Life as We Do Not Know It: The NASA Search for (and Synthesis of) Alien Life

Overview

An engrossing and revelatory first look at the search for alien life—on Earth and beyond

For the past twenty years, Peter Ward has been at the forefront of popular science writing, with books such as the influential and controversial Rare Earth. In Life as We Do Not Know It, Ward, with his signature blend of eloquence, humor, and learned insight, vividly details the latest scientific findings, cutting-edge research, and intrepid new theories on the subject of alien life and the ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$13.77
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$15.00 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (23) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $8.25   
  • Used (17) from $1.99   
Life as We Do Not Know It: The NASA Search for (and Synthesis of) Alien Life

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview

An engrossing and revelatory first look at the search for alien life—on Earth and beyond

For the past twenty years, Peter Ward has been at the forefront of popular science writing, with books such as the influential and controversial Rare Earth. In Life as We Do Not Know It, Ward, with his signature blend of eloquence, humor, and learned insight, vividly details the latest scientific findings, cutting-edge research, and intrepid new theories on the subject of alien life and the possible extraterrestrial origins of life on Earth. In lucid, entertaining, and bold prose, Peter Ward once again challenges our notions of life on earth (and beyond).

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Peter Ward's 2002 book Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe threw cold water on notions that aliens are everywhere. In Life as We Do Not Know It, he offers further, more optimistic observations on extraterrestrial life and presents his own radical hypothesis about the origins of life on earth. Even more provocatively, he discusses his work as a principal investigator on a little known NASA-funded program that seeks to create non-DNA life in a laboratory. His participation in this cutting-edge research enables Ward to specify where others can only speculate.
From the Publisher
A fascinating guided tour . . . [Ward’s] comfortable style delivers ample doses of personal warmth and humor along with a wealth of information and dazzling speculation. (The Seattle Times)
Publishers Weekly
Ward's Rare Earth (coauthored with Donald Brownlee) suggested the unlikelihood of our finding an alien race as complex and evolved as humankind; if such beings exist, they're too far away for us to make contact with. But what about more basic forms of life right here in our solar system? Ward, an investigator with NASA's Astrobiology Institute, believes researchers might be taking the wrong approach by looking only for earthly DNA-based life forms. Truly alien life, he argues, might have completely different origins; even Earth has untold numbers of viruses composed entirely of RNA, and scientists have created similar genetic material in laboratories, so who's to say silicon-based life-forms are impossible? After introducing readers to the building blocks of life and the new ways they might be arranged, Ward speculates on what types of microbes we might find on other planets and their satellites. He recommends that future manned space expeditions include paleontologists and biochemists to follow up on suggestive evidence collected by space probes. The science is neatly laid out, and readers willing to follow his daring, scientifically based speculations will find their imaginations spurred. (On sale Nov. 7) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Ward (biology, earth & space sciences, astronomy, Univ. of Washington; The Life and Death of Planet Earth), a principal investigator at a NASA-funded research program investigating alien life forms, has written a fascinating and enlightening book that critically examines the arguments and evidences for the probability of life-as we know it or do not know it-existing elsewhere in this solar system. He discusses the major components and general characteristics of known terrestrial biological entities, the plausibility that RNA preceded DNA, the status of viruses in our living world, the new discoveries of organic forms at volcanic vents on the ocean floor, and other possible evolutionary pathways for life. His rational speculations give special attention to astrobiology's panspermia hypothesis (the notion that life came from space) and focus on Mars, Europa, and Titan as being promising sites for life forms of some nature, making the crucial distinction between carbon-based earth life and alien life. He even offers a new classification system for the tree of life that is open both to non-Earth and synthetic life forms. This informative and unique book is highly recommended for all academic and public science collections.-H. James Birx, SUNY at Geneseo Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143038498
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/27/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,481,319
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Ward, a recognized authority on mass extinctions, is professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. His books include Gorgon, Future Evolution, The End of Evolution, and, with Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth and The Life and Death of Planet Earth. He has also appeared in numerous TV documentaries for PBS, Discover, and The Learning Channel.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 What is life? 1
Ch. 2 What is Earth life? 24
Ch. 3 Life as we do not know it 58
Ch. 4 A recipe book of life 88
Ch. 5 The artificial synthesis of life 119
Ch. 6 Are there aliens already on Earth? 135
Ch. 7 Panspermia : why there may be aliens throughout the solar system 142
Ch. 8 Mercury and Venus 155
Ch. 9 Fossils on the Moon 163
Ch. 10 Mars 174
Ch. 11 Europa 197
Ch. 12 Titan 215
Ch. 13 Implications, ethics, and dangers 235
Ch. 14 A manifesto : send paleontologists to Mars and biochemists to Titan 247
Envoi : a forest of life? 254
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 BN.com 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

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com 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 BN.com. 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
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2006

    good book

    this is a good book, i enjoyed reading about life from our plantet to titain. also explained different types of live and stuff like that. if u enjoy reading about evolution and life on other plantes pick this book up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

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