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Interestingly, just after writing this, I saw a post about a recent paper that looked into the potential for electrostatic discharges (ESDs) due to the activity of the Martian dust to react with sulfur and chlorine and even iron, and it now has me wondering if another potential hypothesis to add into the mix is that this the rusting on Mars has continued to be driven by ESD: https://source.wustl.edu/2020/12/powerful-electrical-events-quickly...

Sometimes I think that  whatever laws we give for understanding is correct in our self but may be or it is wrong actually , means to understand the universe or a process we give our law to define that thing . But what if that law is wrong actually what if the reson is something else for that cause .We calibrate things in our understanding but what if reson for something is different . Did u get what I am asking .?

Should NASA Astrobiologists lend their expertise to the study of reports of UFO encounters.The Pentagon takes study of these phenomenon seriously. The Pentagon has a project called Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.(AATIP).We have all seen the famous incident(there was video taken from the F-18 super hornet)where the air force pilots could be heard talking to each other as they chased this ufo over the ocean.There was also instrument verification of the ufo. As a retired microbiologist I'm certain that there exists microbes on some planet other than earth, probably also in our solar system..I suggest that NASA also address UFO study. Many of these reports come from highly credible witnesses.

Hi Sam! While I personally don't think NASA itself should necessarily be responsible for addressing unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP; a better term than the somewhat out-dated UFO), there are a lot of good reasons for us to scientifically explore what any such UAP may be. While we really don't have solid evidence that such phenomena are indeed alien spaceships or other technologies, that remains one potential hypothesis that could eventually be tested. There's a really good article from Ravi Kopparapu and Jacob Haqq-Misra from this past year in Scientific American where they argue the case for why we should explore these UAP scientifically: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/unidentified-aerial-phen...

I read the Scientific American article and agree with the authors. Rigorous scientific method should be used in the investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena. Research in this area should be published in a peer reviewed journal.The vision of NASA is ":We reach new heights and reveal the unknown in science, technology,aeronautics and space exploration to enhance knowledge"I agree with this mission statement, and would suggest that a special department at NASA preside over the investigation of UAP. UAP is definitely an aeronautic phenomenon of unknown origin.If in fact this phenomenon is really attributable to extraterrestrial beings(which the scientific american article argues should not be dismissed out of hand) it would absolutely be the most amazing consequential discovery ever made in history! Think of all the many implications.J Allen Hynek would have wanted NASA to be involved in this area of research.

Career advice question:

My plan currently includes achieving medical laboratory certification and job placement at a hospital. I am close to this goal and will likely find a part time position where I can focus my baccalaureate, how useful is a B.A. in Biology with this experience? It's not that I do not want a B.S., but I need significantly fewer credits to be a warded a B.A. and as you may realize, significantly less tuition.

Thank you in advance for your attention and consideration, I am a fan of all of your work.

Hi Christopher. That really depends on what you want the degree for. You can certainly still be accepted into graduate schools to continue your education with a BA as well as with a BS. If you're considering going into research in biology after your baccalaureate, then it also doesn't necessarily matter if it's a BA or a BS. What will matter more in both cases is your research experience, knowledge attained through accredited coursework, and your drive. I'm honestly a huge fan of avoiding student debt in whatever way you can (and I say that as someone who spent 13 years in the collegiate setting earning my degrees). While I don't think the difference in the degree of BA vs. BS matters all that much, what might matter are the courses you will take and the potential research experiences you may have. However, if you're not interested in continuing in research after the degree, then that also will matter far less, so it really does matter what you intend to use the degree for.

I want to push in the direction of astrobiology like many people here. You probably know quite well that there is not a single direct path. I'm wondering if the lack of math courses included in a BA in Biology would be a hindrance to me in the future. I mentioned that I will soon have experience in a hospital medical lab in the hopes that it would possibly be redeeming lol. I also think I feel overwhelmed about how long it takes, and I see you can relate to that!

So what advice would you give to a person who has a B.A. in Biology and a strong desire to contribute to the field of astrobiology?

