Seminar Series

Signs of Life? Reflections on planetary habitability and the responsibilities of young galactic civilisations


Dr Matthew Hughes


Lecturer in Geohazards, Risk and Resilience, Departments of Civil & Natural Resources Engineering and Geological Sciences Chair, UC Space & Astrobiology Initiative

Time & Place

Fri, 13 May 2016 11:00:00 NZST in Room 701, Level 7, Rutherford Building

All are welcome


With the rapidly expanding number of extra-solar planets being discovered, better estimates of potential habitable worlds are able to be made. However there are still vast gaps in our understanding of the origins of life and the likelihood of the evolution of advanced sentience. Matthew will use the Drake Equation, which articulates the series of circumstances that must occur for civilisations such as ours to arise and persist, to discuss the impacts of humans on Earth’s biogeochemical systems and climate in the modern geological era dubbed the Anthropocene, and what this might mean for interplanetary and interstellar colonisation.

Matthew will also present an overview of the recently-established University of Canterbury Space and Astrobiology Initiative, an interdisciplinary enterprise combining the sciences, humanities and engineering to stimulate research on, and teaching and awareness of, these profound and inspiring issues.