Teacher’s Questions for “Life beyond Earth”


Before Reading:

  1. What does life require to survive? Do you think those conditions exist anywhere beyond Earth?
  2. Do you think life exists on other planets? Explain why or why not.

During Reading:

  1. What question has puzzled humans for centuries?
  2. How has our understanding of the universe changed since ancient times?
  3. Describe what scientists designed the Allen Telescope Array to do.
  4. What is an exoplanet? When was the first exoplanet discovered?
  5. Why would an exoplanet (or its moon) need to be at the right temperature for life to live there?
  6. What do extremophiles tell us about life?
  7. Describe where you would look for life on Europa. Why there?
  8. Explain what language you would use to send a message to an intelligent alien civilization.

After Reading:

  1. If aliens exist, would you expect them to be intelligent creatures or simple microbes? Explain your choice.
  2. “I can’t imagine anything more profound than learning that it’s possible to grow old as a civilization,” says Jill Tarter. What does she mean by that? (Hint: Remember, any message we receive today from an alien civilization would have been sent thousands or even millions of years ago.)


  1. Would the discovery of alien life change how you think about your place in the universe? Why or why not?