Connect with us

News

Quanta Magazine

Published

on

The European Space Agency scoped out its own version of a Earth twin-scouting, life-finding mission, called Darwin. Kaltenegger, then 24, applied to work on it and got the job. “I asked myself: If you live in a time where you can figure out if we are alone in the universe, and if I can help?” she said at Cornell, sporting a turquoise gem necklace symbolizing a pale blue dot and balancing a teacup on her knee. “Looking back on my life, that’s probably what I want to have done.” She was tasked with considering the mission’s design trade-offs and drafting the list of stars that Darwin’s fleet of telescopes should scan for planets; in parallel, she pursued her doctorate.

But in the 2000s, visions of grand alien-hunting telescopes crumbled on both sides of the Atlantic. Darwin studies fizzled in 2007. One reason was JWST’s own sagging development schedule, which ate up budgets and attention spans. Another was scientific doubt: At the time, astronomers had no clue what fraction of the Milky Way’s stars have rocky planets with the possibility of a stable, temperate climate.

That fraction would turn out to be about one in five, as revealed by the Kepler space telescope, which launched in 2009 and went on to discover thousands of exoplanets. A Terrestrial Planet Finder mission, should one be resurrected, would have plenty of places to point.

Since Kepler’s launch, though, pragmatic compromises have led astrobiologists to dream smaller, diverting their resources down a humbler path. An observatory like Darwin could have picked out the signal of a rocky planet next to a much brighter star — a challenge often compared to taking a picture of a firefly as it flits around a searchlight. But now there’s another, cheaper way.

Seager and the Harvard astronomer Dimitar Sasselov dreamed up the alternative method in 2000 — a way to sniff into an exoplanet’s atmosphere even if light from the planet and its star are blended together. First, telescopes look for planets that “transit,” crossing in front of their star as seen from Earth’s perspective, which causes a slight diminution in the starlight. These transits are rich with information. During a transit, a star’s spectrum sprouts new bumps and wiggles, because some of the starlight shines through the ring of atmosphere around the planet and molecules in the atmosphere absorb light of specific frequencies. Artful analysis of the spectral wiggles reveals the high-altitude chemistry responsible. The Hubble Space Telescope started testing this technique in 2002, finding sodium vapor around a faraway gas giant planet; along with other telescopes, it has since repeated the trick on dozens of targets.

Now the universe just needed to cough up some suitable Earth-like worlds to look at.

Exoplanet surveys seemed to encounter plenty of overcooked Jupiters and undersize Neptunes around other stars, but rocky planets with the potential for liquid water remained scarce until the Kepler era. By the mid-2010s, Kepler had shown that Earth-size worlds are common; it even spotted some potentially habitable ones transiting in front of their stars, like the pair Kaltenegger modeled for Borucki. Still, the specific examples Kepler turned up were too far away for good follow-up study. Meanwhile, in 2016 astronomers found that the nearest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri, has a potentially habitable Earth-size planet. But that planet doesn’t transit its star.

In 2009, Kaltenegger, then at Harvard and shaping the field in her own right, and a collaborator, Wesley Traub, added yet another qualification. They thought about what it would take for an alien civilization to detect biosignature gases on Earth — a planet with a relatively tight blanket of atmosphere, transiting a bright star. They realized that a telescope like JWST would see only tiny signals from atmospheric gases during each transit, so in order to achieve any statistical certainty, astronomers would need to observe dozens or even hundreds of transits, which would take years. Acting on this insight, astronomers started to seek Earths in close orbits around dimmer, colder red dwarf stars, where atmospheric signals will be less drowned out by starlight and transits repeat more frequently.

The cosmos came through. In 2017, astronomers announced the discovery of seven rocky planets around a red dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. Then in September, the SPECULOOS-2 system emerged as a backup. These stars are close. They’re dim and red. They each have multiple rocky planets that transit. And as of the summer, the JWST is up and running even better than expected. It will spend a sizable fraction of the next five years staring hard at these messy globes of rock and chemicals spinning around their strange stars. For theoreticians like Kaltenegger who went from daydreaming of alternate Earths to churning out predictions about their atmospheric chemistry, decades of anticipation have given way to a slow fade-in of squiggly spectra on computer monitors.

Glowing Alien Lady

For over two years, Kaltenegger’s office — the same one Sagan used to work in — was frozen in time. First came the pandemic, then a sabbatical. In August, she was back, advancing on her whiteboard with a marker in hand, reviewing a list of ideas that wouldn’t look out of place in the writer’s room of a Star Trek series. (Gaia and SETI. Dark oceans. Ozone. Land. Shallow Oceans. Iron?) “This is the fun part,” she said, striking through the topics of papers she has already published.

Kaltenegger became the founding director of the Carl Sagan Institute in 2015 following stints at Harvard, then in Heidelberg, where she ran her first lab. One day during her time in Heidelberg, an email came in from Jonathan Lunine, the head of the astronomy department at Cornell, asking if she wanted to talk about important opportunities. “I go, oh my God, it’s a ‘woman in science’ event. At a certain point, you get too many of those invitations.” Lunine was instead looking to hire a new professor. Kaltenegger responded that she would rather work at an interdisciplinary, astrobiology-focused institute. So lead one here, he suggested.

One recent morning we sat in a garden on campus not far from the institute, flanked by rhododendrons. As dappled sunlight filtered down, a little bird hopped up a tree trunk, a cicada buzzed, and the drone of a lawn mower moved nearer, then farther away. This was obviously an inhabited world.

Kaltenegger’s stock in trade is imagination: both the sort that astronomers trust when planning a $10 billion space telescope like JWST, and the more poetic kind that stirs public audiences. So what did this scene look like to her?

She glanced up. The trees had green leaves, as do most known organisms that perform photosynthesis. They had evolved to take advantage of our yellow sun and its bounteous visible-light radiation, using pigments that snatch up blue and red photons while letting green wavelengths bounce away. But plants around colder stars, greedier for light, might take on darker hues. “In my mind’s eye, if I want to, it just completely transforms with us in the garden, sitting under a red sun,” she said. “Everything is purple around you, behind you,” including the leaves.

Uncanny-valley versions of Earth have featured heavily in Kaltenegger’s thinking for two decades, owing to a nagging doubt she developed during her work on the Darwin mission in the early 2000s.

The goal at the time was to compare spectra from rocky, temperate planets to what Earth’s spectrum would look like from far away, seeking conspicuous signals like a surplus of oxygen due to widespread photosynthesis. Kaltenegger’s objection was that, for the first 2 billion years of Earth’s existence, its atmosphere had no oxygen. Then it took another billion years for oxygen to build up to high levels. And this biosignature hit its highest concentration not in Earth’s present-day spectrum, but during a short window in the late Cretaceous Period when proto-birds chased giant insects through the skies.

Without a good theoretical model for how Earth’s own spectrum has changed, Kaltenegger feared, the big planet-finding missions could easily miss a living world that didn’t match a narrow temporal template. She needed to envision Earth as an exoplanet evolving through time. To do this, she adapted one of the first global climate models, developed by the geoscientist James Kasting, which still includes references to the 1970s magnetic-tape era it originated in. Kaltenegger developed this code into a bespoke tool that can analyze not only Earth through time but also radically alien scenarios, and it remains her lab’s workhorse.

The day after our chat in the garden, I sat in the office next to Kaltenegger’s, looking over the shoulder of postdoc Rebecca Payne as we both squinted at tight lines of text on a black background. “If I don’t go with a black color scheme, by the end of the day my eyes want to fall out of my head,” she said.

Payne and her colleagues feed their software basic facts about a planet, such as its radius and orbital distance, and the type of its star. They then make guesses about its possible atmospheric composition, and run their models to see how the planet’s atmosphere would appear through the eons. When they did this for SPECULOOS-2c, they saw virtual chemicals bathed in virtual starlight rise, fall and annihilate each other through simulated chemical reactions. The imaginary atmosphere eventually settled into an equilibrium, and the software popped out a table. Payne pulled one up on the screen. She flicked her mouse over row after row, showing guesses at the new planet’s temperature and chemistry at varying altitudes. Using that information, she and her colleagues could identify especially abundant compounds that JWST or another instrument might be able to see.

From the Earth-through-time study on, many of Kaltenegger’s papers follow the same pattern. Her trick is to gather up what we know of Earth’s own richness in her theoretical palm, then spin it like a basketball along different axes. What if we rewound it in time? What if an alien Earth had different geology? A different atmosphere? An all-ocean surface? What if it circled a red sun, or the blazing-hot cinder of a white dwarf?

In 2010, for example, she found that the then-upcoming JWST should be able to infer the presence of gases from a volcanic eruption like the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, if a similar event occurred on an exoplanet. Or it could identify worlds ruled not by the cycling of carbon between the surface and atmosphere (as on Earth), but instead by sulfur released by volcanoes and then broken down by starlight. Such climate cycles matter when you’re trying to identify biosignature gases, and also because they are part of the larger physics of planets. “Biosignatures are just sitting there as the cherry on top of the cake, but basically, there is a lot of cake to eat,” said Sasselov, who collaborated with Kaltenegger on these projects.

