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Are We Being Watched?: The Search for Life in the Cosmos
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Are We Being Watched?: The Search for Life in the Cosmos

by Paul Murdin
 

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An engaging exploration with renowned astronomer Paul Murdin of how life emerged on Earth—and the possibilities that it exists elsewhereThere is no more fascinating question than whether or not we are alone in a vast universe. Here, Paul Murdin applies the latest scientific discoveries and theories to inquire whether life exists on other planets and, if so,

Overview

An engaging exploration with renowned astronomer Paul Murdin of how life emerged on Earth—and the possibilities that it exists elsewhereThere is no more fascinating question than whether or not we are alone in a vast universe. Here, Paul Murdin applies the latest scientific discoveries and theories to inquire whether life exists on other planets and, if so, what forms it might take. Could there be somewhere life as advanced as here on Earth, or are we more likely to find primitive life-forms? Or are we the sole living organisms in a desolate and boundless cosmos? Professor Murdin invites us to join him in exploring an extraordinary array of evidence to determine if there is life elsewhere in the cosmos. He examines the case for life on Mars and Europa and asks whether on Enceladus or Titan we might find the “warm little” pond that Darwin speculated was where life began here on Earth. Describing the cosmic habitats that produce the alien worlds of our solar system and others, he examines the chances of finding life and the prospects for successful communication with an extraterrestrial intelligence.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Is there life out there? The short answer is probably not. The shorter and more intriguing answer… maybe. In this beguiling and accessible book, the man responsible for finding the first black hole in our galaxy roams the universe looking for life—from Earth to Mars and beyond. Though he writes that his head is telling him one thing, astronomer Murdin (Secrets of the Universe) admits that his heart is telling him another, and he’s hopeful that life out there exists. One encouraging sign comes from the moon missions—bacteria normally found in the human mouth survived for over two years in Surveyor 3 equipment, which was later collected by astronauts aboard Apollo 12. But in order for life to flourish, Murdin explains, you need water, energy, and atmosphere. He goes on to explore possible combinations of these critical elements on neighboring planets, while also interweaving accounts of relevant discoveries and the scientists that made them, from Aristotle to Darwin to contemporary researchers, as well as the debates that continue to confound them. Murdin’s enthusiasm and fascination with the subject matter is palpable throughout, and he deftly manages to inform without boring knowledgeable readers or dumbing it down for lay folk. Photos, illus., and tables. Agent: James Wills, Watson, Little Ltd. (Apr.)
Choice
“A good summary of this intriguing topic. . . . Recommended.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780500516713
Publisher:
Thames & Hudson
Publication date:
04/01/2013
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

In 1971 Paul Murdin discovered the first black hole. He has been President of the European Astronomical Society, Director of the British National Space Centre, and Treasurer of the Royal Astronomical Society. He has published some 150 scientific papers, edited the multivolume Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and is the author of Secrets of the Universe.

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