I have a question about Tissue chips/ organs on chips. I am aware that tissue chips are used for improving life on earth because of the quick changes that happen in space. But can I know whether tissue chips are used to study the effects of microgravity on the human body because evidently, space flight is advancing more than ever. That is to say, that tissue chips are not only used in the field of medicine but also in space exploration and how exactly they are being used to study the effects of microgravity in space exploration (if they are being used, that is)?  Thanks

How much do you believe in the 1999 Rare Earth hypothesis, especially since Kepler changed its math by 1000%? As well as other new information has been discovered that make other parts of the hypothesis on less solid footing? Even if there are say averaged only 2 planets per galaxy with intelligent life, that's still maybe 4 Trillion planets with intelligent life. Lastly doesn't the fact that Earth is considered a youngish planet mean that other planets with intelligent life would probably much more advanced?


Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Brent :)

Hi Brent,

In answer to all of the questions you've posted here on the Rare Earth Hypothesis:

Most of us have read that book. Peter Ward and Don Brownlee are both very well respected in the realm of astrobiology (and Peter in paleontology and Don in the realm of planetary science). However, your phrasing in your language isn't exactly how we would approach a scientific consideration of their hypothesis. It's not about how much one believes in it, but more about the veracity of the claims given current knowledge, what predictions the hypothesis makes, and how we might test it. Many of us have had issues with the Rare Earth Hypothesis for a variety of reasons, but the planet detections from Kepler really didn't change much of what Peter and Don were proposing in that book. We certainly have thousands of more confirmed exoplanets in the two decades since the book came out, but they weren't hypothesizing that planets themselves are rare. Indeed, what they were suggesting is that an earthlike biosphere might be rare, due to a variety of factors that they point out as being unique to the Earth. However, as I've mentioned, many of us have had issues with their hypothesis (I even got into a rather heated argument with Larry Esposito over it during a graduate course some years ago!). But the main arguments many of us have made are less about the issue that we knew of fewer planets when they wrote the book, but rather that we had and still have very little data to show that many of the key factors they highlight are indeed all that rare. But, also, there are many of us who posit that life may be able to originate and evolve, even to the point of developing technological civilizations, on worlds that are much different than the Earth. 

One key place where their hypothesis still holds is as one potential answer to the problem some call the "Fermi Paradox". This truly is not a paradox, but it is an interesting problem and many very good answers have been proposed that could help us to understand it. Among the answers is that intelligent life like ours truly is very rare (even if not requiring a "Rare Earth"). While it seems like if life is common in the galaxy then there must be other civilizations, we really simply don't know yet. Maybe there are other civilizations, but maybe, just like us, they also have developed their own existential crises in the threat of warfare, climate change, disease, or other factors. For instance, my favorite part of the Drake Equation is the L factor at the very end that proposes that we might need to consider the longevity of civilizations when it comes to figuring out whether or not we're alone. 

In answer to your other question about whether there should be much older civilizations, we also really don't know about that. It took something in the rough range of 4 billion years for life on Earth to go from the start up to having a civilization that can send signals into space, but that doesn't mean other worlds are the same. Maybe going from simple microbes to radio receivers and interplanetary space probes happens a lot faster for most worlds, or maybe, as Peter and Don questioned in the Rare Earth Hypothesis, it might be that the jump to technological civilization is itself a rare process that might take far long on average for other worlds. Maybe it takes many other worlds 6 billion years or 10 billion years. Again, we really don't know. But it is definitely a healthy thought to remind ourselves that just because it happened one way here doesn't necessarily mean it will happen the same way somewhere else. 

Thank you so much Graham, what an excellent response.


I'm going to have to take some time to respond, again thank you so much.


I really appreciate your time. As you might of noticed, its been difficult to talk to an astrobiologist.


I do enjoy the TNG chats, but not why I'm here. Side note, Patrick Stewart, Leonard Nimoy, Brent Spiner, just to get past the basics.


One part of the equation: Kepler's data results in 2013 data changes the most important Rare Earth metric of quantity of solar systems & planets, off by approximately 1000%.


That's a huge change in the equation. (not so rare)


Thank you so very much,






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