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Searching For Something Other Than Life – Take Charge Chicago

Searching For Something Other Than Life

other than life

In recent years, many other than life have been searching for life beyond Earth. Whether or not they find it, their work can give meaning to our lives. It can make us feel like our lives have a purpose and that we belong here on this planet. But what does that mean, exactly? When we ask people what gives their lives meaning, they tend to cite three things: coherence (how our experiences fit together), significance, and the sense of a higher purpose.

Most of us can relate to the first part of this equation: Coherence is a sense that our lives have a narrative, and we can figure out how our experiences fit into that story. Significance is a feeling that our lives matter, and we believe that the world would be a little bit–or maybe a lot–poorer without us. Purpose is a feeling that our actions have an impact, and that we want to do the right thing.

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The last piece of this equation is a sense that our lives have meaning, and this comes from a deeper place in the brain. The brain is not just a thinking machine, but a feeling machine, and this is what makes life meaningful. To find meaning, the brain needs to sift through lots of different data, comparing it against a set of pre-determined criteria. And that’s what researchers are doing at NASA’s Laboratory for Agnostic Biosignatures (LAB). The goal is to find a “golden rule” of what it takes for something to be alive, which could help astronomers search for biosignatures in distant worlds.

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