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The OU World Space Week Talks

Is there life beyond Earth?

This event took place on 7th October 2014 at 7:00pm (18:00 GMT)
Berrill Lecture Theatre, The Open University, Walton Hall Campus, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

For most of our history, the question of whether the Earth hosts all life in the entire Universe was a matter for speculation rather than scientific study.

Now, researchers at the OU are investigating the possibility of life on comets, moons and exoplanets and we invite you to attend a special World Space Week lecture at The Open University, Milton Keynes where our academics will discuss their recent findings and developments.

Speakers and themes include:

Ian Wright, Professor of Planetary Sciences, The Open University. Discussing what we can learn about life on Earth from the materials on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. OU experimental technology is aboard the European Space Agency's comet-chasing spacecraft, Rosetta, which is due to land in November.

David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences, The Open University. Looking at whether the conditions necessary for life are likely to occur at or beneath the surfaces of the icy moons of giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn. ‘Are we alone in the Universe?’ - A look at the potential for life beyond Earth, by David Rothery.

Dr Carole Haswell, Senior Lecturer in Astronomy, The Open University. Discussing the international efforts to find habitable conditions on planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, and her work revealing a new population of potentially habitable planets which offer the possibility for life in our Galaxy.

(Image - ESA - C. Carreau and NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute).

From mythbusting moons to adventures in astronomy, access a fascinating range of content on our World Space Week site on OpenLearn:

You can also join in the conversation online by posting your questions to


19:00 Introduction Simon Kelley, Associate Dean for Research at the Centre for Physical and Environmental Sciences.

19:05 Ian Wright, Professor of Planetary Sciences.

19:20 David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences.

19:35 Dr Carole Haswell, Senior Lecturer in Astronomy.

19:50 Q&A All speakers to take questions

20:00 End

‘Please note a full HD recording of the lecture will be available to view after the event on our YouTube channel'

The webcast was open to 10000 users

(71 minutes)

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