Searching for Extraterrestrial Life

There’s still a huge public interest in the possibility of extraterrestrial life.  If you look at the all-time box office earnings, a lot of films about aliens have done really well: Avatar, Star Wars, E.T., Transformers, Independence Day, Star Trek, Men in Black, etc.  News about extraterrestrial life also seems to be consistently popular whenever a well-known scientist like Stephen Hawking shares his thoughts on the subject.

Here are some various thoughts about life in the universe from scientists and others. Some of the following research topics are probably more plausible than others, but it’s all fascinating.

Dr. Aaron Gronstal discusses the possibility of extraterrestrials exploring the galaxy via avatars.

Dr. Alan Boss thinks there may be one hundred billion trillion planets where life could flourish.

Dr. Alex Ellery is a professor at Carleton University and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Alexander Ollongren is professor of astronomy at Leiden University and a signatory to the invitation to ETI.

Dr. Alexander Zaitsev is a pioneer in sending messages into space.

Dr. Alexey Arkhipov is interested in the search for space archaeology.

Dr. Andrei Finkelstein claims that contact with humanoid extraterrestrials will be possible within 20 years.

Dr. Andrew Siemiona and co-authors describe ways of detecting message pulses from intelligent civilizations.

Dr. Anthony Zee thinks that extraterrestrial societies may communicate using neutrino beams.

Dr. Athena Andreadis is an academic research scientist and signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Avi Loeb has strategies for searching for extraterrestrial cities.

Dr. Barrie Jones is the author of Life in the Solar System and Beyond.

Dr. Beatriz Gato-Rivera theorizes that the solar system is part of a galactic hypercivilization.

Dr. Bernard Haisch is an astrophysicist with an interest in UFOs.

Dr. Bob Boan co-authored a book titled An Introduction to Planetary Defense that discusses defending against potential alien invasions.

Dr. Brian O’Leary is a former astronaut who believes there is ongoing contact with extraterrestrials.

Dr. Brian Swimme is a mathematical cosmologist and signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Bruce Maccabee is an optical physicist and ufologist.

Dr. Bruce Murray is founder of the Planetary Society, which is focused on exploring the solar system and searching for extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Caleb Scharf is Director of the Columbia Astrobiology Center and author of Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology.

Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe theorizes that life on Earth was seeded from elsewhere in the universe.

Dr. Charles Lietzau researches crop circles.

Dr. Charley Lineweaver thinks life on Earth may not have a common origin, which indicates life in the universe is a fairly common occurrence.

Dr. Chris Impey is a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona and author of The Living Cosmos.

Dr. Christopher McKay says that several factors indicate that life is common in the universe.

Dr. Claudio Maccone is a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Clifford Pickover wrote The Science of Aliens.

Dr. David Brin urges a cautious approach to communicating with extraterrestrials.

Dr. David Darling is the author of Life Everywhere.

Dr. David Grinspoon is the author of Lonely Planets and has interesting thoughts on communicating with extraterrestrials.

Dr. David Koerner is a professor at Northern Arizona University and author of Here be Dragons.

Dr. David Whitehouse, senior science correspondent for the BBC, is a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Derrick Pitts endorsed a book on UFOs by journalist Leslie Kean.

Dr. Dimitar Sasselov speculates on Super Earths and their potential for extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Dirk Schulze-Makuch claims that extraterrestrial life has already been found.

Dr. Don Donderi is a psychologist who studies UFO encounters.

Dr. Donald Goldsmith taught astronomy at multiple top universities and co-authored The Search for Life in the Universe.

Dr. Duncan Forgan developed a calculation for the number of intelligent civilizations in our galaxy.

Dr. Edgar Mitchell, lunar module pilot of Apollo 14, thinks extraterrestrial contact has happened.

Dr. Edwin Turner has strategies for searching for extraterrestrial cities.

Dr. Eltjo Haselhoff is a physicist who studies crop circles.

Dr. Eric Chaisson is Director of the Wright Center for Science Education at Tufts University and is a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Erling Strand leads the Project Hessdalen investigation of unexplained aerial lights.

Dr. Erik Rosolowsky, a professor at UBC, searches for extraterrestrial life: “I think that life is likely out there in the universe.  We’re probably in a universe that’s filled with life. There are just too many planets that are being found.”

Dr. Erol Faruk gives presentations about UFOs.

Dr. Filippo Salustri is a professor at Ryerson Polytechnic University and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Franklin Ruehl is a physicist and ufologist.

Dr. Fred Adams researches how hospitable the universe is for life.

Dr. Fred Watson thinks the discovery of extraterrestrial life is probable.

Dr. Freeman Dyson thinks extraterrestrial life might have adapted to living in a vacuum.

Dr. Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, says extraterrestrials could exist.

Dr. Gary Ruvkun is principal investigator of the Search for Extraterrestrial Genomes.

Dr. Georgi Stankov thinks extraterrestrial disclosure will occur.

Dr. Giovanni Vulpetti served as chair of the IAA Interstellar Space Exploration Committee and is a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Godfrey Louis asserts that red rain found in India may contain life previously not found on Earth.

