The Star Trek universe is teaming with life. Everywhere our heroes travel they find aliens, mostly of the humanoid variety, yet in the real world we still know of only one place that life calls home: Earth. Our species has believed for most of its existence that we were either put here by divine beings or we are just a fluke of nature. In the past few decades, however, we’ve discovered life here on Earth in places we never expected, and now we’re discovering worlds orbiting other stars that could host life as well.
The general assumption has long been that life must have the same type of environment that we find comfortable in order to survive. Oxygen, nice temperatures, and a bit of carbon to form the basis of its biology. But as we find life in extreme environments that assumption is being challenged more and more.
In this episode of Matter Stream we’re joined by Dr. Athena Andreadis, Associate Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Andreadis is the author of the book To Seek Out New Life: The Biology of Star Trek, and today we’ll talk about the many forms that life can take here on Earth and what we might find elsewhere in the solar system and beyond.