How might humanity prepare for the possibility of discovering microbial or complex life beyond Earth? Scientists, historians, philosophers and theologians from around the world will convene at the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center for two days in September to discuss: “Preparing for Discovery: A Rational Approach to the Impact of Finding Microbial, Complex or Intelligent Life Beyond Earth."
“The science of astrobiology has revealed new discoveries about the conditions and possibilities for life, both extremophile life on Earth and potentially habitable exoplanets beyond Earth,” says Dick. “The possibility that simple or complex organisms may be discovered elsewhere compels us to ask how we might prepare to face such new knowledge.”
Four panels will address the historical, philosophical, theological and societal implications of astrobiology, including the scientific study of life’s origins and future.
One panel will investigate how to frame the question of the impact of discovering life: what approaches can and should be used? A second will address the challenge of moving beyond current conceptions of what constitutes life, intelligence and civilization—conceptions which are based on anthropocentric models. A third panel will specifically address the philosophical and theological implications of a universe potentially teeming with life. The final panel will assess the practical impact that astrobiology research has on society.
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