Dr. Greg Laughlin discussed the possibility of life on other planets.

Dr. Greg Matloff is an astronomy professor at CUNY and signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Gregory Benford, an astrophysicist at UC Irvine, thinks extraterrestrials would communicate by short communication bursts.

Dr. Gregory Stock is a professor at the UCLA School of Medicine and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Guillermo Lemarchand was co-director of the first Ibero-American School on Astrobiology and is a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Guy Consolmagno, a scientist at the Vatican Observatory, thinks extraterrestrial life is possible.  He would also baptise another intelligent lifeform if they asked.

Dr. Hisashi Hirabayashi, a former researcher at the University of Tokyo Astronomical Observatory, sent a message with binary-encoded images and thinks extraterresetrials exist.

Dr. Hui Sun Kim is a nanotechnology researcher who writes about extraterrestrial life at Bridge to Earth.

Dr. Iain Gilmour is co-author of An Introduction to Astrobiology.

Dr. Ivan Almar served as co-chair of the IAA SETI committee and is a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Jacob Haqq-Misra theorizes that extraterrestrial artifacts could exist.

Dr. Jacques Vallee, a computer scientist and scientific advisory board member of Bigelow Aerospace, has written books on UFOs and interdimensional beings.

Dr. Jack Cohen is a reproductive biologist and signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Jack Pruett is a physician who researches ancient astronauts.

Dr. James Gardner thinks our universe was designed by superintelligent beings.

Dr. James Kasting is a professor at Penn State University and the author of How to Find a Habitable Planet.

Dr. Jason Wright is searching for Dyson spheres.

Dr. Jeffrey Bennett co-authored an astrobiology textbook.

Dr. Jeffrey Galpin has an interest in extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Jesse Marcel is a physician who researches the Roswell crash.

Dr. J.J. Hurtak researches encounters with extraterrestrials.

Dr. John Learned says extraterrestrial civilizations may send messages via neutrino beams.

Dr. John Percy is professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Toronto and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. John Zarnecki co-organized a conference on extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Jonathan Lunine is a professor of physics at the University of Arizona and author of Astrobiology: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach.

Dr. Joop Houtkooper thinks we may have already discovered life on Mars.

Dr. José Gabriel Funes is the Director of the Vatican Observatory and is open to the possible existence of extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Joseph Gale is a professor at Hebrew University and the author of Astrobiology of Earth.

Dr. Joseph Lazio is searching for celestial flashes that could indicate transmissions from other civilizations.

Dr. Kary Mullis is a Nobel prize winning biochemist who claims to have met an extraterrestrial.

Dr. Kevin Plaxco is a professor at UCSB and author of Astrobiology: A Brief Introduction.

Dr. Kevin Wellington is a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Lachezar Filipov, deputy director of the Space Research Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, claims that Earth is in communication with extraterrestrials.

Dr. Lee Smolin thinks the keys to finding intelligent extraterrestrial life could be encoded in DNA.

Dr. Leo Sprinkle has interviewed hundreds of UFO contactees.

Dr. Lewis Dartnell is an astrobiology researcher at UCL and author of Life in the Universe: A Beginner’s Guide.

Dr. Lidia Andrianova has an interest in extraterrestrial communications.

Dr. Lisa Kaltenegger of Harvard says that moons orbiting gas giants may be habitable and a source of extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Louis Friedman is founder of the Planetary Society, which focuses on exploring the solar system and searching for extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Louis Scheffer is a technical board member for the Allen Telescope Array and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Lucas John Mix received his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard and authored Life in Space.

Dr. Lynne Kitei researches the Phoenix Lights.

Dr. Marcelo Gleiser updated the Drake Equation to account for the possibility of a multiverse.

Dr. Marek Kukula of the Royal Observatory contemplates contact with extraterrestrials.

Dr. Margaret Turnbull is a consulting scientist for NASA’s New Worlds Observer and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Maria Zuber is principal investigator of the Search for Extraterrestrial Genomes.

Dr. Marina Popovich has an interest in extraterrestrial communications.

Dr. Mark Lupisella is a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Mark Sephton is co-author of An Introduction to Astrobiology.

Dr. Martin Dominik co-organized a conference on extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Martin Rees, president of Britain’s Royal Society, thinks extraterrestrials could exist but in a form that we currently can’t detect.

Dr. Mauro Cavalcanti is a biologist and signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Michael Faison, astronomy professor at Yale, thinks there’s a 50 percent chance that scientists will discover extraterrestrial life in the next few decades.

Dr. Michael Salla researches exopolitics.

Dr. Michael Swords is a biochemist with an interest in ufology.

Dr. Michio Kaku, a physics professor, endorsed a book by Leslie Kean titled UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record.  It includes the thoughts of senior officials around the world regarding UFOs.

Dr. Milan Cirkovic researches astrobiology and SETI.

Dr. Neil Tyson discusses the possibility of extraterrestrial life being incredibly advanced in this talk.

Dr. Paul Czysz, professor of aeronautical engineering at Parks College, was involved in tracking UFOs over the Midwest.

