Search results for: the-search-for-life-on-other-planets

The Search for Life on Other Planets

Author : Bruce Jakosky
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Does life exist on other planets? This 1998 book presents the scientific basis for thinking there may be life elsewhere in the Universe. It is the first to cover the entire breadth of recent exciting discoveries, including the discovery of planets around other stars and the possibility of fossil life in meteorites from Mars. Suitable for the general reader, this authoritative book avoids technical jargon and is well illustrated throughout. It covers all the major topics, including the origin and early history of life on Earth, the environmental conditions necessary for life to exist, the possibility that life might exist elsewhere in our Solar System, the occurrence of planets around other stars and their habitability, and the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life. For all those interested in understanding the scientific evidence for and likelihood of extraterrestrial life, this is the most comprehensive and readable book to date.

How to Find a Habitable Planet

Author : James Kasting
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The amazing science behind the search for Earth-like planets Ever since Carl Sagan first predicted that extraterrestrial civilizations must number in the millions, the search for life on other planets has gripped our imagination. Is Earth so rare that advanced life forms like us—or even the simplest biological organisms—are unique to the universe? How to Find a Habitable Planet describes how scientists are testing Sagan's prediction, and demonstrates why Earth may not be so rare after all. James Kasting has worked closely with NASA in its mission to detect habitable worlds outside our solar system, and in this book he introduces readers to the advanced methodologies being used in this extraordinary quest. He addresses the compelling questions that planetary scientists grapple with today: What exactly makes a planet habitable? What are the signatures of life astronomers should look for when they scan the heavens for habitable worlds? In providing answers, Kasting explains why Earth has remained habitable despite a substantial rise in solar luminosity over time, and why our neighbors, Venus and Mars, haven't. If other Earth-sized planets endowed with enough water and carbon are out there, he argues, chances are good that some of those planets sustain life. Kasting describes the efforts under way to find them, and predicts that future discoveries will profoundly alter our view of the universe and our place in it. This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever dreamed of finding other planets like ours—and perhaps even life like ours—in the cosmos. In a new afterword, Kasting presents some recent breakthroughs in the search for exoplanets and discusses the challenges facing space programs in the near future.

The Search for Life Continued

Author : Barrie W. Jones
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Barrie Jones addresses the question "are we alone?", which is one of the most frequently asked questions by scientists and non-scientists alike. In The Search for Life Continued, this question is addressed scientifically, and the author is not afraid to include speculation. Indeed, the author believes beyond reasonable doubt that we are not alone and this belief is based firmly on frontier science of the most imaginative kind. The author concentrates on planetary systems beyond our own but starts with life on Earth, which is the only life we know to exist, and which provides guidance on how best to search for life elsewhere. Planets are the most likely abode of life and so we start the quest with the search for planets beyond the Solar System – exoplanets. The methods of searching are outlined and the nature of hundreds of exoplanetary systems so far discovered described. In the near future we expect to discover habitable Earth-like planets. But are they actually inhabited? How could we tell? All will be revealed. This full color book is written for everybody who wants to stay in close contact with the latest on possible life on other planets.

Alien Oceans

Author : Kevin Hand
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Inside the epic quest to find life on the water-rich moons at the outer reaches of the solar system Where is the best place to find life beyond Earth? We often look to Mars as the most promising site in our solar system, but recent scientific missions have revealed that some of the most habitable real estate may actually lie farther away. Beneath the frozen crusts of several of the small, ice-covered moons of Jupiter and Saturn lurk vast oceans that may have existed for as long as Earth, and together may contain more than fifty times its total volume of liquid water. Could there be organisms living in their depths? Alien Oceans reveals the science behind the thrilling quest to find out. Kevin Peter Hand is one of today's leading NASA scientists, and his pioneering research has taken him on expeditions around the world. In this captivating account of scientific discovery, he brings together insights from planetary science, biology, and the adventures of scientists like himself to explain how we know that oceans exist within moons of the outer solar system, like Europa, Titan, and Enceladus. He shows how the exploration of Earth's oceans is informing our understanding of the potential habitability of these icy moons, and draws lessons from what we have learned about the origins of life on our own planet to consider how life could arise on these distant worlds. Alien Oceans describes what lies ahead in our search for life in our solar system and beyond, setting the stage for the transformative discoveries that may await us.

Life in the Universe

Author : Joseph A. Angelo
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Details the history of the hunt for life on other planets, the technology that is used and the scientific concepts on which the search criteria has been designed.

The Search for Life s Origins

Author : National Research Council
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The field of planetary biology and chemical evolution draws together experts in astronomy, paleobiology, biochemistry, and space science who work together to understand the evolution of living systems. This field has made exciting discoveries that shed light on how organic compounds came together to form self-replicating molecules-the origin of life. This volume updates that progress and offers recommendations on research programs-including an ambitious effort centered on Mars-to advance the field over the next 10 to 15 years. The book presents a wide range of data and research results on these and other issues: The biogenic elements and their interaction in the interstellar clouds and in solar nebulae. Early planetary environments and the conditions that lead to the origin of life. The evolution of cellular and multicellular life. The search for life outside the solar system. This volume will become required reading for anyone involved in the search for life's beginnings-including exobiologists, geoscientists, planetary scientists, and U.S. space and science policymakers.

