Alien Hunters - meet the men with a plan for finding life on other planets; these guys are practicing their skills in Earth’s most remote places, developing the technology needed to comb our solar system for evidence of extraterrestrial biology. National Geographic has put together a visually stunning article on the work of astrobiologists (covering our planet literally from pole to pole, studying lifeforms in the most extreme environments Earth has to offer), radio astronomers, and robotic space explorers.
The one factor that biologists argue is critical for life as we know it is water in liquid form—a powerful solvent capable of transporting dissolved nutrients to all parts of an organism. In our own solar system we’ve known since the Mariner 9 Mars orbiter mission in 1971 that water once likely flowed freely on the red planet. […] Jupiter’s moon Europa also shows cracks in its relatively young, ice-covered surface—evidence that beneath the ice lies an ocean of liquid water.
The article covers the full spectrum of the search for extraterrestrial life, from SETI’s search for intelligent messages to the robotic exploration of our neighbouring planets, and hunting for exoplanet in other solar systems; it’s a great read.