LIVESTREAM: Astrobiology

Title: Livestreamed Question and Answer session on Astrobiology.

Speaker: Michael Franks (hosted by Alistair Scott)

Livestream via YouTube: Q&A will take place on Wednesday 12 August at 7pm (BST)

A brief history of Astrobiology is highlighted in this talk starting with the first astrobiologist, Giordano Bruno who was a contemporary of Galileo. Bruno taught that there was a multitude of life on many worlds. Bruno was burnt at the stake.

We then move onto “What is Life?” We analyse the definition used by NASA and considers the Drake Equation – how many intelligent civilisations there may be in the Galaxy. The Fermi Paradox will be addresses and why, if the Universe has existed of over 13 billion years, and contains billions of worlds, we have not detected any signs of alien intelligence. What can we learn from Life on Earth and what zircons tell us. Where did life start? The talk speculates whether life started in Hydrothermal Vents and has a look inside Black Smokers.

Are there  Interplanetary Expresses spreading life though out the Universe?

What is life and how does life work? What does life need and how you might you make a living cell?

How did life on Earth develop? The talk finally considers whether there is Life can be found in other places in the Solar System such as the moons of Jupiter and the other outer planets. How we might find life on exoplanets?

This lecture is available to watch now on the BIS YouTube site at the URL below (Duration 30 minutes):

To watch this live question and answer session please open the URL below:

If you wish to make a comment or ask a question, please e-mail:
[email protected]

If possible, your question/comment will be put to the speaker during the Q&A session. Please be sure to include your name, and your location when submitting your question/comment.

If you wish to watch this Q&A after it finishes, please open the link:
where a recording/s will be available


About the speaker

Michael Franks with Arthur C Clarke

Michael Morris Franks was born in 1954 just before the start of the Space Age. Once of his earliest memories is hearing on the radio the announcement of Project Mercury and wondering whether humanity could survive in space? He hid behind the sofa while watching for Dr Who but he
clearly recollects the first time a Dalek appeared and blasted the viewer with radiation. He chose chemistry, physics and mathematics for his “A” levels and retained his interest in astronomy through his life. When he visited Sri Lanka in 2008 he visited Arthur C Clarke.

After serving on the Council of the Law Society for sixteen years, he started a certificate of academic achievement in Planetary Studies and Astronomy at Birkbeck College London which he has just completed.

He has previously given two talks to the BIS. The first was on Space Law dealing with the question of who owns the moon, the second was on possible models for the governance of a space colony based on pirate articles of association.


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