Older news foreshadowing today’s excitement
Penn State SCIENCE: This is Golden Age of astronomy (2012)
We are living in a Golden Age of astronomy, where some of the oldest and most profound questions of philosophy — long thought unanswerable — are finding resolution.
The Apollo era created new interest and capabilities to answer these questions, and our next forays into the solar system led us to Venus, Mars and Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Our searches there have led to a scientific bounty, but also mild philosophical disappointment: so far, there is no sign of life on these worlds, or even conditions where much life from Earth could thrive.
Astrobiologists study the most primitive lifeforms and biochemistries on Earth to determine the parameters and materials required for the genesis of life as we know it. They then apply this understanding to what we can learn of bodies in our solar system and the known exoplanets, and to the search for the signatures and conditions of primitive life there. If “slime” is common, astrobiologists will tell us how to detect it.
And so much more in just the last four years. This isn’t a fluke, it’s a trend, one of mankind’s few good ones.