Searching the universe for habitable planets (video)

Filmmaker Matt Checkowski sends word of two cool new documentary shorts he produced for the University of California video series "Onward California." These episodes focus on the work of a UC Santa Cruz astrophysicist who has discovered two potentially human-inhabitable planets.

Most of the universe is incredibly hostile, it's a vacuum, it's freezing-cold space or you're burning hot near a star. The first habitable planet found outside our solar system is in a habitable-zone orbit; it's a place of refuge from the unbelievable harshness of the universe. This episode of Onward California follows Steve Vogt, a UC Santa Cruz professor of astronomy and astrophysics, into the Lick Observatory, where he has devoted years of research to find earth-like planets.

Watch: An Incredibly Hostile Universe and How To Discover Habitable Planets.


  1. Why search for habitable planets and just hope that there’s intelligent life there? there is so many. Why not search for a unique, predictable, astronomical event/entity in the local galaxy, and look for a message from intelligent life at that time and place. We are not yet capable of sending such a message, but it’s possible that if some day, we are advanced enough to move between the stars, we could advertise our presence to the galaxy by flying a probe to the site of a supernova or something, and detonate a bunch of nukes in the sequence of prime numbers, let the green men come to us. Until then we should continue to search for life at as many of these ‘galactic meeting points’ as we can observe.

    P.S. -If this post leads to the discovery of extraterrestrial life, I want partial attribution and a mention in the Nobel speech… and a gold sports jacket and a tube of pringles(green).

  2. I’ve read that it’s far better to be the discoverer than the discoveree (at least in terms of alien civs) for any number of reasons (“You mean they practically worship these Kardashian people?  EXTERMINATE!!”). 
    Other than that, I’d suggest a red hat to go along with your alien discovery Nobel.
    Also, Go Slugs!

  3. Haven”t watched the video because I don’t have sound here at work, but I do hope the video is better constructed than their blurb.

  4. until ET gives us a  FTL drive system we migtht as well put all this going to another planet on the back burner
    face it we aint going there on our own in the foreseeable future,  or ever

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