University of California, Riverside

Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center

Are We Alone? - How Earth's Past Guides NASA's Search For Life

Science Lecture Series The search for alien life is defining a new era of space exploration—from Mars and icy moons in our solar system to Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars. Learn how scientists hope to find life beyond Earth, and explore what that 

means for humanity…

THURSDAY, JANUARY 12, 2016  |  6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  |  University Theatre (Humanities 400)

Tim Lyons

Alternative Earths
How Earth's Past Guides NASA's Search for Life
Timothy Lyons
Distinguished Professor of Biogeochemistry, UC Riverside  
On the evening of the next full moon, Timothy Lyons will describe how UCR scientists are using their latest discoveries about the evolution of early Earth to guide NASA's search for life elsewhere in the universebe it Mars, moons of Jupiter, or worlds much father away.
Professor Lyons is Director of UC Riverside's Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center and Principal Investigator of the UCR-led Alternative Earths Team of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. His research team is cultivating a 'search engine' for life on distant worlds using the best possible template: the billions of years that Earth was teeming with simple life, long before the evolution of animals. What traces of their livelihoods did those microbes leave behind? Earth's rock record provides a means to tackle this question via an array of diverse windows into past states of inhabitation—what we can think of as 'Alternative Earths.'
Join astronomers outside the theater for refreshments and a
telescope viewing of our celestial neighbors...
Moon Nebula Cluster Mars
Full Moon

Recent analysis of lunar craters suggests that the infant Earth was more hospitable than scientists once thought.

The Orion Nebula

This region of massive star formation is the closest of its kind to Earth. Its light takes 1,344 years to reach us.

Double Cluster

About 300 blue-white, super-giant stars are easy to see through a telescope. They are 12 million years old.


So far the Red Planet is the best target for human colonization. Its average distance from Earth is 139 million miles.

Live streaming of all events available online

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center
2460 Geology

Tel: (951) 827-3106

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