Speaker: Pascal Lee

Pascal Lee: Senior Planetary Scientist, SETI; Chairman, Mars Institute; Director, NASA HMP

N ~ 1: Alone In The Milky Way

Free and open to the public.

Planetary scientist Dr. Pascal Lee will review our present knowledge about each term of the Drake Equation used to estimate the number (N) of advanced civilizations present in our Milky Way galaxy, which is at the heart of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He will examine star and planet formation, geological and biological evolution, the emergence of intelligence and technology, and possible fates of advanced civilizations. Even though planets are plentiful in the Milky Way and life as a natural product of chemical and biological evolution is likely common, he reaches the surprising conclusion that the number of advanced civilizations in our Galaxy is likely a small number, most likely N~1. Says Dr. Lee: “We might be it in the vastness of our galaxy, or there might be just one other…”. Implications of N~1 are profound and will be discussed.

Dr Pascal Lee is a planetary scientist with two non-profit research organizations, the Mars Institute and the SETI Institute. He is also director of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. His research focuses on Mars (in particular the history of water on Mars), asteroids, and the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. He also works on advancing the human exploration of Mars. The HMP is a field research project on Devon Island in the Canadian High Arctic, that’s helping plan future human missions to Mars. Most summers you will find him on Devon Island! Dr. Lee is a recipient of the United States Antarctic Service Medal and the Space Frontier Foundation‘s Vision to Reality Award. His first book, Mission: Mars, won the 2015 Prize for Excellence in Children’s Science Books from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Pascal Lee enjoys flying and painting (but not at the same time). He is an FAA-certified helicopter commercial pilot and flight instructor, and an artist member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA). He lives in Santa Clara, CA, where he is walked daily by his Australian Cattle Dog, King Kong, son of Ping Pong.