Search for Planets and Early Life in Other Solar Systems an Introduction
The subject discussed by most authors in this section is the potential of our technology to detect planets around other stars. The subject is of fundamental importance to the question of life, because we assume that life may originate and evolve only on planets. If planets were found near other stars, then with the development of proper instruments we could go one step further and search for a spectroscopic evidence of early life on these planets as discussed by Dr. Owen. Similar spectroscopic studies are currently carried out for the other bodies of our solar system. As was pointed out by Dr. Soffen in Montreal, in spite of the generally negative results of the Viking experiments on Mars, and the rather pessimistic prospects for other planets and satellites, the possibility that life might exist in our solar system, outside the earth, lias not yet been completely eliminated. Continued exploration of our solar system in the coming decades could yield useful insights into planetary evolution, the conditions necessary for the origin of life, and possibly on the question of interstellar travel and galactic colonization as discussed by Dr. Papagiannis. Space exploration, therefore, will remain an important companion to astronomical searches for signs of life in the Cosmos.