Search for life among the stars – Interview

If any aliens in our galaxy have been studying Earth from afar, they might be interested in a particular computer at Cornell University. Here, researchers have compiled a catalog detailing how 137 homegrown microorganisms reflect a broad spectrum of light. Although this digital library is intended to provide future terrestrial researchers with tools they might need to determine if life exists on any of the billions of worlds in our galaxy, those studying life on Earth might also find it a useful key.

Lisa Kaltenegger, CSI director and astronomer at Cornell and one of the researchers responsible for the database, has spent most of her career pursuing worlds beyond our solar system and studying how we might learn whether any of them host life.