from the in-a-parallel-Vatican-somewhere-in-the-universe dept.
Papas Fritas writes:
"Megann Gannon reports that nearly 200 scientists are attending a conference, called "The Search for Life Beyond the Solar System: Exoplanets, Biosignature & Instruments," co-hosted by the Vatican Observatory with the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory.
The goal of the conference is to bring together the interdisciplinary community required to address this multi-faceted challenge: experts on exoplanet observations, early and extreme life on Earth, atmospheric biosignatures, and planet-finding telescopes. 'Finding life beyond Earth is one of the great challenges of modern science and we are excited to have the world leaders in this field together in Tucson,' says Daniel Apai. 'But reaching such an ambitious goal takes planning and time. The goal of this meeting is to discuss how we can find life among the stars within the next two decades.'
According to the organizers, the conference will cover the technical challenges of finding and imaging exoplanets and identifying biosignatures in the atmospheres of far-flung worlds. Other presentations will discuss the study of life forms that live in extreme environments on Earth, which could be apt analogs for life on other planets. Scientists will give more than 160 research presentations (PDF) during this week's conference and NASA's Astrobiology Institute will broadcast a live feed of the sessions. Catholic leaders say that alien life can be aligned with the Bible's teachings. 'Just as a multiplicity of creatures exists on Earth, so there could be other beings, also intelligent, created by God,' says Father Jose Funes"