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Professor Steve Pointing


Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

Steve Pointing is Professor of Applied Ecology at Auckland University of Technology and Director of the university’s Institute for Applied Ecology. In his research Steve pioneered the use of molecular techniques to understand how microbes cling to life in extreme environments such as the icy deserts of Antarctica. The realisation that these harsh habitats were similar to those on the surface of other planets led to a fascination with the emerging field of astrobiology, which aims to understand how life might exist beyond Earth. He has collaborated with the US space agency NASA on astrobiology-focused research projects for over a decade.

Astrobiology: The Search for Life on Other Planets.


This will be a century of unparalleled discovery in both space and life science. We are poised to answer what is arguably the biggest question humanity can ask: are we alone?

In his Sci21 webcast, Steve describes how research into life in Earth’s extreme habitats has informed our view of how widespread the conditions for life may be in the Universe. He offers a science-based prediction of our chances of encountering alien life in the 21st century, factoring in the recent exponential increase in the discovery of Earth-like planets in our galaxy.
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Watch Professor Steve Pointing’s Sci21 webcast, Astrobiology: The Search for Life on Other Planets.