The Biggest Ever Hunt For Alien Life

The Biggest Ever Hunt For Alien Life - BBC Focus Magazine #291 - February 2016
On sale date:
3rd February 2016

What if we find alien life?

A major new search for extraterrestrial life is getting underway… but what are we going to do if we actually succeed? And indeed, is it even a good idea to be looking at all?

The bite that cures

Where’s the best place to look for new medicines? Surprisingly, it turns out the answer might be ‘inside the fangs of a venomous snake’.

How to make your own luck

Chance plays less of a role in all our lives than you might think. Discover how to beat the odds at the casino, and how to tell a genuine coincidence from a statistical inevitability.

Can animals predict natural disasters?

Animals have an uncanny ability to get out of the way before an earthquake or volcanic eruption. So could tracking their movements provide us with a natural early warning system?

Virtual reality gets real

A new generation of hardware is about to take VR out of the realm of niche gaming. Find out how all our lives are going to be affected by this most disruptive of technologies.

Are cookies addictive?

Can the obesity epidemic be explained in terms of addiction, or are ‘chocoholics’ simply making excuses? We look at the science.

Understand the life cycle of a star

In about five billion years or so, the Sun will swell into a red giant and destroy the Earth. But why will it do this – and how do we know?


  • Comedian and presenter Robin Ince joins Helen Czerski and Robert Matthews as one of our columnists
  • An incredible image of the Asaro mud men
  • Out there - our monthly guide to the best science books, TV shows and days out


  • Why do cats hate water?
  • Does the Universe have an edge
  • Can bad dreams cause heart attacks?