From Mars to Exoplanets

Press Meeting

It’s probable that life is rare in the Universe

Rimini, Wednesday August 22nd – The meeting Is There Another Earth? From Mars To Exoplanets took place at Intesa San Paolo hall and was introduced by Marco Bersanelli, Full Professor of Physics and Astrophysics at the University of Milan. The conference was focused on answering a specific interesting question: is there the possibility to meet a life-being outside Earth? The scientists that tried to answer during the lecture were Enrico Flamini, Full Professor of Planetology at the University of Chieti-Pescara and Responsible for project of the MARSIS experiment for the Italian Space Agency (ASI); Alessandro Morbidelli, Research Director at the Côte d’Azur Observatory, Nice. And Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian Space Agency.

Battiston spoke as first in video call from the ESA Spaceport (Kourou, French Guiana). He told about the recent successful MARSIS project underlying the «important step made by scientific research in this field». In fact, during 90’s the discovery of extra solar planets was unexpected. But does exist life somewhere else? «We do not know it – continued the scientist – because our research is still limited, and it emphasizes that we do not entirely understand the mystery of life on Earth».

Prof. Flamini spoke instead about the recent extraordinary discovery of liquid water under the sur-face of Mars. «Actually we got the first evidences of this possibility 40 years ago thanks to the Viking project. This mission revealed the past existence of ancient rivers. Furthermore, pictures of the bed of these currently dried rivers has been taken». Then he spoke about the MARSIS project: a radar probe that has been launched in 2003 on Mars’ surface. This radar has shown the presence of a lake at over one thousand meters of profundity under the south polar cap of Mars.

Finally, Morbidelli, who is investigating on the birth of planets systems, gave an overview about the current knowledge in this topic. He said that, in the Milky Way galaxy, the systems similar to ours are less than 0,5%. However, according to Morbidelli, it means that there are around 250 million candidate solar systems. In the end, he claimed that these evidences prove how rare is the phenomenon of life in the universe.