Astrophysicist Jacco van Loon on the hunt for alien life, why logic can solve the climate crisis and what happens when the sun becomes a red giant
For years, astrophysicists have been saying that alien life must exist, but finding out where and in what form has proved elusive. We may be edging closer: a team from the University of Cambridge has discovered a new class of habitable planets they claim will lead to evidence of life in the next three years. Is ET out there? Or is this search, like that for the holy grail, more about us than them? I asked Jacco van Loon, astrophysicist and director of Keele Observatory in Staffordshire, for his opinion.
Hi Jacco! Explain your job as though I were five years old.
I study stars, and the space between them. Space is relatively empty, but not completely.