\r\n // Define dataLayer and the gtag function.\r\n window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];\r\n function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}\r\n\r\n // Default ad_storage to ‘denied’.\r\n gtag(‘consent’, ‘default’, {\r\n ‘ad_storage’: ‘denied’\r\n });\r\n\u003c\/script>\r\n\u003c\!– Google Tag Manager –>\r\n\u003cscript>(function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({‘gtm.start’:\r\nnew Date().getTime(),event:’gtm.js’});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],\r\nj=d.createElement(s),dl=l!=’dataLayer’?’&l=”+l:”‘;j.async=true;j.src=\r\n’ End Google Tag Manager –>\r\n\u003c\!– Google Tag Manager (noscript) –>\r\n\u003cnoscript>\u003ciframe src=\” width=\”0\” style=\”display:none;visibility:hidden\”>\u003c/iframe>\u003c/noscript>\r\n\u003c\!– End Google Tag Manager (noscript) –>\r\n\u003cscript>\r\nfunction getCookie(name) {\r\n let value = \”; \” + document.cookie;\r\n var parts = value.split(\”; \” + name + \”=\”);\r\n if (parts.length === 2) return parts.pop().split(\”;\”).shift();\r\n}\r\n\r\nif(getCookie(‘acceptedPolicy’)) {\r\n// google analytics\r\n(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){\r\n(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),\r\nm=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)\r\n})(window,document,’script’,’ ‘UA-8526335-13’, ‘auto’);\r\nga(‘set’, ‘forceSSL’, true);\r\nga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);\r\nga(‘send’,’pageview’);\r\n\r\n// facebook pixel\r\n!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s)\r\n{if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function()\r\n{n.callMethod? n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)}\r\n;\r\nif(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;\r\nn.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;\r\nt.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];\r\ns.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,document,’script’,\r\n’ ‘190747804793608’); \r\nfbq(‘track’, ‘PageView’);\r\n\r\n// chartbeat\r\nvar _sf_async_config = { uid: 65564, domain: ‘quantamagazine.org’, useCanonical: true };(function() {function loadChartbeat(){ window._sf_endpt = (new Date()).getTime(); var e = document.createElement(‘script’); e.setAttribute(‘language’, ‘javascript’); e.setAttribute(‘type’, ‘text/javascript’); e.setAttribute(‘src’,’//static.chartbeat.com/js/chartbeat.js’); document.body.appendChild(e); };var oldonload = window.onload;window.onload = (typeof window.onload != ‘function’) ?loadChartbeat : function(){ oldonload(); loadChartbeat(); };})();\r\n\r\n// parsley\r\nconst head = document.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0];\r\nconst parsleyScript = document.createElement(\”script\”);\r\nparsleyScript.type = \”text/javascript\”;\r\nparsleyScript.src = \”//cdn.parsely.com/keys/quantamagazine.org/p.js\”;\r\nparsleyScript.id = \”parsley-cfg\”;\r\n// end parsley\r\n\r\n//smartlook\r\n window.smartlook||(function(d) {\r\n var o=smartlook=function(){ o.api.push(arguments)},h=d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0];\r\n var c=d.createElement(‘script’);o.api=new Array();c.async=true;c.type=”text/javascript”;\r\n c.charset=”utf-8″;c.src=” })(document);\r\n smartlook(‘init’, ‘3bac9c73fbc7f7f1c527d035a117e2b66f7c3e30’);\r\n\r\n// Google Ads conversions\r\n window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];\r\n function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}\r\n gtag(‘js’, new Date());\r\n\r\n gtag(‘config’, ‘AW-10788252298’);\r\n\r\n} else {\r\n(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){\r\n(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),\r\nm=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)\r\n})(window,document,’script’,’ ‘UA-8526335-13’, { storage: ‘none’ });\r\nga(‘set’, ‘anonymizeIp’, true);\r\nga(‘set’, ‘forceSSL’, true);\r\nga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);\r\nga(‘send’,’pageview’);\r\n}\r\n\u003c\/script>\r\n”,”google_analytics”:null,”tracking_scripts_no_cookie”:null,”google_analytics_no_cookie”:null,”popular_searches”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.popular_searches.0″,”typename”:”PopularSearch”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.popular_searches.1″,”typename”:”PopularSearch”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.popular_searches.2″,”typename”:”PopularSearch”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.popular_searches.3″,”typename”:”PopularSearch”}],”search_topics”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.0″,”typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.1″,”typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.2″,”typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.3″,”typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.4″,”typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.5″,”typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.6″,”typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.7″,”typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.8″,”typename”:”SearchTopic”}],”search_sections”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_sections.0″,”typename”:”Term”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_sections.1″,”typename”:”Term”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_sections.2″,”typename”:”Term”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_sections.3″,”typename”:”Term”}],”search_authors”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:38171″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:28087″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:29794″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:39302″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:56″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:47249″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:29458″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:73″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:39164″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:59″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:8728″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:11648″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:42689″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:95″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:15493″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:450″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:36490″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:16315″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:2752″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:15492″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:68″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:62″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:13684″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:13691″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:50″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:15142″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:8084″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:742″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:11543″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:57″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:7262″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:70″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:19918″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:13695″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:32676″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:13724″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:26310″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:30207″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:19266″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:13251″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:17000″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:17149″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:5279″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:58″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:32612″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:27534″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:25173″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:64″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:47″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:14784″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:98″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:5830″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:6793″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:75″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:52″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:69″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:77″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:19092″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:20557″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:66″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:46418″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:85″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:37141″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:44758″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:12170″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:32″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:51″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:44787″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:72″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:16475″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:91″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:10351″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:31716″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:1241″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:8463″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:49″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:16815″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:67″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:37462″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:87″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:36139″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:20556″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:90″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:39551″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:27374″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:40″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:45758″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:38413″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:12570″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:38699″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:23451″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:79″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:38″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:60″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:2333″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:3569″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:414″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:20495″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:17147″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:30953″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:32437″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:38705″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:40613″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:7186″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:14093″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:34″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:23″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:74″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:19093″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:1472″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:6476″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:42264″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:10″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:37605″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:43298″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:37428″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:19962″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:24″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:1816″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:84″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:55″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:31″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:24011″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:100″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:2784″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:26114″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:9412″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:820″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:1666″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:20950″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:48″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:80″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:15681″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:24577″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:78″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:23845″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:83″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:35441″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:76″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:15680″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:7239″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:44197″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:65″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:5944″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:61″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:63″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:26311″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:71″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:17148″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:13356″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:17150″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:39768″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:2960″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:14785″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:3″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:54″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:88″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:12964″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:53″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:86″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:3244″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:89″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:15913″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:42263″,”typename”:”AuthorList”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”AuthorList:45757″,”typename”:”AuthorList”}],”address_to_editor”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.0″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.1″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.2″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.3″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.4″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.5″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.6″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.7″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.8″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.9″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.10″,”typename”:”Editor”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.11″,”typename”:”Editor”}]},”$ROOT_QUERY.options”:{“acf”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf”,”typename”:”ThemeOptions”},”__typename”:”Options”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getPostPageArchive({\”slug\”:\”alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\”,\”type\”:\”\”}).data.0.acf”:{“custom_page_colors”:””,”page_accent_color”:null,”page_text_color”:null,”page_background_color”:null,”header_type”:”default”,”header_gradient_color”:null,”header_gradient_opacity”:null,”header_solid_colors”:””,”header_solid_primary_color”:null,”header_solid_secondary_color”:null,”header_solid_hover_color”:null,”header_transparent_colors”:null,”header_transparent_primary_color”:null,”header_transparent_secondary_color”:null,”header_transparent_hover_color”:null,”__typename”:”ACFFields”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getPostPageArchive({\”slug\”:\”alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\”,\”type\”:\”\”}).data.0″:{“acf”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getPostPageArchive({\”slug\”:\”alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\”,\”type\”:\”\”}).data.0.acf”,”typename”:”ACFFields”},”__typename”:”Post”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getPostPageArchive({\”slug\”:\”alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\”,\”type\”:\”\”})”:{“data”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getPostPageArchive({\”slug\”:\”alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\”,\”type\”:\”\”}).data.0″,”typename”:”Post”}],”__typename”:”PostPageArchive”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getPageMeta({\”slug\”:\”alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\”,\”type\”:\”\”})”:{“redirect_path”:null,”meta”:”\u003cmeta name=\”description\” content=\”For Lisa Kaltenegger and her generation of exoplanet astronomers, decades of planning have set the stage for an epochal detection.\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:image\” content=\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:image:width\” content=\”1200\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:image:height\” content=\”630\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:image:alt\” content=\”Lisa Kaltenegger, a woman with red hair, peers through the eyepiece of an antique telescope.\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:locale\” content=\”en_US\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:type\” content=\”article\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:title\” content=\”A Dream of Discovering Alien Life Finds New Hope\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:description\” content=\”For Lisa Kaltenegger and her generation of exoplanet astronomers, decades of planning have set the stage for an epochal detection.\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:url\” content=\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:site_name\” content=\”Quanta Magazine\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”og:updated_time\” content=\”2022-11-03T15:12+00:00\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”article:publisher\” content=\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”fb:app_id\” content=\”533309373681765\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”article:published_time\” content=\”2022-11-03T15:12+00:00\” />\n\u003cmeta property=\”article:modified_time\” content=\”2022-11-03T15:12+00:00\” />\n\u003cmeta name=\”twitter:card\” content=\”summary_large_image\” />\n\u003cmeta name=\”twitter:site\” content=\”@QuantaMagazine\” />\n\u003cmeta name=\”twitter:title\” content=\”A Dream of Discovering Alien Life Finds New Hope\” />\n\u003cmeta name=\”twitter:description\” content=\”For Lisa Kaltenegger and her generation of exoplanet astronomers, decades of planning have set the stage for an epochal detection.\” />\n\u003cmeta name=\”twitter:image\” content=\” />\n\u003cmeta name=\”twitter:image:width\” content=\”1200\” />\n\u003cmeta name=\”twitter:image:height\” content=\”630\” />\n\u003cmeta name=\”twitter:image:alt\” content=\”Lisa Kaltenegger, a woman with red hair, peers through the eyepiece of an antique telescope.