• A Wrinkle in Nature Could Lead to Alien Life

    There may be more than one way to tune a universe for life.

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    A Wrinkle in Nature Could Lead to Alien Life

    There may be more than one way to tune a universe for life.

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    The Alien-Haunted World

    To shield one’s pet hypothesis of an alien object by suggesting that it is not being taken seriously because of a flaw in how we do science is playing a disingenuous game with the facts.Illustration by ktsdesign / Shutterstock Did you know that there are many scientists who devote their working lives to skillfully charting […]

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    The Trouble with Counting Alien Civilizations

    Life on Earth is a sketchy guide to intelligent life in the cosmos.

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    Life on Earth Is a Sketchy Guide to an Alien Civilization

    Any assumptions about properties like intelligence or agency that we make based on what we currently know about life on Earth are on exceedingly shaky ground.Photograph by European Southern Observatory (ESO) / Wikicommons You might imagine that in the midst of a global pandemic and all of its social and economic fallout that our minds […]

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    What Are the Odds of Alien Contact?

    Bringing the Drake Equation up to date.

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    Our Attitude Toward Aliens Proves We Still Think We’re Special

    Why we downplay Fermi’s paradox.

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    Forget “Earth-Like”—We’ll First Find Aliens on Eyeball Planets

    Artist’s conception of a hot Eyeball planet. The permanent day side is sun-baked and dry. The permanent night side is covered with ice. In between lies a thin habitat: the ring of life.Illustration by Beau.TheConsortium Imagine a habitable planet orbiting a distant star. You’re probably picturing a variation of Earth. Maybe it’s a little cloudier, […]

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    Dolphins Are Helping Us Hunt for Aliens

    SETI Institute astronomer Laurance Doyle proposed using information theory to analyze animal communication systems, particularly the whistle repertoire of bottlenose dolphins.Illustration by Victor Habbick Visions When 12 men gathered at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia to discuss the art and science of alien hunting in 1961, the Order of the Dolphin was born. […]

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    Life on Mars, from Viking to Curiosity

    A brief history of the scientific debate swirling around the Red Planet.