The Cosmic Water Hole

Paperback (Print)
Not Available on


Are comets, meteorites, and dust the stuff of life on Earth? Did life appear just once in 5 billion years? Or did it follow some principle of evolution and appear at several distinct periods, raising the possibility that life can exist elsewhere in the universe? Emmanuel Davoust, an internationally known specialist on galaxies, explores these provocative questions as well as such major themes and topics of debate as prebiotic chemistry and paleovisits, in this lucid investigation of the continuing search for extraterrestrial life.The search for life in the universe begins at the "water hole," a frequency band that radio astronomers have been exploring for more than two decades in the hope of detecting a signal of artificial origin amid the natural noise of our galaxy. The number of possible targets is huge, and so far we have hardly listened at all. Despite the silence,many search projects based on the hope of eventually detecting signals from other civilizations are underway.Davoust provides a rich yet succinct basis for understanding the stages of life in the cosmos - evolution from the Big Bang to the formation of elements and planets; organic molecules in interstellar space,meteorites, and comets; prebiotic chemistry in Saturn's largest satellite; possible primitive life in Mars' substratum; and the notion of evolved forms superior to ourselves. Above all, he points out, the search for life beyond Earth provides a valuable perspective, teaching us to look at our planet and at ourselves "through a stranger's eyes." Davoust also covers such intriguing terrain as the demography and sociology of extraterrestrials. He provides a nontechnical account of search strategies, listening projects, and the debates they engender - including the "Proxmire effect," Carl Sagan's petition, and Fred Hoyle's interstellar bacteria.Emmanuel Davoust is an astronomer at Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées in Toulouse, where he pursues research on interacting galaxies.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Written from a British perspective, this book examines the economic and social causes of differences in the management of advanced cancer in the US and in the UK. Acidic paper. The hope to detect a signal of artificial origin amid the natural noise of the universe. Although current attempts to communicate have been met with silence, there are still vast areas to be searched. Davoust offers a survey of the solar system, citing possible sites of life on planetary satellites as well as describing the status of the search for planets around stars other than the Sun. Translated from the French edition (Teknea) of 1988. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262541619
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/22/1991
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Emmanuel Davoust is an astronomer at Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées in Toulouse, where he pursues research on interacting galaxies.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)