\” />\n\u003clink rel=\”canonical\” href=\” />\n\u003cscript type=\”application/ld+json\”>{\”@context\”:\”https://schema.org\”,\”@type\”:\”BreadcrumbList\”,\”itemListElement\”:[{\”@type\”:\”ListItem\”,\”position\”:1,\”item\”:{\”@id\”:\”https://www.quantamagazine.org/\”,\”name\”:\”Quanta Magazine | Science and Math News\”}},{\”@type\”:\”ListItem\”,\”position\”:2,\”item\”:{\”@id\”:\” News, Interviews and Columns\”}},{\”@type\”:\”ListItem\”,\”position\”:3,\”item\”:{\”@id\”:\”,\”name\”:\”Alien Life: A Dream of Discovery Finds New Hope\”}}]}\u003c\/script>\n”,”__typename”:”PageMeta”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.social_media_links.0″:{“type”:”facebook”,”label”:”Facebook”,”url”:” Joy of Why”,”slug”:”the-joy-of-why”,”description”:”The mathematician and author Steven Strogatz interviews leading researchers about the great scientific and mathematical questions of our time.”,”featured_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.channels.0.featured_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”square_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.channels.0.square_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”subscribe_itunes_link”:” Science Podcast”,”slug”:”quanta-podcast”,”description”:”Susan Valot narrates in-depth news episodes based on \u003ci>Quanta Magazine\u003c/i>’s articles about mathematics, physics, biology and computer science. “,”featured_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.channels.1.featured_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”square_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.channels.1.square_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”subscribe_itunes_link”:” of a neuron showing aggregations of tau protein.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” Joy of x”,”slug”:”the-joy-of-x”,”description”:”The acclaimed mathematician and author Steven Strogatz interviews some of the world’s leading scientists about their lives and work.”,”featured_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.channels.2.featured_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”square_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.channels.2.square_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”subscribe_itunes_link”:” holes”,”label”:”Black Holes”,”__typename”:”PopularSearch”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.popular_searches.3″:{“term”:”evolution”,”label”:”Evolution”,”__typename”:”PopularSearch”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.0″:{“type”:”Tag”,”label”:”Podcasts”,”tag”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.0.tag”,”typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.0.category”,”typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.0.tag”:{“name”:”Quanta Podcast”,”slug”:”quanta-podcast”,”term_id”:”552″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.0.category”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.1″:{“type”:”Tag”,”label”:”Columns”,”tag”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.1.tag”,”typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.1.category”,”typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.1.tag”:{“name”:”Quantized Columns”,”slug”:”quantized”,”term_id”:”551″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.1.category”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.2″:{“type”:”Series”,”label”:”Series”,”tag”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.2.tag”,”typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.2.category”,”typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.2.tag”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.2.category”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.3″:{“type”:”Category”,”label”:”Interviews”,”tag”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.3.tag”,”typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.3.category”,”typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.3.tag”:{“name”:”Q&A”,”slug”:”qa”,”term_id”:”567″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.3.category”:{“name”:”Q&A”,”slug”:”qa”,”term_id”:”176″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.4″:{“type”:”Category”,”label”:”Multimedia”,”tag”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.4.tag”,”typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.4.category”,”typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.4.tag”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.4.category”:{“name”:”Multimedia”,”slug”:”multimedia”,”term_id”:”43″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.5″:{“type”:”Category”,”label”:”Puzzles”,”tag”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.5.tag”,”typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.5.category”,”typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.5.tag”:{“name”:”puzzles”,”slug”:”puzzles”,”term_id”:”542″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.5.category”:{“name”:”Puzzles”,”slug”:”puzzles”,”term_id”:”546″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.6″:{“type”:”Category”,”label”:”Blog Posts”,”tag”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.6.tag”,”typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.6.category”,”typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.6.tag”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.6.category”:{“name”:”Abstractions blog”,”slug”:”abstractions”,”term_id”:”619″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.7″:{“type”:”news”,”label”:”News Articles”,”tag”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.7.tag”,”typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.7.category”,”typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.7.tag”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.7.category”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.8″:{“type”:”videos”,”label”:”Videos”,”tag”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.8.tag”,”typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.8.category”,”typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.8.tag”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_topics.8.category”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_sections.0″:{“name”:”Mathematics”,”slug”:”mathematics”,”term_id”:”188″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_sections.1″:{“name”:”Physics”,”slug”:”physics”,”term_id”:”189″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_sections.2″:{“name”:”Biology”,”slug”:”biology”,”term_id”:”191″,”__typename”:”Term”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.search_sections.3″:{“name”:”Computer Science”,”slug”:”computer-science”,”term_id”:”190″,”__typename”:”Term”},”AuthorList:38171″:{“id”:”38171″,”name”:”Adam Becker”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:28087″:{“id”:”28087″,”name”:”Adam Mann”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:29794″:{“id”:”29794″,”name”:”Alex Kontorovich”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:39302″:{“id”:”39302″,”name”:”Alexander Hellemans”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:56″:{“id”:”56″,”name”:”Alla Katsnelson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:47249″:{“id”:”47249″,”name”:”Allison Parshall”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:29458″:{“id”:”29458″,”name”:”Allison Whitten”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:73″:{“id”:”73″,”name”:”Amanda Gefter”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:39164″:{“id”:”39164″,”name”:”Ana Kova”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:59″:{“id”:”59″,”name”:”Andreas von Bubnoff”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:8728″:{“id”:”8728″,”name”:”Anil Ananthaswamy”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:11648″:{“id”:”11648″,”name”:”Ann Finkbeiner”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:42689″:{“id”:”42689″,”name”:”Annie Melchor”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:95″:{“id”:”95″,”name”:”Ariel Bleicher”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:15493″:{“id”:”15493″,”name”:”Ashley Smart”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:450″:{“id”:”450″,”name”:”Ashley Yeager”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:36490″:{“id”:”36490″,”name”:”Ben Brubaker”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:16315″:{“id”:”16315″,”name”:”Bill Andrews”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:2752″:{“id”:”2752″,”name”:”Bob Henderson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:15492″:{“id”:”15492″,”name”:”Brendan Z. Foster”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:68″:{“id”:”68″,”name”:”Brooke Borel”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:62″:{“id”:”62″,”name”:”Carl Zimmer”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:13684″:{“id”:”13684″,”name”:”Caroline Lee”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:13691″:{“id”:”13691″,”name”:”Caroline Lee”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:50″:{“id”:”50″,”name”:”Carrie Arnold”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:15142″:{“id”:”15142″,”name”:”Chanda Prescod-Weinstein”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:8084″:{“id”:”8084″,”name”:”Charlie Wood”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:742″:{“id”:”742″,”name”:”Christie Wilcox”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:11543″:{“id”:”11543″,”name”:”Claudia Dreifus”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:57″:{“id”:”57″,”name”:”Courtney Humphries”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:7262″:{“id”:”7262″,”name”:”Dalmeet Singh Chawla”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:70″:{“id”:”70″,”name”:”Dan Falk”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:19918″:{“id”:”19918″,”name”:”Dana Najjar”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:13695″:{“id”:”13695″,”name”:”Daniel Garisto”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:32676″:{“id”:”32676″,”name”:”Daniel S. Freed”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:13724″:{“id”:”13724″,”name”:”David H. Freedman”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:26310″:{“id”:”26310″,”name”:”David S. Richeson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:30207″:{“id”:”30207″,”name”:”David Tse”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:19266″:{“id”:”19266″,”name”:”Devin Powell”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:13251″:{“id”:”13251″,”name”:”Diana Kwon”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:17000″:{“id”:”17000″,”name”:”Elena Renken”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:17149″:{“id”:”17149″,”name”:”Elizabeth Landau”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:5279″:{“id”:”5279″,”name”:”Elizabeth Preston”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:58″:{“id”:”58″,”name”:”Elizabeth Svoboda”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:32612″:{“id”:”32612″,”name”:”Ellen Horne”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:27534″:{“id”:”27534″,”name”:”Emily Buder”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:25173″:{“id”:”25173″,”name”:”Emily Levesque”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:64″:{“id”:”64″,”name”:”Emily Singer”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:47″:{“id”:”47″,”name”:”Erica Klarreich”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:14784″:{“id”:”14784″,”name”:”Erika K. Carlson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:98″:{“id”:”98″,”name”:”Esther Landhuis”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:5830″:{“id”:”5830″,”name”:”Eva Silverstein”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:6793″:{“id”:”6793″,”name”:”Evelyn Lamb”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:75″:{“id”:”75″,”name”:”Ferris Jabr”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:52″:{“id”:”52″,”name”:”Frank Wilczek”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:69″:{“id”:”69″,”name”:”Gabriel Popkin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:77″:{“id”:”77″,”name”:”George Musser”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:19092″:{“id”:”19092″,”name”:”Grant Sanderson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:20557″:{“id”:”20557″,”name”:”Howard Lee”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:66″:{“id”:”66″,”name”:”Ingrid Daubechies”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:46418″:{“id”:”46418″,”name”:”Ingrid Wickelgren”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:85″:{“id”:”85″,”name”:”Ivan Amato”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:37141″:{“id”:”37141″,”name”:”Jake Buehler”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:44758″:{“id”:”44758″,”name”:”James Dinneen”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:12170″:{“id”:”12170″,”name”:”Janna Levin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:32″:{“id”:”32″,”name”:”Jeanette Kazmierczak”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:51″:{“id”:”51″,”name”:”Jennifer Ouellette”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:44787″:{“id”:”44787″,”name”:”Joanna Thompson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:72″:{“id”:”72″,”name”:”John Pavlus”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:16475″:{“id”:”16475″,”name”:”John Preskill”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:91″:{“id”:”91″,”name”:”John Rennie”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:10351″:{“id”:”10351″,”name”:”Jonathan Lambert”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:31716″:{“id”:”31716″,”name”:”Jonathan O’Callaghan”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:1241″:{“id”:”1241″,”name”:”Jordana Cepelewicz”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:8463″:{“id”:”8463″,”name”:”Joshua Roebke”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:49″:{“id”:”49″,”name”:”Joshua Sokol”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:16815″:{“id”:”16815″,”name”:”jye”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:67″:{“id”:”67″,”name”:”K.C. Cole”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:37462″:{“id”:”37462″,”name”:”Karmela Padavic-Callaghan”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:87″:{“id”:”87″,”name”:”Kat McGowan”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:36139″:{“id”:”36139″,”name”:”Katarina Zimmer”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:20556″:{“id”:”20556″,”name”:”Katherine Harmon Courage”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:90″:{“id”:”90″,”name”:”Katia Moskvitch”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:39551″:{“id”:”39551″,”name”:”Katie McCormick”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:27374″:{“id”:”27374″,”name”:”Kelsey Houston-Edwards”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:40″:{“id”:”40″,”name”:”Kevin Hartnett”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:45758″:{“id”:”45758″,”name”:”Kristina Armitage”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:38413″:{“id”:”38413″,”name”:”Lakshmi Chandrasekaran”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:12570″:{“id”:”12570″,”name”:”Laura Poppick”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:38699″:{“id”:”38699″,”name”:”Leila Sloman”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:23451″:{“id”:”23451″,”name”:”Liam Drew”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:79″:{“id”:”79″,”name”:”Liz Kruesi”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:38″:{“id”:”38″,”name”:”Lucy Reading-Ikkanda”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:60″:{“id”:”60″,”name”:”Maggie McKee”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:2333″:{“id”:”2333″,”name”:”Mallory Locklear”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:3569″:{“id”:”3569″,”name”:”Marcus Woo”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:414″:{“id”:”414″,”name”:”Mark Kim-Mulgrew”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:20495″:{“id”:”20495″,”name”:”Matt Carlstrom”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:17147″:{“id”:”17147″,”name”:”Matthew Hutson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:30953″:{“id”:”30953″,”name”:”Max G. Levy”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:32437″:{“id”:”32437″,”name”:”Max Kozlov”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:38705″:{“id”:”38705″,”name”:”mcho”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:40613″:{“id”:”40613″,”name”:”Melanie Mitchell”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:7186″:{“id”:”7186″,”name”:”Melinda Wenner Moyer”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:14093″:{“id”:”14093″,”name”:”Michael Harris”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:34″:{“id”:”34″,”name”:”Michael Kranz”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:23″:{“id”:”23″,”name”:”Michael Moyer”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:74″:{“id”:”74″,”name”:”Michael Nielsen”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:19093″:{“id”:”19093″,”name”:”Michele Bannister”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:1472″:{“id”:”1472″,”name”:”Moira Chas”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:6476″:{“id”:”6476″,”name”:”Monique Brouillette”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:42264″:{“id”:”42264″,”name”:”Mordechai Rorvig”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:10″:{“id”:”10″,”name”:”Natalie Wolchover”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:37605″:{“id”:”37605″,”name”:”Nick Thieme”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:43298″:{“id”:”43298″,”name”:”Nicole Yunger Halpern”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:37428″:{“id”:”37428″,”name”:”Nima Arkani-Hamed”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:19962″:{“id”:”19962″,”name”:”Nola Taylor Redd”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:24″:{“id”:”24″,”name”:”Olena Shmahalo”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:1816″:{“id”:”1816″,”name”:”Patrick Honner”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:84″:{“id”:”84″,”name”:”Peter Byrne”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:55″:{“id”:”55″,”name”:”Philip Ball”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:31″:{“id”:”31″,”name”:”Pradeep Mutalik”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:24011″:{“id”:”24011″,”name”:”Puja Changoiwala”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:100″:{“id”:”100″,”name”:”Quanta Magazine”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:2784″:{“id”:”2784″,”name”:”R. Douglas Fields”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:26114″:{“id”:”26114″,”name”:”Rachel Crowell”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:9412″:{“id”:”9412″,”name”:”Raleigh McElvery”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:820″:{“id”:”820″,”name”:”Ramin Skibba”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:1666″:{“id”:”1666″,”name”:”Rebecca Boyle”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:20950″:{“id”:”20950″,”name”:”Richard Masland”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:48″:{“id”:”48″,”name”:”Robbert Dijkgraaf”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:80″:{“id”:”80″,”name”:”Roberta Kwok”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:15681″:{“id”:”15681″,”name”:”Robin George Andrews”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:24577″:{“id”:”24577″,”name”:”Rodrigo Pérez Ortega”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:78″:{“id”:”78″,”name”:”Sabine Hossenfelder”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:23845″:{“id”:”23845″,”name”:”Samuel Velasco”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:83″:{“id”:”83″,”name”:”Sarah Lewin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:35441″:{“id”:”35441″,”name”:”Scott Aaronson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:76″:{“id”:”76″,”name”:”Sean B. Carroll”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:15680″:{“id”:”15680″,”name”:”Sean Carroll”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:7239″:{“id”:”7239″,”name”:”Shannon Hall”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:44197″:{“id”:”44197″,”name”:”Sheon Han”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:65″:{“id”:”65″,”name”:”Siobhan Roberts”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:5944″:{“id”:”5944″,”name”:”Sophia Chen”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:61″:{“id”:”61″,”name”:”Steph Yin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:63″:{“id”:”63″,”name”:”Stephanie Bucklin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:26311″:{“id”:”26311″,”name”:”Stephanie DeMarco”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:71″:{“id”:”71″,”name”:”Stephen Ornes”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:17148″:{“id”:”17148″,”name”:”Steve Nadis”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:13356″:{“id”:”13356″,”name”:”Steven Strogatz”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:17150″:{“id”:”17150″,”name”:”Susan D’Agostino”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:39768″:{“id”:”39768″,”name”:”Tamar Lichter Blanks”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:2960″:{“id”:”2960″,”name”:”Tara C. Smith”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:14785″:{“id”:”14785″,”name”:”Thomas Lewton”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:3″:{“id”:”3″,”name”:”Thomas Lin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:54″:{“id”:”54″,”name”:”Tim Vernimmen”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:88″:{“id”:”88″,”name”:”Tom