The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology

The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology

by Steven J. Dick
     
 

ISBN-10: 0813537339

ISBN-13: 9780813537337

Pub. Date: 09/15/2005

Publisher: Rutgers University Press

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

Overview

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 provide a 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813537337
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
09/15/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Introduction
Part I Before the Space Age
The Big Picture: Cosmic Evolution and the Biological Universe
Part II From Sputnik to Viking, 1957-1976
Organizing Exobiology: NASA Enters Life Science
Exobiology, Planetary Protection, and the Origins of Life
Vikings to Mars
Part III Broadened Horizons, 1976-2000
The Post-Viking Revolutions
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
The Search for Planetary Systems
The Mars Rock
Renaissance: From Exobiology to Astrobiology
Epilogue: Astrobiology Science— Into the Great Age of Discovery?
Appendix A Unpublished Sources
Appendix B NASA Leadership in Exobiology
Appendix C Topics at the First Astrobiology Science Conference
Appendix D Objectives in the Astrobiology Roadmap
Notes
Selected Bibliography

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