Extraterrestrial Intelligence / Edition 2

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Overview

If extraterrestrial intelligence exists, then positive detection of it would be the greatest scientific discovery of all time. By what criteria should we judge whether we are alone in the cosmos, and how should we set about detecting extraterrestrials? Jean Heidmann answers these questions in this engaging discussion of extraterrestrial intelligence. The author shows how planets fit into the hierachy of the universe, and discuss prebiotic stages of life, and the emergence of primitive biological molecules in the solar system. From this base the entire subject of extraterrestrials is explained: techniques and the results of current projects, the expansion of searches for extraterrestrials, the habitable zones in our universe, and what might happen if actual contact takes place. Our generation is capable, in principle, of communication across interstellar space, bounded only by the speed of light, and soon it will be possible to set tight limits on the presence or absence of extraterrestrials in our Galaxy.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Aimed at the general public, it succinctly covers all the important aspects of the field...Heidmann writes in a lucid, agreeable personal style." Nature
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521453400
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2011
  • Series: Canto Book Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. I The bioastronomical prospect 1
1 The cosmic stage 3
The Big Bang, space, and matter 3
Planetary systems 11
2 The organic stage 19
Life on Earth 19
The interstellar travels of a grain of dust 24
The expeditions to Comet Halley 26
Comets and life 34
The Rosetta project 38
3 The prebiotic stage 43
Titan, Saturn's large satellite 43
Meteorites 51
4 The primitive biological stage 59
From an inert cosmos to living matter 59
Primitive biology on Mars 73
Pt. II Extraterrestrials 95
5 Intelligence 97
6 The SETI pioneers 111
7 Why use radio waves? 121
8 NASA takes up the challenge 135
9 False alarms 149
10 The expansion of SETI 157
The 'magic' frequencies 157
A new Ariadne's thread 168
Can ET listen to Earth? 172
11 Habitable zones in the universe 177
12 The day we make contact 191
Epilog: Terrestrial destinies and cosmic perspectives 205
Toward scientific recognition of SETI 213
Bibliography 227
Index 229
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