Siegfried”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:12964″:{“id”:”12964″,”name”:”Vanessa Schipani”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:53″:{“id”:”53″,”name”:”Veronique Greenwood”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:86″:{“id”:”86″,”name”:”Virginia Hughes”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:3244″:{“id”:”3244″,”name”:”Viviane Callier”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:89″:{“id”:”89″,”name”:”Wynne Parry”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:15913″:{“id”:”15913″,”name”:”XiaoZhi Lim”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:42263″:{“id”:”42263″,”name”:”Yasemin Saplakoglu”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”AuthorList:45757″:{“id”:”45757″,”name”:”Zack Savitsky”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.0″:{“name”:”Bill Andrews – Senior CS Editor”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.1″:{“name”:”Ben Brubaker – Staff CS Writer”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.2″:{“name”:”Matt Carlstrom – Senior Engagement Editor”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.3″:{“name”:”Jordana Cepelewicz – Senior Math Writer”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.4″:{“name”:”Konstantin Kakaes – Senior Math Editor”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.5″:{“name”:”Thomas Lin – Editor in Chief”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.6″:{“name”:”Michael Moyer – Deputy Editor, Physics, Math, CS”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.7″:{“name”:”John Rennie – Deputy Editor, Biology, Podcasts”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.8″:{“name”:”Yasemin Saplakoglu – Staff Biology Writer”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.9″:{“name”:”Samuel Velasco – Art Director”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.10″:{“name”:”Natalie Wolchover – Senior Physics Editor”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.options.acf.address_to_editor.11″:{“name”:”Charlie Wood – Staff Physics Writer”,”__typename”:”Editor”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”main-menu\”}).items.0″:{“title”:”Physics”,”url”:” Science”,”url”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/computer-science/”,”order”:4,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”main-menu\”}).items.4″:{“title”:”Topics”,”url”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/topics”,”order”:5,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”main-menu\”}).items.5″:{“title”:”Archive”,”url”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/archive/”,”order”:6,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”main-menu\”})”:{“items”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”main-menu\”}).items.0″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”main-menu\”}).items.1″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”main-menu\”}).items.2″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”main-menu\”}).items.3″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”main-menu\”}).items.4″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”main-menu\”}).items.5″,”typename”:”MenuItem”}],”__typename”:”Menu”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.0″:{“title”:”Blog”,”url”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/abstractions/”,”order”:1,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.1″:{“title”:”Q&A”,”url”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/qa/”,”order”:2,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.2″:{“title”:”Columns”,”url”:”/tag/quantized”,”order”:3,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.3″:{“title”:”Puzzles”,”url”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/puzzles/”,”order”:4,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.4″:{“title”:”Podcasts”,”url”:”/podcasts/”,”order”:5,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.5″:{“title”:”Videos”,”url”:”/videos”,”order”:6,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.6″:{“title”:”Multimedia”,”url”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/multimedia/”,”order”:7,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.7″:{“title”:”About Quanta”,”url”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/about/”,”order”:8,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”})”:{“items”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.0″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.1″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.2″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.3″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.4″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.5″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.6″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”secondary-menu\”}).items.7″,”typename”:”MenuItem”}],”__typename”:”Menu”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”footer\”}).items.0″:{“title”:”About Quanta”,”url”:” Us”,”url”:” & Conditions”,”url”:” Policy”,”url”:” Foundation”,”url”:”http://www.simonsfoundation.org”,”order”:6,”__typename”:”MenuItem”},”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”footer\”})”:{“items”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”footer\”}).items.0″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”footer\”}).items.1″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”footer\”}).items.2″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”footer\”}).items.3″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”footer\”}).items.4″,”typename”:”MenuItem”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.menu({\”slug\”:\”footer\”}).items.5″,”typename”:”MenuItem”}],”__typename”:”Menu”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getPostPageArchive({\”slug\”:\”alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\”})”:{“type”:”post”,”meta”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$ROOT_QUERY.getPostPageArchive({\”slug\”:\”alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\”}).meta”,”typename”:”PageData”},”data”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”Post:120326″,”typename”:”Post”}],”__typename”:”PostPageArchive”},”$ROOT_QUERY.getPostPageArchive({\”slug\”:\”alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\”}).meta”:{“title”:”Alien Life: A Dream of Discovery Finds New Hope | Quanta Magazine”,”max_num_pages”:0,”found_posts”:0,”extra_term”:””,”author”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”Author:null”,”typename”:”Author”},”tag”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”Term:null”,”typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”Term:null”,”typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”PageData”},”Author:null”:{“id”:null,”name”:null,”link”:null,”description”:null,”url”:null,”public_email”:null,”facebook”:null,”twitter”:null,”instagram”:null,”acf”:null,”__typename”:”Author”},”Term:null”:{“id”:null,”slug”:null,”name”:null,”link”:null,”description”:null,”image”:””,”__typename”:”Term”},”Post:120326″:{“id”:”120326″,”title”:”A Dream of Discovering Alien Life Finds New Hope”,”excerpt”:”\u003cp>For Lisa Kaltenegger and her generation of exoplanet astronomers, decades of planning have set the stage for an epochal detection. \u003c/p>\n”,”link”:” https://www.quantamagazine.org/?p=120326″,”date”:”2022-11-03T11:12:26″,”featured_media_image”:null,”authors”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”Post:120326.authors.0″,”typename”:”Author”}],”tags”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”Post:120326.tags.0″,”typename”:”Term”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”Post:120326.tags.1″,”typename”:”Term”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”Post:120326.tags.2″,”typename”:”Term”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”Post:120326.tags.3″,”typename”:”Term”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”Post:120326.tags.4″,”typename”:”Term”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”Post:120326.tags.5″,”typename”:”Term”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”Post:120326.tags.6″,”typename”:”Term”}],”podcast”:null,”acf”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf”,”typename”:”ACFFields”},”__typename”:”Post”,”status”:”publish”,”content”:””,”categories”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:false,”id”:”Term:189″,”typename”:”Term”}],”attachments”:null,”series_prev”:null,”series_next”:null,”next”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.next”,”typename”:”PostPageArchive”}},”Post:120326.authors.0″:{“name”:”Joshua Sokol”,”link”:” science”,”link”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/planetary-science/”},”Post:120326.tags.5″:{“slug”:”profile”,”__typename”:”Term”,”name”:”profiles”,”link”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/profile/”},”Post:120326.tags.6″:{“slug”:”telescopes”,”__typename”:”Term”,”name”:”telescopes”,”link”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/telescopes/”},”$Post:120326.acf”:{“featured_block_title”:””,”kicker”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.kicker”,”typename”:”Term”},”featured_image_default”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.featured_image_default”,”typename”:”Image”},”featured_image_square”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.featured_image_square”,”typename”:”Image”},”featured_image_full_width”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.featured_image_full_width”,”typename”:”Image”},”featured_image_gif”:false,”featured_video”:”false”,”full_page_interactive”:false,”podcast_publish_date”:””,”__typename”:”ACFFields”,”interactive_type”:null,”iframe_url”:null,”return_cursor”:null,”exclude_blurb”:null,”interactive_html”:null,”interactive_css”:null,”interactive_js”:null,”interactive_blurb”:null,”related_article”:null,”modules”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.0″,”typename”:”ACFImageComponent”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.1″,”typename”:”ACFContent”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.2″,”typename”:”ACFImageComponent”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.3″,”typename”:”ACFContent”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.4″,”typename”:”ACFImageComponent”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.5″,”typename”:”ACFContent”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.6″,”typename”:”ACFImageComponent”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.7″,”typename”:”ACFContent”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.8″,”typename”:”ACFImageComponent”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.9″,”typename”:”ACFContent”}],”template”:”article”,”subtitle”:”For Lisa Kaltenegger and her generation of exoplanet astronomers, decades of planning have set the stage for an epochal detection. “,”title_layout”:”default”,”title_background_type”:null,”title_background_image”:null,”title_background_video”:null,”title_background_attribution”:null,”title_background_image_gif”:null,”title_overlay_enable”:null,”title_overlay_color”:null,”title_overlay_opacity”:null,”title_text_color”:null,”featured_image_attribution”:”\u003cp data-pm-slice=\”1 1 []\”>Sasha Maslov for Quanta Magazine\u003c/p>\n”,”featured_overlay_enable”:”false”,”featured_overlay_color”:null,”featured_overlay_opacity”:null,”series”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.series”,”typename”:”Term”},”intro_content”:null,”make_image_full_width”:null,”hide_ad_on_post”:false},”$Post:120326.acf.kicker”:{“name”:”astrobiology”,”link”:” Kaltenegger, a woman with red hair, peers through the eyepiece of an antique telescope.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” Kaltenegger, a woman with red hair, peers through the eyepiece of an antique telescope.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” Kaltenegger, a woman with red hair, peers through the eyepiece of an antique telescope.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” Writer”,”avatar”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.authors.0.acf.avatar”,”typename”:”Image”},”__typename”:”AuthorACF”},”$Post:120326.authors.0.acf.avatar”:{“alt”:””,”caption”:””,”url”:” data-pm-slice=\”1 1 []\”>Sasha Maslov for Quanta Magazine\u003c/p>\n”,”caption”:”\u003cp>Lisa Kaltenegger, pictured at Cornell University’s Fuertes Observatory, hopes to identify the first candidate living planets.\u003c/p>\n”,”mobile_comp_caption”:””,”mobile_comp_attribution”:””,”sets”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.0.sets.0″,”typename”:”ImageSet”}],”__typename”:”ACFImageComponent”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.0.sets.0″:{“settings”:””,”image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.0.sets.0.image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.0.sets.0.mobile_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_side_margins”:false,”mobile_width_constraint”:””,”mobile_caption”:””,”mobile_attribution”:””,”zoom_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.0.sets.0.zoom_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”zoom_caption”:””,”zoom_attribution”:””,”mobile_zoom_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.0.sets.0.mobile_zoom_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_zoom_caption”:””,”mobile_zoom_attribution”:””,”external_link”:””,”__typename”:”ImageSet”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.0.sets.0.image”:{“alt”:”Lisa Kaltenegger, a woman with red hair, peers through the eyepiece of an antique telescope.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” of the many times \u003ca href=\” Kaltenegger\u003c/a>’s dream jolted a little closer toward reality was on a cold April morning a decade ago at an astronomy conference. She was clutching what she recalls was a terrible, just awful cup of coffee, not because she was going to drink any more of it but because she had waited in line and it was warm in her hands. Then Bill Borucki veered in her direction.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>She readied herself to tell him to avoid the coffee. But Borucki, head of NASA’s Kepler mission, a space telescope designed to hunt for planets orbiting other stars (or “exoplanets”), had something else to discuss. \u003ca href=\” had glimpsed\u003c/a> its first two Earth-size exoplanets with a decent chance of having liquid water on their surfaces. These were the sort of strange new worlds that everyone at the conference — and possibly most of the human race — had imagined at least once. Would Kaltenegger confirm that the planets might be habitable?\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Kaltenegger, at the time an astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, started running new climate models before the conference was over, incorporating basic facts like the planets’ diameters and the lukewarm glow of their star. Her ultimate answer: \u003ca href=\” qualified yes\u003c/a>. The planets might be suitable for life, or at least for liquid water; they could even be water worlds, encased in endless oceans without a single rocky outcrop poking above the waves. The caveat was that she would need more advanced observations to be sure.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Kaltenegger has since become perhaps the world’s leading computer modeler of potentially habitable worlds. In 2019, when another exoplanet-hunting NASA spacecraft called TESS found its own \u003ca href=\” rocky, temperate worlds\u003c/a>, she was called on again to play the role of cosmic home inspector. Most recently, the Belgium-based SPECULOOS survey reached out for her help understanding \u003ca href=\” newfound Earth-size planet\u003c/a> dubbed SPECULOOS-2c that’s precariously close to its star. She and her colleagues completed an analysis, uploaded as \u003ca href=\” preprint\u003c/a> in September, showing that SPECULOOS-2c’s water could be in the process of steaming away like sauna vapor, as any seas of Venus did long ago and as Earth’s own oceans will begin to do in half a billion years. Telescope observations should be able to tell within a few years if that’s happening, which will help reveal our own planet’s future and further demarcate the knife’s-edge distinction between hostile and habitable worlds across the galaxy.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In simulating ersatz Earths and more speculative visions of living planets, Kaltenegger leverages the bizarre life and geology found on Earth to develop a more systematic set of expectations about what might be possible elsewhere. “I’m trying to do the fundamentals,” she told me during a recent visit to Cornell University, where she leads an institute named for Carl Sagan, another charismatic Ithaca-based astronomer with big ideas about ending humanity’s lonely sojourn in the cosmos.\u003c/p>\n”,”fadein”:false,”__typename”:”ACFContent”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.2″:{“hide_this_component”:null,”acf_fc_layout”:”image_component”,”layout”:”full”,”settings”:””,”attribution”:”\u003cp>Sasha Maslov for Quanta Magazine\u003c/p>\n”,”caption”:”\u003cp>Kaltenegger’s office decor includes orreries, a telescope, a puzzle and an autographed photo of Carl Sagan, a previous occupant of the same office.\u003c/p>\n”,”mobile_comp_caption”:””,”mobile_comp_attribution”:””,”sets”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.2.sets.0″,”typename”:”ImageSet”}],”__typename”:”ACFImageComponent”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.2.sets.0″:{“settings”:””,”image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.2.sets.0.image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.2.sets.0.mobile_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_side_margins”:false,”mobile_width_constraint”:””,”mobile_caption”:”\u003cp>Kaltenegger’s office decor includes orreries, a telescope, a puzzle and an autographed photo of Carl Sagan, a previous occupant of the same office.\u003c/p>\n”,”mobile_attribution”:”\u003cp>Sasha Maslov for Quanta Magazine\u003c/p>\n”,”zoom_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.2.sets.0.zoom_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”zoom_caption”:””,”zoom_attribution”:””,”mobile_zoom_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.2.sets.0.mobile_zoom_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_zoom_caption”:””,”mobile_zoom_attribution”:””,”external_link”:””,”__typename”:”ImageSet”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.2.sets.0.image”:{“alt”:”Four photos of objects in Kaltenegger’s office. She appears in one photo tinkering with a brass orrery, a mechanical model of the solar system.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” triptych of photos showing a small, antique telescope, an autographed black-and-white photo of Carl Sagan, and a partially completed jigsaw puzzle of the sun”,”caption”:””,”url”:” overarching quest — the search for alien life — is entering an unprecedented phase. Barring the bolt-from-the-blue arrival of something like an extraterrestrial radio broadcast, most astronomers believe that our best near-term chance of encountering other life in the cosmos is to detect biosignature gases — gases that could only have come from life — floating in exoplanets’ atmospheres. The sort of remote measurement necessary to make that kind of detection has strained the capabilities of even humanity’s most advanced observatories. But with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) now in its first few months of observations, such a discovery has become possible.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Over the next few years, the enormous space telescope will closely scrutinize a handful of rocky worlds that are regarded as most likely to be habitable, probably including the new SPECULOOS-2c. At minimum, JWST’s studies should discern whether these planets have atmospheres; they might also show that some are dripping with liquid water. Most optimistically — if biospheres bloom easily from Earth-like worlds — the telescope may detect odd ratios of, say, carbon dioxide, oxygen and methane on one of these planets. Astronomers may then be sorely tempted to attribute the concoction to the presence of an extraterrestrial ecosystem.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Finding biosignatures will require Kaltenegger and a small group of her peers to squeeze certainty from exceedingly few photons. Not only will the atmospheric signals they’re looking for be weak, but she and her colleagues must model a planet’s possible interplay of starlight, rock and air accurately enough to be sure that nothing besides life could explain the presence of a particular atmospheric gas. Any such analysis must navigate between a Scylla and Charybdis, avoiding both false negatives — life was there but you missed it — and false positives that find life where there is none.