Newswise — On Wednesday, May 21, a panel of leading experts in astrophysics and astronomy will describe the scientific and technological roadmap for discovering habitable worlds among the stars. The session, entitled "The Search for Life in the Universe," is part of the 30th Space Symposium to be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 19 to 22.

The question of whether we are alone in the universe is as old as human thought. We are the first generation with the technological and scientific prowess to at last answer this timeless mystery. Most scientists today agree that finding life in space is no longer a question of if, but rather when. The quest transcends addressing scientific curiosity, but rather confronts the question of our very existence.

Astronomical observatories on the ground and in space are trailblazing the way to cataloging and characterizing potentially habitable worlds in our galaxy. The panel of experts will describe how a new generation of large space telescopes enabled by advanced technologies will be needed to ultimately provide scientific evidence for the presence of life elsewhere in space. Panel participants:

Dave Gallagher, Director for Astronomy and Physics, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

John M. Grunsfeld, Ph.D., Associate Administrator, NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, DC

John C. Mather, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate, Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Matt Mountain, Ph.D., Director, Telescope Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland Sara Seager, Ph.D., MacArthur Fellow, Professor of Planetary Science and Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Blake Bullock, Panel Moderator, Director for Civil Air and Space, Business and Advanced Systems Development, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, California

The session will take place 3:45 p.m. on Wed., May 21, at the International Center (Room CD) in the Broadmoor Hotel at the 30th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Space Symposium is sponsored by The Space Foundation, an international nonprofit leader in space awareness activities and educational programs. The annual symposium brings together space leaders from around the world to discuss, address, and envision the future of space.

News media can register for the event at the following URL:

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The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) in Washington, DC. STScI conducts science operations for the Hubble Space Telescope and is the science and mission operations center for the James Webb Space Telescope.