January 12, 2018

Sara Seager: Preparing For Life Outside Our Solar System

Astrophysicist Sara Seager joins me for a conversation about her leading role in the search for earth-like planets outside our solar system.  When she began her search as a graduate student – not just for any “exoplanets” as they’re called, but planets that may have just the right atmosphere to support life – she was greeted with plenty of “no’s.”  Not anymore.  Our conversation about her search led to insights on creativity, resilience, parenting, and the importance of sleep and free time doing nothing as key ingredients of success.  Seager, a Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at MIT and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, also shares the details of a side project that could, one day, change the nature of space exploration: mining asteroids for precious metals.  Her thrilling journey began as a child, when she noticed something in the night sky for the first time and asked herself: “Why hadn’t anyone told me about this?”

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