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Getting it wrong carries consequences. Unlike most scientific endeavors, the search for signs of extraterrestrial life happens under an unavoidable spotlight, and in a turbocharged information ecosystem where any scientist crying “Life!” warps the fabric of funding, attention and public trust. Kaltenegger herself recently had a front-row seat to just such an episode.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Her generation faces another pressure, one I intended to pose delicately but ended up blurting out just an hour after meeting her. She and her colleagues began their careers at the dawn of the era of exoplanets. Now they’re in a race to discover life on one before they die.\u003c/p>\n\u003ch2>\u003cstrong>Planetary Dreamers\u003c/strong>\u003c/h2>\n\u003cp>The modern search for biosignatures began almost immediately after the 1995 discovery of the first exoplanet — a gas giant — that orbited a sunlike star. Planet-hunting soon became fractious and competitive, a race for headlines. Some senior astronomers doubted that the flashy, resource-hungry subfield could deliver much more than one-off measurements of a few unique planets. “People were openly skeptical, and some people were angrily against it,” said \u003ca href=\” Seager\u003c/a>, an exoplanet astronomer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Meanwhile, enclaves of like-minded researchers started gathering at workshops to explore an open sky’s worth of new questions. “We never said no to any idea,” said Seager, who was a graduate student at the time.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Kaltenegger was a freshman at university when news of the first giant exoplanets dropped. She had grown up in a small town in Austria, with parents who supported her interests in math, physics and languages; the town librarians knew her so well they would give her the new books they hadn’t yet categorized. “Everything was possible,” she said of her upbringing. At the University of Graz, she was drawn to the new quest for new worlds. Seager, who met Kaltenegger at a summer school program in 1997, now lauds the remarkable boldness that led an undergraduate to join a subfield that was still so fringe and ephemeral. “Being able to be there at the beginning — it wasn’t just a coincidence,” Seager said. By the end of Kaltenegger’s undergraduate studies, she had coaxed funding from the European Union and invited herself into an open spot at an observatory in Tenerife on the Canary Islands. There she spent long, coffee-addled nights hunting exoplanets, listening to a postdoc’s Dire Straits album on loop before stumbling outside to see the sun rise over a lava-strewn landscape.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Meanwhile, the space agencies were getting in on the action. In 1996, a NASA administrator, Dan Goldin, publicized a plan that would effectively have sprinted straight from the discovery of the first gas giant exoplanets all the way to the end zone. His plan called for massive space-based observatories, dubbed Terrestrial Planet Finders, that could take detailed spectroscopic measurements of alien Earths, breaking their light into its component colors to understand their chemical makeup.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Better still, Goldin wanted actual pictures of planets. In 1990 NASA’s Voyager probe, at Sagan’s behest, had snapped a photo of home from out beyond the orbit of Neptune, reducing our entire living, breathing, fragile world to a pale blue dot suspended in a void. What if we could see another pale blue dot out there twinkling in the black?\u003c/p>\n”,”fadein”:false,”__typename”:”ACFContent”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.4″:{“hide_this_component”:null,”acf_fc_layout”:”image_component”,”layout”:”full”,”settings”:””,”attribution”:”\u003cp>Sasha Maslov for Quanta Magazine\u003c/p>\n”,”caption”:”\u003cp>Kaltenegger at the Fuertes Observatory.\u003c/p>\n”,”mobile_comp_caption”:””,”mobile_comp_attribution”:””,”sets”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.4.sets.0″,”typename”:”ImageSet”}],”__typename”:”ACFImageComponent”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.4.sets.0″:{“settings”:””,”image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.4.sets.0.image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.4.sets.0.mobile_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_side_margins”:false,”mobile_width_constraint”:””,”mobile_caption”:””,”mobile_attribution”:””,”zoom_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.4.sets.0.zoom_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”zoom_caption”:””,”zoom_attribution”:””,”mobile_zoom_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.4.sets.0.mobile_zoom_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_zoom_caption”:””,”mobile_zoom_attribution”:””,”external_link”:””,”__typename”:”ImageSet”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.4.sets.0.image”:{“alt”:”Kaltenegger leans against wooden stairs in the round, brick-walled room of an observatory. Part of a telescope appears at the top of the photo.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” European Space Agency scoped out its own version of a Earth twin-scouting, life-finding mission, called Darwin. Kaltenegger, then 24, applied to work on it and got the job. “I asked myself: If you live in a time where you can figure out if we are alone in the universe, and if I can help?” she said at Cornell, sporting a turquoise gem necklace symbolizing a pale blue dot and balancing a teacup on her knee. “Looking back on my life, that’s probably what I want to have done.” She was tasked with considering the mission’s design trade-offs and drafting the list of stars that Darwin’s fleet of telescopes should scan for planets; in parallel, she pursued her doctorate.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>But in the 2000s, visions of grand alien-hunting telescopes crumbled on both sides of the Atlantic. Darwin studies fizzled in 2007. One reason was JWST’s own sagging development schedule, which ate up budgets and attention spans. Another was scientific doubt: At the time, astronomers had no clue what fraction of the Milky Way’s stars have rocky planets with the possibility of a stable, temperate climate.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>That fraction would turn out to be about one in five, as revealed by the Kepler space telescope, which launched in 2009 and went on to discover thousands of exoplanets. A Terrestrial Planet Finder mission, should one be resurrected, would have plenty of places to point.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Since Kepler’s launch, though, pragmatic compromises have led astrobiologists to dream smaller, diverting their resources down a humbler path. An observatory like Darwin could have picked out the signal of a rocky planet next to a much brighter star — a challenge often compared to taking a picture of a firefly as it flits around a searchlight. But now there’s another, cheaper way.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Seager and the Harvard astronomer \u003ca href=\” Sasselov\u003c/a> dreamed up \u003ca href=\” alternative method\u003c/a> in 2000 — a way to sniff into an exoplanet’s atmosphere even if light from the planet and its star are blended together. First, telescopes look for planets that “transit,” crossing in front of their star as seen from Earth’s perspective, which causes a slight diminution in the starlight. These transits are rich with information. During a transit, a star’s spectrum sprouts new bumps and wiggles, because some of the starlight shines through the ring of atmosphere around the planet and molecules in the atmosphere absorb light of specific frequencies. Artful analysis of the spectral wiggles reveals the high-altitude chemistry responsible. The Hubble Space Telescope started testing this technique in 2002, \u003ca href=\” sodium vapor\u003c/a> around a faraway gas giant planet; along with other telescopes, it has since repeated the trick on dozens of targets.\u003c/p>\n\u003cdiv id=’component-6363db59d34e4′ class=””>\u003cscript type=\”text/template\”>{\”type\”:\”Image\”,\”id\”:\”component-6363db59d34e4\”,\”data\”:{\”id\”:120339,\”src\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”alt\”:\”\”,\”class\”:\”\”,\”width\”:0,\”height\”:0,\”mobileSrc\”:{\”ID\”:120338,\”id\”:120338,\”title\”:\”SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile\”,\”filename\”:\”SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile.svg\”,\”filesize\”:3082649,\”url\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile.svg\”,\”link\”:\”https:\\/\\/www.quantamagazine.org\\/alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\\/seeingalienskies_samuelvelasco_mobile\\/\”,\”alt\”:\”\”,\”author\”:\”42689\”,\”description\”:\”\”,\”caption\”:\”\”,\”name\”:\”seeingalienskies_samuelvelasco_mobile\”,\”status\”:\”inherit\”,\”uploaded_to\”:120326,\”date\”:\”2022-11-02 18:48:58\”,\”modified\”:\”2022-11-02 18:48:58\”,\”menu_order\”:0,\”mime_type\”:\”image\\/svg+xml\”,\”type\”:\”image\”,\”subtype\”:\”svg+xml\”,\”icon\”:\”https:\\/\\/api.quantamagazine.org\\/wp-includes\\/images\\/media\\/default.png\”,\”width\”:0,\”height\”:0,\”sizes\”:{\”thumbnail\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile.svg\”,\”thumbnail-width\”:1,\”thumbnail-height\”:1,\”medium\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile.svg\”,\”medium-width\”:1,\”medium-height\”:1,\”medium_large\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile.svg\”,\”medium_large-width\”:1,\”medium_large-height\”:1,\”large\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile.svg\”,\”large-width\”:1,\”large-height\”:1,\”1536×1536\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile.svg\”,\”1536×1536-width\”:1,\”1536×1536-height\”:1,\”2048×2048\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile.svg\”,\”2048×2048-width\”:1,\”2048×2048-height\”:1,\”square_small\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile.svg\”,\”square_small-width\”:1,\”square_small-height\”:1,\”square_large\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_mobile.svg\”,\”square_large-width\”:1,\”square_large-height\”:1}},\”zoomSrc\”:false,\”mobileZoomSrc\”:false,\”align\”:\”align=\\\”inline\\\”\”,\”wrapper_width\”:\”\”,\”caption\”:\”\”,\”attribution\”:\”\u003cp>Samuel Velasco\\/Quanta Magazine\u003c\\/p>\\n\”,\”variant\”:\”shortcode\”,\”size\”:\”wide\”,\”disableZoom\”:true,\”disableMobileZoom\”:false,\”srcImage\”:{\”ID\”:120339,\”id\”:120339,\”title\”:\”SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop\”,\”filename\”:\”SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”filesize\”:2981507,\”url\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”link\”:\”https:\\/\\/www.quantamagazine.org\\/alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\\/seeingalienskies_samuelvelasco_desktop\\/\”,\”alt\”:\”\”,\”author\”:\”42689\”,\”description\”:\”\”,\”caption\”:\”\”,\”name\”:\”seeingalienskies_samuelvelasco_desktop\”,\”status\”:\”inherit\”,\”uploaded_to\”:120326,\”date\”:\”2022-11-02 18:48:59\”,\”modified\”:\”2022-11-02 18:48:59\”,\”menu_order\”:0,\”mime_type\”:\”image\\/svg+xml\”,\”type\”:\”image\”,\”subtype\”:\”svg+xml\”,\”icon\”:\”https:\\/\\/api.quantamagazine.org\\/wp-includes\\/images\\/media\\/default.png\”,\”width\”:0,\”height\”:0,\”sizes\”:{\”thumbnail\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”thumbnail-width\”:1,\”thumbnail-height\”:1,\”medium\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”medium-width\”:1,\”medium-height\”:1,\”medium_large\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”medium_large-width\”:1,\”medium_large-height\”:1,\”large\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”large-width\”:1,\”large-height\”:1,\”1536×1536\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”1536×1536-width\”:1,\”1536×1536-height\”:1,\”2048×2048\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”2048×2048-width\”:1,\”2048×2048-height\”:1,\”square_small\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”square_small-width\”:1,\”square_small-height\”:1,\”square_large\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/SeeingAlienSkies_SamuelVelasco_desktop.svg\”,\”square_large-width\”:1,\”square_large-height\”:1}},\”largeForPrint\”:true,\”externalLink\”:\”\”,\”original_resolution\”:false}}\u003c\/script>\u003c/div>\n\u003cp>Now the universe just needed to cough up some suitable Earth-like worlds to look at.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Exoplanet surveys seemed to encounter plenty of overcooked Jupiters and undersize Neptunes around other stars, but rocky planets with the potential for liquid water remained scarce until the Kepler era. By the mid-2010s, Kepler had shown that Earth-size worlds are common; it even spotted some potentially habitable ones transiting in front of their stars, like the pair Kaltenegger modeled for Borucki. Still, the specific examples Kepler turned up were too far away for good follow-up study. Meanwhile, in 2016 astronomers found that the nearest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri, has a potentially habitable Earth-size planet. But that planet doesn’t transit its star.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In 2009, Kaltenegger, then at Harvard and shaping the field in her own right, and a collaborator, Wesley Traub, added yet another qualification. They thought about what it would take for an alien civilization to \u003ca href=\” biosignature gases on Earth\u003c/a> — a planet with a relatively tight blanket of atmosphere, transiting a bright star. They realized that a telescope like JWST would see only tiny signals from atmospheric gases during each transit, so in order to achieve any statistical certainty, astronomers would need to observe dozens or even hundreds of transits, which would take years. Acting on this insight, astronomers started to seek Earths in close orbits around dimmer, colder red dwarf stars, where atmospheric signals will be less drowned out by starlight and transits repeat more frequently.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The cosmos came through. In 2017, astronomers announced the discovery of seven rocky planets around a red dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. Then in September, the SPECULOOS-2 system emerged as a backup. These stars are close. They’re dim and red. They each have multiple rocky planets that transit. And as of the summer, the JWST is up and running even better than expected. It will spend a sizable fraction of the next five years staring hard at these messy globes of rock and chemicals spinning around their strange stars. For theoreticians like Kaltenegger who went from daydreaming of alternate Earths to churning out predictions about their atmospheric chemistry, decades of anticipation have given way to a slow fade-in of squiggly spectra on computer monitors.\u003c/p>\n\u003ch2>\u003cstrong>Glowing Alien Lady\u003c/strong>\u003c/h2>\n\u003cp>For over two years, Kaltenegger’s office — the same one Sagan used to work in — was frozen in time. First came the pandemic, then a sabbatical. In August, she was back, advancing on her whiteboard with a marker in hand, reviewing a list of ideas that wouldn’t look out of place in the writer’s room of a \u003cem>Star Trek \u003c/em>series. (Gaia and SETI. Dark oceans. Ozone. Land. Shallow Oceans. Iron?) “This is the fun part,” she said, striking through the topics of papers she has already published.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Kaltenegger became the founding director of the Carl Sagan Institute in 2015 following stints at Harvard, then in Heidelberg, where she ran her first lab. One day during her time in Heidelberg, an email came in from \u003ca href=\” Lunine\u003c/a>, the head of the astronomy department at Cornell, asking if she wanted to talk about important opportunities. “I go, oh my God, it’s a ‘woman in science’ event. At a certain point, you get too many of those invitations.” Lunine was instead looking to hire a new professor. Kaltenegger responded that she would rather work at an interdisciplinary, astrobiology-focused institute. So lead one here, he suggested.\u003c/p>\n\u003cdiv id=’component-6363db59d4321′ class=””>\u003cscript type=\”text/template\”>{\”type\”:\”Image\”,\”id\”:\”component-6363db59d4321\”,\”data\”:{\”id\”:120335,\”src\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov.webp\”,\”alt\”:\”A whiteboard displays a list of ideas or subjects, such as \\u201cdark oceans\\u201d and \\u201cdouble planets.\\u201d\”,\”class\”:\”\”,\”width\”:1200,\”height\”:947,\”mobileSrc\”:false,\”zoomSrc\”:false,\”mobileZoomSrc\”:false,\”align\”:\”align=\\\”right\\\”\”,\”wrapper_width\”:\”\”,\”caption\”:\”\u003cp>Kaltenegger\\u2019s whiteboard.\u003c\\/p>\\n\”,\”attribution\”:\”\u003cp>Sasha Maslov for Quanta Magazine\u003c\\/p>\\n\”,\”variant\”:\”shortcode\”,\”size\”:\”wide\”,\”disableZoom\”:true,\”disableMobileZoom\”:false,\”srcImage\”:{\”ID\”:120335,\”id\”:120335,\”title\”:\”3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov\”,\”filename\”:\”3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov.webp\”,\”filesize\”:198752,\”url\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov.webp\”,\”link\”:\”https:\\/\\/www.quantamagazine.org\\/alien-life-a-dream-of-discovery-finds-new-hope-20221103\\/3-lisakaltenegger-sashamaslov\\/\”,\”alt\”:\”A whiteboard displays a list of ideas or subjects, such as \\u201cdark oceans\\u201d and \\u201cdouble planets.\\u201d\”,\”author\”:\”42689\”,\”description\”:\”\”,\”caption\”:\”\”,\”name\”:\”3-lisakaltenegger-sashamaslov\”,\”status\”:\”inherit\”,\”uploaded_to\”:120326,\”date\”:\”2022-11-02 18:48:40\”,\”modified\”:\”2022-11-02 19:45:53\”,\”menu_order\”:0,\”mime_type\”:\”image\\/webp\”,\”type\”:\”image\”,\”subtype\”:\”webp\”,\”icon\”:\”https:\\/\\/api.quantamagazine.org\\/wp-includes\\/images\\/media\\/default.png\”,\”width\”:1200,\”height\”:947,\”sizes\”:{\”thumbnail\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov-520×410.webp\”,\”thumbnail-width\”:520,\”thumbnail-height\”:410,\”medium\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov.webp\”,\”medium-width\”:1200,\”medium-height\”:947,\”medium_large\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov-768×606.webp\”,\”medium_large-width\”:768,\”medium_large-height\”:606,\”large\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov.webp\”,\”large-width\”:1200,\”large-height\”:947,\”1536×1536\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov.webp\”,\”1536×1536-width\”:1200,\”1536×1536-height\”:947,\”2048×2048\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov.webp\”,\”2048×2048-width\”:1200,\”2048×2048-height\”:947,\”square_small\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov-160×160.webp\”,\”square_small-width\”:160,\”square_small-height\”:160,\”square_large\”:\”https:\\/\\/d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net\\/uploads\\/2022\\/11\\/3-LisaKaltenegger-SashaMaslov-520×520.webp\”,\”square_large-width\”:520,\”square_large-height\”:520}},\”largeForPrint\”:false,\”externalLink\”:\”\”,\”original_resolution\”:false}}\u003c\/script>\u003c/div>\n\u003cp>One recent morning we sat in a garden on campus not far from the institute, flanked by rhododendrons. As dappled sunlight filtered down, a little bird hopped up a tree trunk, a cicada buzzed, and the drone of a lawn mower moved nearer, then farther away. This was obviously an inhabited world.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Kaltenegger’s stock in trade is imagination: both the sort that astronomers trust when planning a $10 billion space telescope like JWST, and the more poetic kind that stirs public audiences. So what did this scene look like to her?\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>She glanced up. The trees had green leaves, as do most known organisms that perform photosynthesis. They had evolved to take advantage of our yellow sun and its bounteous visible-light radiation, using pigments that snatch up blue and red photons while letting green wavelengths bounce away. But plants around colder stars, greedier for light, might take on darker hues. “In my mind’s eye, if I want to, it just completely transforms with us in the garden, sitting under a red sun,” she said. “Everything is purple around you, behind you,” including the leaves.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Uncanny-valley versions of Earth have featured heavily in Kaltenegger’s thinking for two decades, owing to a nagging doubt she developed during her work on the Darwin mission in the early 2000s.