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Saint Helena Virtual Forum

SEARCHING FOR SIGNS OF LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE

A Conversation with Astrobiologist

Dr. Nathalie Cabrol   

  Streaming August 12, 2024         

With more than 300 million exoplanets in the habitable zone of their stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, and up to 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe - to think we are alone or the only advanced intelligent civilization is pretty close to nonsense.

Dr. Nathalie Cabrol is a French American Astrobiologist specializing in planetary science. Cabrol studies ancient lakes on Mars, and undertakes high-altitude scientific expeditions in the Central Andes of Chile as the principal investigator of the  "High Lakes Project"  funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute. There, with her team, she documents life's adaptation to extreme environments, the effect of rapid climate change on lake ecosystems and habitats, its geobiological signatures, and relevance to planetary exploration. Cabrol was appointed in 2015 to head the SETI Institute's Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe.

Dr. Cabrol's new book, The Secret Life of the Universe, takes us to the frontiers of the search for life. The book’s odyssey begins by exploring how life began on Earth in order to understand what’s necessary for its existence elsewhere. She then continues this dazzling interplanetary tour, illuminating the likeliest places for life in our neighborhood: While Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn are among the top contenders, recent missions are redefining the limits of habitability to include unexpected worlds. Finally, we seek life beyond our Solar System, becoming witness to a revolution in the night sky: the realization that there are as many planets as stars in our galaxy.

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Dr. Cabrol will be interviewed by Douglas Barr.  Doug is Board Chair of the Saint Helena Forum. He moved to Napa Valley from Los Angeles in 1997. He is a vintner, actor, screenwriter, director and producer. Doug believes that the Forum as an educational non-profit will be a first step in making Saint Helena a cultural destination for the North Bay and an invaluable resource for the people of our community and beyond.

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In anticipation of this interview and the release of Cabrals book, you might also enjoy reading  Field Notes From the Hunt for Life on Mars-TED IDEAS    It is a documentation of Dr. Cabrals High Lake Project in the Andes where she shares her thoughts and photos from the nine expeditions she and her team have made to Chile since 2002.

THE SAINT HELENA FORUM FOR INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY, a 501(c)3 educational non-profit, is produced entirely by volunteers drawn from a cross section of Napa Valley residents.

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