Dr. Paul Davies, a physicist and cosmologist, has lots of interesting thoughts on life in the universe.

Dr. Paul Higgs says lifeforms with genetic codes based on amino acids are probably common in the universe.

Dr. Paul Horowitz of Harvard constructed a telescope to search for laser pulses that could be messages from extraterrestrial civilizations.

Dr. Paul Shuch is an engineer and member of SETI.

Dr. Peter Diamandis says that extraterrestrials have probably migrated to another dimension.

Dr. Peter Sturrock is professor emeritus of applied physics at Stanford and author of The UFO Enigma.

Dr. Peter Ward is a professor at the University of Washington and author of Life as We Do Not Know It.

Dr. Phil Plait discusses extraterrestrial encounters as a possibility in his book Death from the Skies.

Dr. Ragbir Bhathal discovered a repeating laser signal.  Some astronomers have hypothesized that extraterrestrials would make contact with Earth via laser pulses rather than radio waves.  Now he just has to do further research to make sure it isn’t a type of pulsar or other known space phenomenon.

Dr. Ralph Pudritz says lifeforms with genetic codes based on amino acids are probably common in the universe.

Dr. Randy Allen hypothesizes that extraterrestrial life may exist in a form of quantum consciousness.

Dr. Ravi Kumar Kopparapu theorizes that extraterrestrial artifacts could exist.

Dr. Ray Norris is Deputy Director of the CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Richard Boylan is a psychologist who researches UFOs.

Dr. Richard Carrigan is involved with SETI.

Dr. Richard Conn Henry is a professor at Johns Hopkins University and is involved in searching for extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Richard Dawkins feels that the same combination of elements needed for intelligent life also exists elsewhere in the universe.

Dr. Robert Dixon searches for extraterrestrial signals using the Big Ear telescope.

Dr. Richard Haines investigates anomalous aerial phenomena.

Dr. Robert Farrell is an engineer with an interest in ufology.

Dr. Robert Koontz is an experimental nuclear physicist who researched extraterrestrial implants.

Dr. Robert Lodder is a professor at the University of Kentucky and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Robert Shapiro is a professor at New York University and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Robert Wagner thinks the Moon could have extraterrestrial artifacts.

Dr. Robert Wood is a physicist who researches UFO documents.

Dr. Roger Leir claims to have found evidence of alien implants.

Dr. Rudy Schild is an astrophysicist with an interest in UFOs.

Dr. Salvatore Santoli is Director of International Nanobiological Testbed and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Seth Shostak, SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak predicted first contact with extraterrestrials within 20 years (making that statement in 2004).  Shostak also thinks we could come into contact with sentient machines before encountering intelligent extraterrestrial lifeforms.

Dr. Shmuel Nussinov of Tel Aviv University has an idea for detecting extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge thinks extraterrestrials exist and may be biologically similar to humans.

Dr. Stelio Montebugnoli is in charge of the Medicina radioastronomy station and is a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Stephen Hawking, who was a professor at Cambridge, thinks that the possibility of extraterrestrial life is an intriguing hypothesis.  He states: “To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational.”

Dr. Stephen Wolfram thinks extraterrestrial artifacts could be camouflaged throughout the universe.

Dr. Steven Dick thinks extraterrestrial life may have evolved to an advanced form of artificial intelligence.

Dr. Steven Greer is the founder of The Disclosure Project.

Dr. Story Musgrave, who was an astronaut on multiple missions, says: “I believe, and scientifically I am certain, that there are endless other living forms out there, including intelligent sentient beings. With the size of the Universe that we have, the billions of galaxies, the distances and scales, and the billions of years that things have been around, of course there are other living forms out there, and of course there are other intelligent forms. It is anthrocentric thinking to believe that we are the only ones.”

Dr. Stuart Kingsley is a pioneer in optical SETI and a signatory to the Invitation to ETI.

Dr. Takao Doi and fellow astronauts Mike Foreman and Gregory Johnson think finding extraterrestrial life is probable.

Dr. Tobias Owen is a professor of astronomy at the University of Hawaii and co-authored The Search for Life in the Universe.

Dr. Travis Taylor co-authored a book titled An Introduction to Planetary Defense that discusses defending against potential alien invasions.

Dr. V.N. Tsytovich speculates that plasma structures in space could be alive.

Dr. Victoria Popova has an interest in extraterrestrial communications.

Dr. Vyacheslav Dokuchaev thinks advanced civilizations may live inside supermassive black holes.

Dr. Wang Sichao, a researcher at Zijinshan Astronomical Observatory, predicts the appearance of UFOs in 2011 or 2012.  He also claims that extraterrestrial ships have anti-gravity technology.

Dr. W.C. Levengood researches crop circle formation.

Dr. William Hartmann has investigated UFOs.

Dr. Zhu Jin, coordinator of the Beijing Planetarium coordinator, says extraterrestrials exist but have yet to visit Earth.

Dr. Zita Martins provides evidence that the raw materials that make up life came from places other than Earth.

Updated 6/29/2013