Posts Tagged ‘life in the universe’

Uwingu Begins Funding Research Ahead Of Schedule Via Crowd Funding: SETI Allen Telecope Array Chosen

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

UwinguTM, LLC and the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array (ATA) designed to search out extraterrestrial life, together announced today that the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array’s science team will be the first project funded by Uwingu, via its crowd-sourcing IndieGoGo campaign. Uwingu will donate half of all “bonus” funds above its $75K business launch target to the ATA.

“We don’t have to wait to begin helping space research until we launch our first product, we’re starting now!” said Uwingu CEO, Dr. Alan Stern. “And I can’t overstate how proud Uwingu is to have the SETI Institute’s ATA as a beneficiary of our IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign. SETI is one of the noblest and most important space research enterprises. We hope this will be a double-win—generating more funds available to launch our own commercial products, and more funds available to the ATA’s research teams.”

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VLT Finds Life on Earth by Looking at Moon

Image Credit:  ESO/B. Tafreshi/TWAN (

Image Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi/TWAN (

By observing the Moon using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have found evidence of life in the Universe — on Earth. Finding life on our home planet may sound like a trivial observation, but the novel approach of an international team may lead to future discoveries of life elsewhere in the Universe. The work is described in a paper to appear in the 1 March 2012 issue of the journal Nature.

We used a trick called earthshine observation to look at the Earth as if it were an exoplanet,” says Michael Sterzik (ESO), lead author of the paper [1]. “The Sun shines on the Earth and this light is reflected back to the surface of the Moon. The lunar surface acts as a giant mirror and reflects the Earth’s light back to us — and this is what we have observed with the VLT.

The astronomers analyse the faint earthshine light to look for indicators, such as certain combinations of gases in the Earth’s atmosphere [2], that are the telltale signs of organic life. This method establishes the Earth as a benchmark for the future search for life on planets beyond our Solar System.

***Apologies for not posting this until now – it slipped through my Inbox…***

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