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The goal at the time was to compare spectra from rocky, temperate planets to what Earth’s spectrum would look like from far away, seeking conspicuous signals like a surplus of oxygen due to widespread photosynthesis. Kaltenegger’s objection was that, for the first 2 billion years of Earth’s existence, its atmosphere had no oxygen. Then it took another billion years for oxygen to build up to high levels. And this biosignature hit its highest concentration not in Earth’s present-day spectrum, but during a short window in the late Cretaceous Period when proto-birds chased giant insects through the skies.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Without a good theoretical model for how Earth’s own spectrum has changed, Kaltenegger feared, the big planet-finding missions could easily miss a living world that didn’t match a narrow temporal template. She needed to envision Earth as an exoplanet evolving through time. To do this, she adapted one of the first global climate models, developed by the geoscientist James Kasting, which still includes references to the 1970s magnetic-tape era it originated in. Kaltenegger developed this code into a bespoke tool that can analyze not only Earth through time but also radically alien scenarios, and it remains her lab’s workhorse.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The day after our chat in the garden, I sat in the office next to Kaltenegger’s, looking over the shoulder of postdoc Rebecca Payne as we both squinted at tight lines of text on a black background. “If I don’t go with a black color scheme, by the end of the day my eyes want to fall out of my head,” she said.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Payne and her colleagues feed their software basic facts about a planet, such as its radius and orbital distance, and the type of its star. They then make guesses about its possible atmospheric composition, and run their models to see how the planet’s atmosphere would appear through the eons. When they did this for SPECULOOS-2c, they saw virtual chemicals bathed in virtual starlight rise, fall and annihilate each other through simulated chemical reactions. The imaginary atmosphere eventually settled into an equilibrium, and the software popped out a table. Payne pulled one up on the screen. She flicked her mouse over row after row, showing guesses at the new planet’s temperature and chemistry at varying altitudes. Using that information, she and her colleagues could identify especially abundant compounds that JWST or another instrument might be able to see.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>From the \u003ca href=\” study\u003c/a> on, many of Kaltenegger’s papers follow the same pattern. Her trick is to gather up what we know of Earth’s own richness in her theoretical palm, then spin it like a basketball along different axes. What if we rewound it in time? What if an alien Earth had different geology? A different atmosphere? An all-ocean surface? What if it circled a red sun, or the blazing-hot cinder of a white dwarf?\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>In 2010, for example, \u003ca href=\” found\u003c/a> that the then-upcoming JWST should be able to infer the presence of gases from a volcanic eruption like the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, if a similar event occurred on an exoplanet. Or it could identify worlds ruled not by the cycling of carbon between the surface and atmosphere (as on Earth), but instead \u003ca href=\” sulfur\u003c/a> released by volcanoes and then broken down by starlight. Such climate cycles matter when you’re trying to identify biosignature gases, and also because they are part of the larger physics of planets. “Biosignatures are just sitting there as the cherry on top of the cake, but basically, there is a lot of cake to eat,” said Sasselov, who collaborated with Kaltenegger on these projects.\u003c/p>\n”,”fadein”:false,”__typename”:”ACFContent”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.6″:{“hide_this_component”:null,”acf_fc_layout”:”image_component”,”layout”:”regular”,”settings”:””,”attribution”:”\u003cp>Siddharth Hegde/MPIA\u003c/p>\n”,”caption”:”\u003cp>Kaltenegger’s catalog of biosignatures includes measurements of (from left) \u003cem>Bacillus\u003c/em> bacteria from Arizona’s Sonoran Desert; \u003cem>Arthrobacter\u003c/em> from the Atacama Desert in Chile; sap from a white poplar tree; and \u003cem>Ectothiorhodospira\u003c/em> from Big Soda Lake in Nevada.\u003c/p>\n”,”mobile_comp_caption”:””,”mobile_comp_attribution”:””,”sets”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.6.sets.0″,”typename”:”ImageSet”}],”__typename”:”ACFImageComponent”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.6.sets.0″:{“settings”:””,”image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.6.sets.0.image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.6.sets.0.mobile_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_side_margins”:false,”mobile_width_constraint”:””,”mobile_caption”:”\u003cp>Kaltenegger’s catalog of biosignatures includes measurements of (from top left) \u003cem>Bacillus\u003c/em> bacteria from Arizona’s Sonoran Desert; \u003cem>Arthrobacter\u003c/em> from the Atacama Desert in Chile; sap from a white poplar tree; and \u003cem>Ectothiorhodospira\u003c/em> from Big Soda Lake in Nevada.\u003c/p>\n”,”mobile_attribution”:”\u003cp>Siddharth Hegde/MPIA\u003c/p>\n”,”zoom_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.6.sets.0.zoom_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”zoom_caption”:””,”zoom_attribution”:””,”mobile_zoom_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.6.sets.0.mobile_zoom_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_zoom_caption”:””,”mobile_zoom_attribution”:””,”external_link”:””,”__typename”:”ImageSet”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.6.sets.0.image”:{“alt”:”Four photos of petri dishes containing yellow, orange, green and red substances, respectively; micrograph images of the substances are shown below.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” photos of petri dishes containing yellow, orange, green and red substances, respectively; micrograph images of the substances are shown below.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” of her atmospheric modeling, Kaltenegger has also spent the last decade scouring the Earth to assemble something of an astrobiologist’s cabinet of curiosities: a public database of strange spectra. If astronomers do manage to find an anomalous wiggle in an exoplanet spectrum, her database could provide the key to deciphering it.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>On a trip to Yellowstone National Park, for example, Kaltenegger marveled at multicolored microbial slicks on the surfaces of hot ponds. That led her and colleagues to cultivate 137 bacterial species in petri dishes, then \u003ca href=\” their spectra\u003c/a>. “There is probably not a color in the rainbow that you couldn’t find on Earth right now,” said \u003ca href=\” Rothschild\u003c/a>, a synthetic biologist at NASA’s Ames Research Center and a collaborator on the project. Inspired by a different colleague’s work drilling ice cores in the Arctic, Kaltenegger’s group isolated 80 cold-loving microbes similar to what might evolve on an ice planet, \u003ca href=\” a reference database\u003c/a> of these spectra this March.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Other worlds \u003ca href=\” be biofluorescent\u003c/a>. On Earth, biofluorescent organisms like corals protect themselves from ultraviolet light by absorbing it and re-emitting it as visible light. Given that planets in red dwarf star systems like TRAPPIST-1 are bathed in ultraviolet radiation, Kaltenegger argues that alien life there could evolve a similar process. (She has since been referred to as “that glowing alien lady.”) She also plans to obtain a series of spectra representing possible lava worlds; a geoscientist colleague and a newly arrived postdoc will soon start melting rocks.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>As her publication list has grown, Kaltenegger has experienced both the opportunities and the indignities of a rising-star woman scientist. Once, when she was filming an IMAX short in Hawai‘i on the search for life, producers dressed her in shorts to match their notion of a scientist, Laura Dern’s \u003cem>Jurassic Park \u003c/em>character; the decision then necessitated more makeup to cover all the mosquito bites.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Within a tight-knit field forced to share limited amounts of telescope time, she is an ebullient, warming presence, collaborators said. Her fingers weave through the air as she talks; sentences and stories tend to ramp up to big bursts of laughter. “She signs every text to me ‘hugs,’” said Rothschild. “I don’t have any other colleague who does that.”\u003c/p>\n\u003ch2>\u003cstrong>First Dots on the Map\u003c/strong>\u003c/h2>\n\u003cp>The first biosignatures will be tiny, ambiguous signals subjected to warring interpretations. In fact, some claims have already emerged.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The most pertinent case study rocked the astronomy world in the fall of 2020. A team including Seager \u003ca href=\” that they had spotted an unusual compound called phosphine in the upper atmosphere of Venus, a sweltering, acid-washed planet typically dismissed as sterile. On Earth, phosphine is commonly produced by microbes. While some abiotic processes can also make the compound under certain conditions, the team’s analysis suggested those processes weren’t likely to occur on Venus. In their view, that left tiny floating Venusian organisms as a plausible explanation. “Life on Venus?” the \u003cem>New York Times\u003c/em> headline \u003ca href=\” Maslov for Quanta Magazine\u003c/p>\n”,”caption”:”\u003cp>Kaltenegger in a park on the Cornell campus.\u003c/p>\n”,”mobile_comp_caption”:””,”mobile_comp_attribution”:””,”sets”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.8.sets.0″,”typename”:”ImageSet”}],”__typename”:”ACFImageComponent”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.8.sets.0″:{“settings”:””,”image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.8.sets.0.image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.8.sets.0.mobile_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_side_margins”:false,”mobile_width_constraint”:””,”mobile_caption”:””,”mobile_attribution”:””,”zoom_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.8.sets.0.zoom_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”zoom_caption”:””,”zoom_attribution”:””,”mobile_zoom_image”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.acf.modules.8.sets.0.mobile_zoom_image”,”typename”:”Image”},”mobile_zoom_caption”:””,”mobile_zoom_attribution”:””,”external_link”:””,”__typename”:”ImageSet”},”$Post:120326.acf.modules.8.sets.0.image”:{“alt”:”A close-up of Kaltenegger’s slightly smiling face.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” groups formed opposing camps. Some experts, including \u003ca href=\” Meadows\u003c/a>, an exoplanet atmosphere modeler at the University of Washington who uses a similar approach to Kaltenegger’s, reanalyzed the Venus data and concluded that the phosphine signal was just a mirage: The chemical isn’t even there. Others, including Lunine at Cornell, argued that even if phosphine is present, it could, in fact, come from geologic sources.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Kaltenegger considers these critiques valid. In her view, the phosphine saga highlights a feedback loop between science and science funding that might entangle future candidate biosignatures too. At the time of the phosphine announcement, NASA was in the final stages of choosing between four small solar system missions, two of which were Venus-bound. By the following summer NASA announced that those two had been chosen to fly. The phosphine study “was a great way to get missions approved to Venus,” Kaltenegger said, breaking into laughter. “That’s the sarcastic take.” (Jane Greaves, the lead author of the phosphine study, said her team did not consider the mission selection process and the timing of the paper was a coincidence.)\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>The next phase in the hunt for exoplanet biosignatures hinges on what JWST reveals about the TRAPPIST-1 planets. Seeing actual biosignatures in their skies might be unlikely. But the telescope could detect carbon dioxide and water vapor in the sorts of ratios that the Earth- and Venus-based models predict. This would confirm that modelers have a decent handle on which geochemical cycles matter across the galaxy, and which worlds might truly be habitable. Seeing something more unexpected would help researchers correct their models.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>A grimmer possibility is that these planets don’t have atmospheres at all. Red dwarf stars like TRAPPIST-1 are known to emit solar flares that could strip away everything but bare rock. (Kaltenegger doubts this, arguing that the planets’ gaseous emissions should keep replenishing their skies.)\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>By the second half of this decade, data from multiple planet transits will have piled up, enough for astronomers not just to look for chemistry on these worlds, but also to examine how given molecules wax and wane from season to season. By then complementary observations could add to the data. Several new, staggeringly large observatories are scheduled to open basin-size mirrors to the cosmos beginning in 2027 — including the biggest of all, the Extremely Large Telescope in Chile. These telescopes will be sensitive to different wavelengths of light than JWST is, probing an alternate set of spectral features, and they should also be able to study planets outside of transit.\u003c/p>\n\u003cdiv id=’component-6363db59e426b’ class=”related-list”>\u003cscript type=\”text/template\”>{\”type\”:\”LinkList\”,\”id\”:\”component-6363db59e426b\”,\”data\”:{\”title\”:\”Related:\”,\”class\”:\”related-list\”,\”links\”:[{\”type\”:\”internal\”,\”link\”:\”https:\\/\\/www.quantamagazine.org\\/two-weeks-in-the-webb-space-telescope-is-reshaping-astronomy-20220725\\/\”,\”title\”:\”Two Weeks In, the Webb Space Telescope Is Reshaping Astronomy\”},{\”type\”:\”internal\”,\”link\”:\”https:\\/\\/www.quantamagazine.org\\/scientists-debate-signatures-of-alien-life-20160202\\/\”,\”title\”:\”Scientists Debate Signatures of Alien Life\”},{\”type\”:\”internal\”,\”link\”:\”https:\\/\\/www.quantamagazine.org\\/galaxy-simulations-offer-a-new-solution-to-the-fermi-paradox-20190307\\/\”,\”title\”:\”Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox\”}]}}\u003c\/script>\u003c/div>\n\u003cp>All these instruments still fall short of what biosignature hunters really want, what they have always wanted: one of those giant space-based Terrestrial Planet Finders. Earlier this year, when the National Academy of Sciences released an influential, agenda-setting report called the decadal survey, which summarizes the astronomy community’s ideas of what NASA should prioritize, they effectively deferred a major push on the issue to the 2030s.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>“I’ve been thinking about this: What about if it’s not us?” Kaltenegger said. “What if it’s not our generation?” Based on the soonest a true next-generation planet-hunting telescope could fly, she figures that the most likely candidate to lead such a mission is probably in grad school now.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Then again, her cohort of early exoplanet scientists have always been dreamers, she said. And science has always been an intergenerational activity.\u003c/p>\n\u003cp>Siting in her office that was Sagan’s, she sketched out a specific scene. A far-future voyager walks up the bridge of a departing spacecraft like the \u003cem>Enterprise\u003c/em>, ready to travel to a new world. Kaltenegger is sure she won’t be on the ship herself, but, she said, “in my mind’s eye, I see them with this old star chart.” The antique map would mark the locations of candidate living planets. It would probably be outdated, brought along only for sentimental reasons. “But I want to be the person who put the first dots on this map.”\u003c/p>\n”,”fadein”:false,”__typename”:”ACFContent”},”$Post:120326.acf.series”:{“name”:null,”link”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”$Post:120326.next.data.0″:{“title”:”Ocean Bacteria Reveal an Unexpected Multicellular Form”,”link”:”https://www.quantamagazine.org/ocean-bacteria-reveal-an-unexpected-multicellular-form-20221102/”,”categories”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.next.data.0.categories.0″,”typename”:”Term”},{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.next.data.0.categories.1″,”typename”:”Term”}],”featured_media_image”:null,”acf”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.next.data.0.acf”,”typename”:”ACFFields”},”__typename”:”Post”},”$Post:120326.next.data.0.categories.0″:{“slug”:”abstractions”,”__typename”:”Term”},”$Post:120326.next.data.0.categories.1″:{“slug”:”biology”,”__typename”:”Term”},”$Post:120326.next.data.0.acf”:{“template”:”article”,”featured_block_title”:””,”featured_image_gif”:false,”featured_image_default”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_default”,”typename”:”Image”},”featured_image_full_width”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_full_width”,”typename”:”Image”},”__typename”:”ACFFields”},”$Post:120326.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_default”:{“alt”:””,”caption”:””,”url”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_520x292.webp”,”width”:520,”height”:292,”sizes”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_default.sizes”,”typename”:”ImageSizes”},”__typename”:”Image”},”$Post:120326.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_default.sizes”:{“thumbnail”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_520x292.webp”,”square_small”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_520x292-160×160.webp”,”square_large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_520x292.webp”,”medium”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_520x292.webp”,”medium_large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_520x292.webp”,”large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_520x292.webp”,”__typename”:”ImageSizes”},”$Post:120326.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_full_width”:{“alt”:”An artificially colored cross section through one of the Vibrio orbs.”,”caption”:””,”url”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_2880x1620_Lede-scaled.webp”,”width”:2560,”height”:1440,”sizes”:{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_full_width.sizes”,”typename”:”ImageSizes”},”__typename”:”Image”},”$Post:120326.next.data.0.acf.featured_image_full_width.sizes”:{“thumbnail”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_2880x1620_Lede-520×293.webp”,”square_small”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_2880x1620_Lede-160×160.webp”,”square_large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_2880x1620_Lede-520×520.webp”,”medium”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_2880x1620_Lede-1720×968.webp”,”medium_large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_2880x1620_Lede-768×432.webp”,”large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/11/Bacterial-Aggregates_2880x1620_Lede-scaled.webp”,”__typename”:”ImageSizes”},”$Post:120326.next”:{“data”:[{“type”:”id”,”generated”:true,”id”:”$Post:120326.next.data.0″,”typename”:”Post”}],”__typename”:”PostPageArchive”}}\n”,”settings”:{“socialLinks”:[{“type”:”facebook”,”label”:”Facebook”,”url”:”https://www.facebook.com/QuantaNews”,”__typename”:”SocialMediaLink”},{“type”:”twitter”,”label”:”Twitter”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/QuantaMagazine”,”__typename”:”SocialMediaLink”},{“type”:”youtube”,”label”:”YouTube”,”url”:”https://www.youtube.com/c/QuantaScienceChannel”,”__typename”:”SocialMediaLink”},{“type”:”instagram”,”label”:”Instagram”,”url”:”https://instagram.com/quantamag”,”__typename”:”SocialMediaLink”},{“type”:”rss”,”label”:”RSS”,”url”:”https://api.quantamagazine.org/feed/”,”__typename”:”SocialMediaLink”}],”newsletterAction”:”https://quantamagazine.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=0d6ddf7dc1a0b7297c8e06618&id=f0cb61321c”,”newsletterUrl”:”http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=0d6ddf7dc1a0b7297c8e06618&id=f0cb61321c”,”sfNotice”:”An editorially independent publication supported by the Simons Foundation.”,”commentsHeader”:”

