The detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society

Dominik, Martin and Zarnecki, John C. (2011). The detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 369(1936) pp. 499–507.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2010.0236

Abstract

Astronomers are now able to detect planets orbiting stars other than the Sun where life may exist, and living generations could see the signatures of extra-terrestrial life being detected. Should it turn out that we are not alone in the Universe, it will fundamentally affect how humanity understands itself—and we need to be prepared for the consequences. A Discussion Meeting held at the Royal Society in London, 6–9 Carlton House Terrace, on 25–26 January 2010, addressed not only the scientific but also the societal agenda, with presentations covering a large diversity of topics.

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