The Hunt for Life Begins

  • Will Gater
Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)


For centuries, and likely millennia, humans have tried to figure out their place in the universe. For many scientists, astronomers, and planetary scientists the answer lies not with Earth itself but far out into the Solar System, in the planetary neighborhoods of distant suns. It would seem, then, that finding life elsewhere in the universe may be the key to understanding life here on planet Earth. So scientists around the world go about studying the worlds of our Solar System and the galaxy we live in. For if we can find a sign of life living away from the relative calm of Earth, it may be that the requirements for life can be met throughout the galaxy and even the universe at large.


Solar System Habitable Zone Martian Atmosphere Martian Surface Mars Express 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



  1. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Mars Meteorites.”
  2. Lunar and Planetary Institute. “What is ALH8001?”
  3. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Galileo FAQ – Galileo’s Antenna.”
  4. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “A Summary of Facts About Europa.”

Press releases

  1. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House. “Remarks by the President upon departure.” (The South Lawn, 1:15 pm EDT, August 7, 1996)Google Scholar
  2. Stanford University/Johnson Space Center. “Meteorite yields evidence of primitive life on early Mars.” (August 7, 1996)Google Scholar
  3. Johnson Space Center. “Study may cast doubt on some 1996 evidence of past life on Mars.” (May 5, 2004)Google Scholar
  4. Stanford University. “Latest research casts new doubt on evidence for fossil life in Martian meteorite.” (January 21, 1998)Google Scholar
  5. Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawaii. “No life in Martian meteorite, UH scientists reaffirm.” (August 14, 1998)Google Scholar
  6. University of Arizona. “HiRISE camera returns new view of dark pit on Mars and adds 930 more images to NASA Space Mission Archive.” (August 29, 2007)Google Scholar
  7. University of Arizona HiRISE. “New view of dark pit on Arsia Mons.”
  8. European Space Agency. “Europe’s eye on Mars: first spectacular results from Mars Express.” (January 19, 2004)Google Scholar
  9. European Space Agency. “ESA’s Mars Express sees signs of a ‘frozen sea’.” (February 23, 2005)Google Scholar
  10. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “New images hint at wet and wild history for Europa.” (April 9, 1997)Google Scholar
  11. American Geophysical Union/University College London. “Dig deeply to seek life on Mars.” AGU Release No. 07-03. (January 23, 2007)Google Scholar
  12. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Galileo evidence points to possible water world under Europa’s icy crust.” (August 25, 2000)Google Scholar

Online paper

  1. Everett K. Gibson et al. “It is dead Jim. But was it ever alive? – The ALH84001 announcement at T + 2 years: how well does this piece of Mars meet accepted criteria for evidence of ancient life?” Ad Astra Magazine: Astrobiology Expanded Edition.

Scientific papers

  1. John B. Murray et al. “Evidence from the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera for a frozen sea close to Mars’ equator.” Letter to Nature. Nature 434 (2005): 352–356ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. L. R. Dartnell et al. “Modeling the surface and subsurface Martian radiation environment: implications for astrobiology.” Geophysical Research Letters 34 (2007): L02207Google Scholar
  3. G. E. Cushing et al. “THEMIS observes possible cave skylights on Mars.” Paper presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science meeting XXXVIII (2007).

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Will Gater
    • 1
  1. 1.DevonUK

Personalised recommendations