Place People Tools Ideas Live

You can watch our Webcasts online, or come to the museum and be part of the audience!

In addition to the programs we stream live, we'll conduct interviews with SETI Institute
scientists Jill Tarter and Douglas Vakoch. Join us in the museum, and ask the
scientists your questions! (directions to the museum)
Live interviews in the Phyllis Wattis Webcast Studio

Live Webcasts

Is There Life Elsewhere?

Saturday, Nov. 15
1:00 p.m. PST


Guest: Frank Drake, Senior Scientist, SETI Institute

N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L
How can a mathematical equation frame the question of life in the universe? We’ll talk with Frank Drake, one of the founders of the SETI Institute, about his famous equation and how it frames the search for signs of intelligent life in the universe.


Live from Licancabur Volcano in Chile

Sunday, Nov. 16
11:00 a.m. PST

Time subject to change, depending on weather conditions at the volcano.


Guest: Nathalie Cabrol, Planetary Scientist, Principal Investigator, NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute

Nathalie Cabrol looks for Mars analogs in extreme environments on Earth. She found one at the world’s highest lake at Chile’s Licancabur volcano, site of a unique analog to ancient Martian lakes. If all goes well, we’ll host a live chat with Dr. Cabrol as she investigates the life forms at Licancabur.


Life's Ingredients

Sunday, Nov. 16
1:00 p.m. PST


Guest: David Deamer, Director, UC Berkeley SETI Program, and Karen Kalumuk, Exploratorium staff scientist

Julia Child and physicist Philip Morrison once cooked up (and sampled) "primordial soup," a mixture of ingredients said to be the materials from which life sprang on Earth. How accurate is this notion? David Deamer studies how some molecules self-assemble into order, and has developed new theories about how life evolved from components on Earth. We’ll talk with him, do hands-on experiments, and watch vintage footage of Julia Child tasting the soup.


Life at High Temperatures

Tuesday, Nov. 18
11:00 a.m. PST


Guest: Jonathan Trent, Astrobiologist, NASA Ames Research Center

Jonathan Trent studies "thermophiles," heat-loving microbes inhabiting places once thought too hostile for life, but analogous to environments that might be found on other planets. He discovered that some of these microbes make a protein that appears to stabilize their cell membranes (and may have applications for nanotechnology).


Life at the Extremes

Wednesday, Nov. 19
11:00 a.m. PST

If satellite conditions are right, we'll talk live to Breea Govenar, a biologist at Penn State University, who is currently aboard a research vessel from Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute. She'll discuss life near deep-sea thermal vents in the Pacific Ocean. The Webcast will also include Dr. Alissa Arp, a biologist from San Francisco State Univeristy studying the tube worms that live around these very hot marine spots. Dr. Arp was on the first biological expedition to visit the deep-sea vents in 1979.

Looking for Mars on Earth

Wednesday, Nov. 19
1:00 p.m. PST


Guest: Chris McKay, Planetary Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center

Chris McKay has traveled the world seeking Mars-like environments. In the Dry Valleys of Antarctica—his favorite Mars analog on Earth—Dr. McKay discovered a kind of algae living inside rocks porous to light and water. He’ll show us some of these rocks and talk about the physical conditions required for life.



Is There Life Elsewhere In Our Solar System?

Thursday, Nov. 20
1:00 p.m. PST


Guest: Paul Doherty, Exploratorium staff scientist

Join Exploratorium physicist Paul Doherty and explore the possibilities of where life may exist elsewhere in our solar system. Paul will discuss the Red Planet, what scientists will look for in their planetary explorations, and some of the Mars-like places he’s visited on Earth.


What About Intelligent Life?

Friday, Nov. 21
11:00 a.m. PST

Guest: Dan Werthimer, Director, UC Berkeley SETI Program

SETI is a scientific effort seeking to determine if there is intelligent life outside Earth. We were at Aricebo Radio Observatory in March 2003 when scientists listened to the most promising transmissions from UC Berkeley’s SETI@home search. Join the Exploratorium’s Ron Hipschman and special guest Dan Werthimer, chief scientist and principal investigator for the SETI Institute’s efforts, including Arecibo Observatory’s search of artificial radio signals coming from other stars.

Listening for the Long Term

Saturday, Nov. 22
11:00 a.m. PST


Guest: Jill Tarter, Director, Center for SETI Research

Join us as we talk with Jill Tarter, Director of the Center for SETI Research and the inspiration behind Jody Foster’s character in the movie Contact. Find out about the tools and technologies being developed for a multigenerational effort to search for other advanced civilizations beyond our solar system.


Talking with ET

Saturday, Nov 22
1:00 p.m. PST


Guest: Douglas Vakoch, Director of Interstellar Message Composition, SETI Institute

What if we did contact another intelligent life form in the universe? Should we respond? What should we say? What traits best represent our humanity? Douglas Vakoch, the SETI Institute’s Director of Interstellar Message Composition, is working with scientists, artists, linguists, composers, and others to imagine how to speak for our planet.



Origins Exploratorium Astrobiology



© Exploratorium          


Origins Astrobiology: The Search for Life