Thought Experiments

  • Living in a Dying Solar System, Part 2: Delaying Doomsday
    Roughly 5 billion years from now, the Sun will begin to swell as a red giant. But life on Earth will feel the effects of an aging Sun long before then. What can we do to survive?
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    Observations of distant stars tell us about our own future. Roughly 5 billion years from now, the Sun will begin to swell as a red giant, and the solar system will be transformed into a very different place.
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    The Evogrid is a proposed computerized version of the primordial soup. Digitally simulating virtual particles could help answer the question of how life originated on Earth, and perhaps even spread life to other worlds.
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  • An Interstellar Mission Scenario
    Super-Earths, terrestrial planets many times the mass of Earth, have been discovered orbiting distant stars. In this essay, Ray Villard details a possible future expedition to visit one of these alien worlds in order to study the life that could exist there.
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  • First Contact
    In the past few years, astronomers have discovered super-Earths, terrestrial planets many times the mass of Earth, orbiting distant stars. In this essay, Ray Villard discusses how we could study life forms that may exist on those alien worlds.
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  • A Shadow Biosphere
    In the third in our series of "gedanken" thought experiments, Carol Cleland explores the idea that there could be undiscovered alien life forms on Earth.
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  • Noah’s Ark on the Moon
    In the second in our series of 'Gedanken,' or thought experiments, Bernard Foing suggests that the moon could act as a lifeboat in case Earth is ever struck down by a major catastrophe.
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  • SETI and the Cosmic Quarantine Hypothesis
    How many technically advanced civilizations exist in our galaxy? With this essay by Steven Soter, Scientist-in-Residence in the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University, Astrobiology Magazine initiates the first in a series of 'Gedanken', or thought, experiments - musings by noted scientists on
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  • The Cogs of Precognition
    A recent European Space Agency report details the most promising investments for future technology, based on a studied wish-list borrowed from diverse arts. Their unique methodology prepared more than two hundred technical dossiers about what might be 'the next big thing' along with hints on
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