the stars in her catalog are stable like our sun. They are also at least three billion years old—the amount of time she guesses it would take to develop intelligent life.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.