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Why is There Life on Earth?

Overview

What is the Goldilocks zone? Is space exploration a good value? Are stars and planets always visible? The Earth, Space, and Beyond series answers these and many other thought-provoking questions. It describes past, current, and future science missions and shows how astronomers and engineers are advancing our knowledge of Earth, the solar system, and the wider Universe.

This book looks at what makes Earth such a special place for life. It concludes that life can survive in a much...

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Overview

What is the Goldilocks zone? Is space exploration a good value? Are stars and planets always visible? The Earth, Space, and Beyond series answers these and many other thought-provoking questions. It describes past, current, and future science missions and shows how astronomers and engineers are advancing our knowledge of Earth, the solar system, and the wider Universe.

This book looks at what makes Earth such a special place for life. It concludes that life can survive in a much wider range of conditions than people once thought!

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Building on what young scientists already know, the "Earth, Space, and Beyond" series explores our universe in more detail for middle school astronomers and even young adults. This volume offers the latest thinking about what makes Earth a special place for life and asks whether life exists on other planets in our solar system or on extra-solar planets in the universe. Solway reminds readers of three ingredients needed for life: water, energy, and organic chemicals. Though overheated Venus's water vaporized, Mars once had erupting geysers; other planets and their moons (like Jupiter's Europa) may contain water kept from freezing by ammonia. Our energy comes from the Sun, but other sources, like hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor keep some creatures alive (a color photo shows tiny worms and crabs undersea near a gushing vent). Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are necessary for life, but other complex chemicals, combined with water and a jolt of energy provide the mix scientists believe is best for development. Most intriguing are new ideas about conditions for life—discoveries of methane on Mars and Saturn's moon Titan could mean life is possible without water. In ice caves and acidic or alkaline conditions live unusual microbes that can survive in extreme environments. Since 1995, astronomers have discovered more than 500 planets circling stars in other galaxies; Solway points out that life on these exoplanets is possible, but unlikely to resemble alien creatures kids see in films and fantasy. How could we find intelligent life beyond our solar system? Some organizations are sending out powerful messages, though distances are so great it might take 52,000 years to get an answer. Helpful are a bibliography with websites listed, a timeline of planet discoveries, and an explanation of how extra-solar planets are named. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Delivering compact but broad summations about the origin of the universe, solar system, and life on Earth (and elsewhere, at least in theory), these surveys are well suited for review or reinforcement reading. Life on Earth covers our planet's placement in the solar system's "Goldilocks" zone and offers an overview about the search for exoplanets. Other volumes make similarly close examinations of the history and techniques of astronomy and space exploration, as well as current knowledge. Each title is illustrated with plenty of well-chosen, often-dramatic captioned space photos and images to go with the main narratives and many sidebars. Of the lot, Space Exploration is the least satisfying as it gives satellite technology and consumer and medical products hardly a glance before going on to less tangible attractions. However, this title, along with Solar System, finishes off with a page of intriguing "Topics to investigate."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410941664
  • Publisher: Heinemann-Raintree
  • Publication date: 7/15/2011
  • Series: Earth, Space, & Beyond
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 11 - 15 Years
  • Lexile: 990L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Table of Contents

A Goldilocks Planet 4

The Basics of Life: Water 6

The Basics of Life: Energy 14

The Atmosphere 20

Signs of Life 28

Conclusion 40

Timeline of Planet Discoveries 42

Glossary 44

Find Out More 46

Index 48

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