NASA/Library of Congress Astrobiology Symposium Addressing Discovery of Life in the Universe


Sept. 18-19, 2014, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Preparing For Discovery: A Rational Approach to the Impact of Finding Microbial, Complex, or Intelligent Life Beyond Earth

Symposium: “Preparing For Discovery – A Rational Approach of Finding Microbial, Complex, or Intelligent Life Beyond Earth”

Astrobiology has revealed new discoveries about our world and the solar system. Living organisms thrive in harsher environments on Earth than we ever previously imagined. Microbial biodiversity and extremophile life are now known to be ubiquitous and abundant. Beyond Earth, science has identified more than 1,400 exoplanets. That life thrives in multifarious conditions, coupled with these potentially habitable exoplanets and the detection of life-giving elements on numerous moons on asteroids, means we must face the possibility that simple or complex organisms may be discovered beyond Earth. How might we prepare for such a discovery? Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology Steven J. Dick convenes scientists, historians, philosophers and theologians from around the world for a two-day symposium at the Library of Congress to explore how we prepare to face new knowledge that may challenge our very conceptions of life and our place in the universe.

Date/Time: September 18 – 19, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public
Location: The John W. Kluge Center, Room 119, Thomas Jefferson Building.
View directions to the Library of Congress

Steven J. Dick

Dr. Steven J. Dick, Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology at The John W. Kluge Center; astronomer, historian, and former chief historian at NASA.
More about Steven J. Dick


  • Linda Billings – Consultant to NASA’s Astrobiology and Near-Earth Object Programs, Planetary Science Division, NASA HQ
  • Eric J. Chaisson – Astrophysicist, Harvard University
  • Carol Cleland – Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado
  • Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ – Astronomer and meteoriticist at the Vatican Observatory
  • Iris Fry – Professor, Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University (retired)
  • Robin W. Lovin – Director of Research, Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, New Jersey
  • Mark Lupisella – Leader, NASA Goddard Advanced Exploration Systems support for Human Exploration
  • Jane Maienschein – Regents’ Professor, President’s Professor, and Parents Association Professor at Arizona State University
  • Lori Marino – Neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and intelligence
  • Carlos Mariscal – Post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Comparative Genomics & Evolutionary Bioinformatics in Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Margaret Race – Senior Scientist at SETI Institute in Mountain View, California
  • Susan Schneider – Associate Professor, University of Connecticut
  • Dirk Schulze-Makuch – Professor in the School of the Environment at Washington State University
  • Seth Shostak – Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California
  • John W. Traphagan – Anthropologist and Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at University of Texas at Austin
  • Douglas Vakoch – Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute
  • Clément Vidal – Philosopher, co-director of the ‘Evo Devo Universe’
  • Elspeth Wilson – doctoral candidate in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania
  • More events featuring Steven Dick


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