148. Hunting Habitable Planets and an MIT Insiders’ Take on Broken Education System and Tech Addiction | Sara Seager

sara seager astronomer

Sara Seager (@profsaraseager) is an astronomer, planetary scientist and professor at the MIT best known for her work on extrasolar planets and their atmospheres.

Seager was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2013 citing her theoretical work on detecting chemical signatures on exoplanet atmospheres and developing low-cost space observatories to observe planetary transits and developed a parallel version of the Drake equation to estimate the number of habitable planets in galaxy to focus on the presence of any alien life detectable from Earth.

In 2012, Sara was named to Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential in Space. She is the author of two textbooks on these topics and has been recognized for her research by Popular Science, Discover Magazine, Nature and TIME Magazine. She was also on the board of asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources before the company folded.

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In today’s episode we discuss:

  • Why private space entreprise is our path to the stars
  • What is the state of the art in our search for intelligent life
  • How to increase public funding and excitement for space and science
  • Why asteroid mining is so hard and what’s holding us back
  • Ways to fix our broken education system
  • Sara’s adaptation of the Drake equation in the search for alien life
  • The challenges of finding ET
  • Why Mars wouldn’t be such a nice place to live but matters anyways
  • How to combat smartphone and social media addiction
  • What nano and cube sats mean for future of astronomy
  • Why even MIT isn’t immune from education’s woes
  • The scary truth about privacy and why Sara’s worried
  • What was that deal with that UFO sighting


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