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Is there life on other planets? Learn the latest research on February 3: "Choose Your Own Adventure: Planet Edition"

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29 January 2018

Sarah Ballard."Choose Your Own Adventure: Planet Edition" is the third lecture in the free public minicourse titled "Is There Life on Other Planets?" This series of six lectures is the 2018 edition of the annual Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science. The lectures are given on six consecutive Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

The speaker for the third lecture on February 3 is Sarah Ballard, a Torres Fellow, L'Oreal Fellow, and Postdoctoral Scholar in Exoplanetary Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She will describe the latest research about the planets beyond our own solar system that are most likely to have the right conditions for supporting life. Learn about the key patterns emerging from studies of thousands of these "exoplanets," and how we can leverage this knowledge to have the best chance of detecting life on planets in our Milky Way galaxy that are outside our own solar system.

Future lectures during the last three weeks of the 2018 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science series are:

-- "The Birth of Habitable Planets" by Rebekah Dawson, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, on February 10;

-- "What Makes a Planet Habitable?" by James Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, on February 17; and

-- "How to Hunt for Signs of Alien Life" by Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor and director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University, on February 24.

The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science is an annual free pubic minicourse organized by the Penn State Eberly College of Science as an enjoyable and enlightening learning opportunity for residents of the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond. Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please call 814-863-4682 or e-mail sci-comm@psu.edu in advance of your participation or visit.

More information about the Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, including archived recordings of previous lectures, is online at science.psu.edu/frontiers.

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