Quanta Magazine moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English. 

\n”,”channels”:[{“title”:”The Joy of Why”,”slug”:”the-joy-of-why”,”description”:”The mathematician and author Steven Strogatz interviews leading researchers about the great scientific and mathematical questions of our time.”,”featured_image”:{“alt”:””,”caption”:””,”url”:” Science Podcast”,”slug”:”quanta-podcast”,”description”:”Susan Valot narrates in-depth news episodes based on Quanta Magazine‘s articles about mathematics, physics, biology and computer science. “,”featured_image”:{“alt”:”Micrograph of a neuron showing aggregations of tau protein.”,”caption”:””,”url”:” Joy of x”,”slug”:”the-joy-of-x”,”description”:”The acclaimed mathematician and author Steven Strogatz interviews some of the world’s leading scientists about their lives and work.”,”featured_image”:{“alt”:””,”caption”:””,”url”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JoX_Spheres_1920x1080-1.jpg”,”width”:1920,”height”:1080,”sizes”:{“thumbnail”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JoX_Spheres_1920x1080-1-520×293.jpg”,”square_small”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JoX_Spheres_1920x1080-1-160×160.jpg”,”square_large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JoX_Spheres_1920x1080-1-520×520.jpg”,”medium”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JoX_Spheres_1920x1080-1-1720×968.jpg”,”medium_large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JoX_Spheres_1920x1080-1-768×432.jpg”,”large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JoX_Spheres_1920x1080-1.jpg”,”__typename”:”ImageSizes”},”__typename”:”Image”},”square_image”:{“alt”:””,”caption”:””,”url”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JofX_podcast_logo-NEW-600.jpg”,”width”:600,”height”:600,”sizes”:{“thumbnail”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JofX_podcast_logo-NEW-600-520×520.jpg”,”square_small”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JofX_podcast_logo-NEW-600-160×160.jpg”,”square_large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JofX_podcast_logo-NEW-600-520×520.jpg”,”medium”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JofX_podcast_logo-NEW-600.jpg”,”medium_large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JofX_podcast_logo-NEW-600.jpg”,”large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2022/03/JofX_podcast_logo-NEW-600.jpg”,”__typename”:”ImageSizes”},”__typename”:”Image”},”subscribe_itunes_link”:”https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-joy-of-x/id1495067186″,”subscribe_spotify_link”:”https://open.spotify.com/show/5HcCtKPH5gnOjRiMtTdC07?si=lFzCzat9QfuPU3hWuYibxQ”,”subscribe_android_link”:”https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hcGkucXVhbnRhbWFnYXppbmUub3JnL2ZlZWQvdGhlLWpveS1vZi14Lw”,”subscribe_stitcher_link”:”https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-joy-of-x”,”__typename”:”Channel”}],”editors”:[{“name”:”Bill Andrews – Senior CS Editor”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”Ben Brubaker – Staff CS Writer”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”Matt Carlstrom – Senior Engagement Editor”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”Jordana Cepelewicz – Senior Math Writer”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”Konstantin Kakaes – Senior Math Editor”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”Thomas Lin – Editor in Chief”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”Michael Moyer – Deputy Editor, Physics, Math, CS”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”John Rennie – Deputy Editor, Biology, Podcasts”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”Yasemin Saplakoglu – Staff Biology Writer”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”Samuel Velasco – Art Director”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”Natalie Wolchover – Senior Physics Editor”,”__typename”:”Editor”},{“name”:”Charlie Wood – Staff Physics Writer”,”__typename”:”Editor”}],”popularSearches”:[{“term”:”math”,”label”:”Mathematics”,”__typename”:”PopularSearch”},{“term”:”physics”,”label”:”Physics”,”__typename”:”PopularSearch”},{“term”:”black holes”,”label”:”Black Holes”,”__typename”:”PopularSearch”},{“term”:”evolution”,”label”:”Evolution”,”__typename”:”PopularSearch”}],”searchTopics”:[{“type”:”Tag”,”label”:”Podcasts”,”tag”:{“name”:”Quanta Podcast”,”slug”:”quanta-podcast”,”term_id”:”552″,”__typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”Tag”,”label”:”Columns”,”tag”:{“name”:”Quantized Columns”,”slug”:”quantized”,”term_id”:”551″,”__typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”Series”,”label”:”Series”,”tag”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”Category”,”label”:”Interviews”,”tag”:{“name”:”Q&A”,”slug”:”qa”,”term_id”:”567″,”__typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“name”:”Q&A”,”slug”:”qa”,”term_id”:”176″,”__typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”Category”,”label”:”Multimedia”,”tag”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“name”:”Multimedia”,”slug”:”multimedia”,”term_id”:”43″,”__typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”Category”,”label”:”Puzzles”,”tag”:{“name”:”puzzles”,”slug”:”puzzles”,”term_id”:”542″,”__typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“name”:”Puzzles”,”slug”:”puzzles”,”term_id”:”546″,”__typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”Category”,”label”:”Blog Posts”,”tag”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“name”:”Abstractions blog”,”slug”:”abstractions”,”term_id”:”619″,”__typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”news”,”label”:”News Articles”,”tag”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”},{“type”:”videos”,”label”:”Videos”,”tag”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”category”:{“name”:null,”slug”:null,”term_id”:null,”__typename”:”Term”},”__typename”:”SearchTopic”}],”searchSections”:[{“name”:”Mathematics”,”slug”:”mathematics”,”term_id”:”188″,”__typename”:”Term”},{“name”:”Physics”,”slug”:”physics”,”term_id”:”189″,”__typename”:”Term”},{“name”:”Biology”,”slug”:”biology”,”term_id”:”191″,”__typename”:”Term”},{“name”:”Computer Science”,”slug”:”computer-science”,”term_id”:”190″,”__typename”:”Term”}],”searchAuthors”:[{“id”:”38171″,”name”:”Adam Becker”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”28087″,”name”:”Adam Mann”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”29794″,”name”:”Alex Kontorovich”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”39302″,”name”:”Alexander Hellemans”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”56″,”name”:”Alla Katsnelson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”47249″,”name”:”Allison Parshall”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”29458″,”name”:”Allison Whitten”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”73″,”name”:”Amanda Gefter”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”39164″,”name”:”Ana Kova”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”59″,”name”:”Andreas von Bubnoff”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”8728″,”name”:”Anil Ananthaswamy”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”11648″,”name”:”Ann Finkbeiner”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”42689″,”name”:”Annie Melchor”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”95″,”name”:”Ariel Bleicher”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”15493″,”name”:”Ashley Smart”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”450″,”name”:”Ashley Yeager”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”36490″,”name”:”Ben Brubaker”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”16315″,”name”:”Bill Andrews”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”2752″,”name”:”Bob Henderson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”15492″,”name”:”Brendan Z. Foster”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”68″,”name”:”Brooke Borel”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”62″,”name”:”Carl Zimmer”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”13684″,”name”:”Caroline Lee”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”13691″,”name”:”Caroline Lee”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”50″,”name”:”Carrie Arnold”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”15142″,”name”:”Chanda Prescod-Weinstein”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”8084″,”name”:”Charlie Wood”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”742″,”name”:”Christie Wilcox”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”11543″,”name”:”Claudia Dreifus”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”57″,”name”:”Courtney Humphries”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”7262″,”name”:”Dalmeet Singh Chawla”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”70″,”name”:”Dan Falk”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”19918″,”name”:”Dana Najjar”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”13695″,”name”:”Daniel Garisto”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”32676″,”name”:”Daniel S. Freed”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”13724″,”name”:”David H. Freedman”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”26310″,”name”:”David S. Richeson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”30207″,”name”:”David Tse”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”19266″,”name”:”Devin Powell”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”13251″,”name”:”Diana Kwon”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”17000″,”name”:”Elena Renken”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”17149″,”name”:”Elizabeth Landau”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”5279″,”name”:”Elizabeth Preston”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”58″,”name”:”Elizabeth Svoboda”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”32612″,”name”:”Ellen Horne”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”27534″,”name”:”Emily Buder”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”25173″,”name”:”Emily Levesque”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”64″,”name”:”Emily Singer”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”47″,”name”:”Erica Klarreich”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”14784″,”name”:”Erika K. Carlson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”98″,”name”:”Esther Landhuis”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”5830″,”name”:”Eva Silverstein”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”6793″,”name”:”Evelyn Lamb”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”75″,”name”:”Ferris Jabr”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”52″,”name”:”Frank Wilczek”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”69″,”name”:”Gabriel Popkin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”77″,”name”:”George Musser”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”19092″,”name”:”Grant Sanderson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”20557″,”name”:”Howard Lee”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”66″,”name”:”Ingrid Daubechies”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”46418″,”name”:”Ingrid Wickelgren”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”85″,”name”:”Ivan Amato”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”37141″,”name”:”Jake Buehler”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”44758″,”name”:”James Dinneen”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”12170″,”name”:”Janna Levin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”32″,”name”:”Jeanette Kazmierczak”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”51″,”name”:”Jennifer Ouellette”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”44787″,”name”:”Joanna Thompson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”72″,”name”:”John Pavlus”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”16475″,”name”:”John Preskill”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”91″,”name”:”John Rennie”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”10351″,”name”:”Jonathan Lambert”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”31716″,”name”:”Jonathan O’Callaghan”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”1241″,”name”:”Jordana Cepelewicz”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”8463″,”name”:”Joshua Roebke”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”49″,”name”:”Joshua Sokol”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”16815″,”name”:”jye”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”67″,”name”:”K.C. Cole”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”37462″,”name”:”Karmela Padavic-Callaghan”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”87″,”name”:”Kat McGowan”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”36139″,”name”:”Katarina Zimmer”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”20556″,”name”:”Katherine Harmon Courage”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”90″,”name”:”Katia Moskvitch”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”39551″,”name”:”Katie McCormick”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”27374″,”name”:”Kelsey Houston-Edwards”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”40″,”name”:”Kevin Hartnett”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”45758″,”name”:”Kristina Armitage”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”38413″,”name”:”Lakshmi Chandrasekaran”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”12570″,”name”:”Laura Poppick”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”38699″,”name”:”Leila Sloman”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”23451″,”name”:”Liam Drew”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”79″,”name”:”Liz Kruesi”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”38″,”name”:”Lucy Reading-Ikkanda”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”60″,”name”:”Maggie McKee”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”2333″,”name”:”Mallory Locklear”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”3569″,”name”:”Marcus Woo”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”414″,”name”:”Mark Kim-Mulgrew”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”20495″,”name”:”Matt Carlstrom”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”17147″,”name”:”Matthew Hutson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”30953″,”name”:”Max G. Levy”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”32437″,”name”:”Max Kozlov”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”38705″,”name”:”mcho”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”40613″,”name”:”Melanie Mitchell”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”7186″,”name”:”Melinda Wenner Moyer”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”14093″,”name”:”Michael Harris”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”34″,”name”:”Michael Kranz”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”23″,”name”:”Michael Moyer”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”74″,”name”:”Michael Nielsen”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”19093″,”name”:”Michele Bannister”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”1472″,”name”:”Moira Chas”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”6476″,”name”:”Monique Brouillette”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”42264″,”name”:”Mordechai Rorvig”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”10″,”name”:”Natalie Wolchover”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”37605″,”name”:”Nick Thieme”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”43298″,”name”:”Nicole Yunger Halpern”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”37428″,”name”:”Nima Arkani-Hamed”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”19962″,”name”:”Nola Taylor Redd”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”24″,”name”:”Olena Shmahalo”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”1816″,”name”:”Patrick Honner”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”84″,”name”:”Peter Byrne”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”55″,”name”:”Philip Ball”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”31″,”name”:”Pradeep Mutalik”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”24011″,”name”:”Puja Changoiwala”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”100″,”name”:”Quanta Magazine”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”2784″,”name”:”R. Douglas Fields”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”26114″,”name”:”Rachel Crowell”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”9412″,”name”:”Raleigh McElvery”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”820″,”name”:”Ramin Skibba”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”1666″,”name”:”Rebecca Boyle”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”20950″,”name”:”Richard Masland”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”48″,”name”:”Robbert Dijkgraaf”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”80″,”name”:”Roberta Kwok”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”15681″,”name”:”Robin George Andrews”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”24577″,”name”:”Rodrigo Pérez Ortega”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”78″,”name”:”Sabine Hossenfelder”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”23845″,”name”:”Samuel Velasco”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”83″,”name”:”Sarah Lewin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”35441″,”name”:”Scott Aaronson”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”76″,”name”:”Sean B. Carroll”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”15680″,”name”:”Sean Carroll”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”7239″,”name”:”Shannon Hall”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”44197″,”name”:”Sheon Han”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”65″,”name”:”Siobhan Roberts”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”5944″,”name”:”Sophia Chen”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”61″,”name”:”Steph Yin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”63″,”name”:”Stephanie Bucklin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”26311″,”name”:”Stephanie DeMarco”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”71″,”name”:”Stephen Ornes”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”17148″,”name”:”Steve Nadis”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”13356″,”name”:”Steven Strogatz”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”17150″,”name”:”Susan D’Agostino”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”39768″,”name”:”Tamar Lichter Blanks”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”2960″,”name”:”Tara C. Smith”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”14785″,”name”:”Thomas Lewton”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”3″,”name”:”Thomas Lin”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”54″,”name”:”Tim Vernimmen”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”88″,”name”:”Tom Siegfried”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”12964″,”name”:”Vanessa Schipani”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”53″,”name”:”Veronique Greenwood”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”86″,”name”:”Virginia Hughes”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”3244″,”name”:”Viviane Callier”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”89″,”name”:”Wynne Parry”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”15913″,”name”:”XiaoZhi Lim”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”42263″,”name”:”Yasemin Saplakoglu”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”},{“id”:”45757″,”name”:”Zack Savitsky”,”__typename”:”AuthorList”}],”adBehavior”:”everywhere”,”adUrl”:” and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire – The Biggest Ideas in Science from Quanta – Available now!”,”adImageHome”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2019/01/Ad_Default_250x342_2x_Science.jpg”,”adImageArticle”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2019/01/Ad_Article_320x600_Science.jpg”,”adImageTablet”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2019/01/Ad_Tablet_890x250_2x_Science.jpg”,”adImageMobile”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2019/01/Ad_Mobile_250x200_2x_Science.jpg”,”trackingScripts”:”\r\n<\!-- Google Tag Manager -->\r\n\r\n<\!-- End Google Tag Manager -->\r\n<\!-- Google Tag Manager (noscript) -->\r\n\r\n<\!-- End Google Tag Manager (noscript) -->\r\n\r\n”},”theme”:{“page”:{“accent”:”#ff8600″,”text”:”#1a1a1a”,”background”:”white”},”header”:{“type”:”default”,”gradient”:{“color”:”white”},”solid”:{“primary”:”#1a1a1a”,”secondary”:”#999999″,”hover”:”#ff8600″},”transparent”:{“primary”:”white”,”secondary”:”white”,”hover”:”#ff8600″}}},”redirect”:null,”fallbackImage”:{“alt”:””,”caption”:””,”url”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default.gif”,”width”:1200,”height”:600,”sizes”:{“thumbnail”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default-520×260.gif”,”square_small”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default-160×160.gif”,”square_large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default-520×520.gif”,”medium”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default.gif”,”medium_large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default-768×384.gif”,”large”:”https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/04/default.gif”,”__typename”:”ImageSizes”},”__typename”:”Image”}},”modals”:{“loginModal”:false,”signUpModal”:false,”forgotPasswordModal”:false,”resetPasswordModal”:false,”lightboxModal”:false,”callback”:null,”props”:null},”podcast”:{“id”:null,”playing”:false,”duration”:0,”currentTime”:0},”user”:{“loggedIn”:false,”savedArticleIDs”:[],”userEmail”:””,”editor”:false},”comments”:{“open”:false},”cookies”:{“acceptedCookie”:false}},
env: {
APP_URL: ‘
NODE_ENV: ‘production’,
WP_URL: ‘
HAS_GOOGLE_ID: true,
HAS_FACEBOOK_ID: true,
},
}