Envisioning Exoplanets

Author : Michael Carroll
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Come along for the captivating hunt for planets like our own Envisioning Exoplanets traces the journey of astronomers and researchers on their quest to explore the universe for a planet like Earth. Exoplanets--worlds beyond our solar system--were once dismissed as science fiction. But now, with more than 4,000 confirmed exoplanets, countless possibilities exist for what remains to be uncovered in the universe. This book follows the exhilarating progression of exoplanet research from its earliest stages operating on the fringes of scientific research to the newest developments of renowned agencies around the world searching for planets capable of hosting life. Featuring provocative questions about the universe and more than 200 remarkable illustrations from Michael Caroll, Ron Miller, and other key members of the International Association of Astronomical Artists, Envisioning Exoplanets is an intergalactic visual voyage.

The Living Universe

Author : Steven J. Dick
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The Living Universe is a comprehensive, historically nuanced study of the formation of the new scientific discipline of exobiology and its transformation into astrobiology. Among many other themes, the authors analyze how research on the origin of life became wedded to the search for life on other planets and for extraterrestrial intelligence. Many scientific breakthroughs of the last forty years were either directly supported or indirectly spun off from NASA's exobiology program, including cell symbiosis, the discovery of the Archaea, and the theories of Nuclear Winter and the asteroid extinction of the dinosaurs. Exobiology and astrobiology have generated public fascination, enormous public relations benefits for NASA, and--on the flip side of the coin--some of the most heated political wrangling ever seen in government science funding. Dick and Strick providea riveting overview of the search for life throughout the universe, with all of the Earthly complexities of a science-in-the-making and the imperfect humans called scientists. Their book will appeal to biologists, historians and philosophers of science, planetary scientists (including geologists), and an educated general readership interested in the investigation of life on other planets.

Alien Universe

Author : Don Lincoln
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Are alien civilizations really possible? If extraterrestrials exist, where are they? How likely is it that somewhere in the universe an Earth-like planet supports an advanced culture? Why do so many people claim to have encountered Aliens? In this gripping exploration, scientist Don Lincoln exposes and explains the truths about the belief in and the search for life on other planets. In the first half of Alien Universe, Lincoln looks to Western civilization's collective image of Aliens, showing how our perceptions of extraterrestrials have evolved over time. The roots of this belief can be traced as far back as our earliest recognition of other planets in the universe—the idea of them supporting life was a natural progression of thinking that has fascinated us ever since. Our captivation with Aliens has, however, led to mixed results. The world was fooled in the nineteenth century during the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, and many people misunderstood Orson Welles's 1938 radio broadcast, The War of the Worlds, leading to significant anxiety among some listeners. Our continuing interest in Aliens is reflected in entertainment successes such as E.T., The X-Files, and Star Trek. The second half of the book explores the scientific possibility of whether advanced Alien civilizations do exist. For many years, researchers have sought to answer Enrico Fermi’s great paradox—if there are so many planets in the universe and there is a high probability that many of those can support life, then why have we not actually encountered any Aliens? Lincoln describes how modern science teaches us what is possible and what is not in our search for extraterrestrial civilizations. Whether you are drawn to the psychological belief in Aliens, the history of our interest in life on other planets, or the scientific possibility of Alien existence, Alien Universe is sure to hold you spellbound.

Science Society and the Search for Life in the Universe

Author : Bruce M. Jakosky
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Are we alone in the universe? As humans, are we unique or are we part of a greater cosmic existence? What is lifeÕs future on Earth and beyond? How does life begin and develop? These are age-old questions that have inspired wonder and controversy ever since the first people looked up into the sky. With todayÕs technology, however, we are closer than ever to finding the answers. Astrobiology is the relatively new, but fast growing scientific discipline that involves trying to understand the origin, evolution, and distribution of life within the universe. It is also one of the few scientific disciplines that attracts the publicÕs intense curiosity and attention. This interest stems largely from the deep personal meaning that the possible existence of extraterrestrial life has for so many. Whether this meaning relates to addressing the ÒBig QuestionsÓ of our existence, the possibility of encountering life on other planets, or the potential impact on our understanding of religion, there is no doubt that the public is firmly vested in finding answers. In this broadly accessible introduction to the field, Bruce Jakosky looks at the search for life in the universe not only from a scientific perspective, but also from a distinctly social one. In lucid and engaging prose, he addresses topics including the contradiction between the publicÕs fascination and the meager dialogue that exists between those within the scientific community and those outside of it, and what has become some of the most impassioned political wrangling ever seen in government science funding.