Do Other Earths Lurk in Our Galaxy?

Lecture at UC Riverside by senior researcher from Mexico will address this question on April 13

Antígona Segura is a senior researcher at the Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The University of California, Riverside Science Lecture Series continues Thursday, April 13, with a talk that will discuss whether other Earths populate the Milky Way.

Antígona Segura, a senior researcher at the Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, will give the talk titled “Alien Planets: Are Other Earths Lurking in Our Galaxy?” Segura works on planetary habitability, remote detection of life, and the early conditions of our solar system.

The event, which is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on campus at the University Theatre (Humanities 400), is free and open to the public. There is free parking in Parking Lot 6. Light refreshments will be served before the lecture, and prizes will be raffled off after the lecture.

“This is the first time in human history where we have tools to search for extraterrestrial life,” Segura said. “We have found planets around other stars – such as those around Trappist-1 and Proxima Centauri – that may be potentially habitable. In the near future we will have instruments to study those planets to search for habitability conditions – water and an atmosphere – and maybe life.”

As a girl, Segura loved stars and was amazed with all living beings; as a result, she says, she became an astrobiologist. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in physics, a master’s in astronomy and a Ph.D. in Earth sciences, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Penn State Astrobiology Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Calif., where she worked at the Virtual Planetary Laboratory.

Segura’s talk aims also to inform the public on how science works in general and, in particular, about scientists’ strategies to find life on other planets. As a female scientist, she also hopes to inspire girls and women to pursue careers in science.

This is the final lecture of the “Are We Alone?” lecture series, which is sponsored by UC Riverside’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, KVCR and the NASA Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center.

“For the first time we have everything to find out if life is some strange phenomenon that happened only on our planet or the likely result of matter organization,” Segura said. “We would be able to know if we are alone.”

Her talk will be live streamed at sciencelectures.ucr.edu. Archival videos of past events are also available at that web site.

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