Continue Reading

Recent News

Boiler Boiler
Guide10 hours ago

When Is the Best Time to Replace a Boiler?

A boiler is a workhorse that works around the clock. It provides heat and warm water whenever needed. While horses...

Grammar Grammar
Tech17 hours ago

Grammar Checkers Unleashed: Enhancing Writing Precision and Efficiency

In the present computerized age, the ascent of simulated intelligence innovation has presented new difficulties in regards to the genuineness...

Crypto Staking Crypto Staking
Crypto5 days ago

Is it Possible To Make Money On Crypto Staking in 2024?

In the modern world, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies are becoming increasingly popular, attracting the attention of investors and users from...

Lake Como Lake Como
Wedding5 days ago

How to Choose the Right Location for a Marriage Proposal in Italy and Lake Como

Proposing marriage is a unique and memorable moment in a couple’s life. Choosing the right location is crucial to creating...

Personal Injury Lawyer Personal Injury Lawyer
Law1 week ago

Finding the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Lumberton, NC

Personal injury law is designed to protect individuals who have been harmed due to the negligence or wrongful actions of...

WhatsApp Business WhatsApp Business
Business1 week ago

Running WhatsApp Business with Pro+VPS for Android Emulator

WhatsApp Business is one of the most powerful tool for Business to manage customers communication. Running it can enhance the...

Civil Partnership Visa Civil Partnership Visa
Finance1 week ago

Civil Partnership Visa vs Spouse Visa: Which One is Right for You

Choosing the right visa to join your partner in the UK can be confusing. Two common options are the Civil...

Crypto Crypto
Crypto2 weeks ago

Staked Crypto – A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Ethereum staking has become an increasingly popular way for cryptocurrency holders to earn passive income through staking rewards. In this...

Ethereum Staking Ethereum Staking
Crypto2 weeks ago

Maximizing Ethereum Staking Rewards: Tips and Tricks

Are you looking to maximize the potential of your Ethereum holdings? Stake Ethereum using OkayCoin and take advantage of the...

Wedding Wedding
Wedding2 weeks ago

4 Wedding Services You Can Quickly Check Off Your To-Do List

Organizing a wedding might like arranging a large-scale symphony, in which each element must work together to produce a beautiful...