All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life

All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life

by Jon Willis


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Where would you look for alien life? An astronomer and science popularizer explains the basics of astrobiology to outline five plausible scenarios for finding extraterrestrials

Long before space travel was possible, the idea of life beyond Earth transfixed humans. In this fascinating book, astronomer Jon Willis explores the science of astrobiology and the possibility of locating other life in our own galaxy.
Describing the most recent discoveries by space exploration missions, including the Kepler space telescope, the Mars Curiosity rover, and the New Horizons probe, Willis asks readers to imagine—and choose among—five scenarios for finding life. He encourages us to wonder whether life might exist within Mars’s subsoil ice. He reveals the vital possibilities on the water-ice moons Europa and Enceladus. He views Saturn’s moon Titan through the lens of our own planet’s ancient past. And, he even looks beyond our solar system, investigating the top candidates for a “second Earth” in a myriad of exoplanets and imagining the case of a radio signal arriving from deep space. Covering the most up-to-date research, this accessibly written book provides readers with the basic knowledge necessary to decide where they would look for alien life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300208696
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 08/23/2016
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

An active researcher in the fields of cosmology and the evolution of galaxies, Jon Willis is associate professor of astronomy at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, where he teaches a popular course on astrobiology.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

1 Alien Extravaganza 1

2 A Universe Fit for Life? 16

3 What on Earth Is Life? 29

4 A Biological Tour of Our Solar System 53

5 Mars: The Riddle in the Sands 74

6 Europa and Enceladus: Life Aquatic? 103

7 Titan: Nature's Petrochemical Plant 125

8 Exoplanets: Worlds without End 144

9 The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence 169

10 The Meaning of (Alien) Life? 180

Notes 189

References: Billions and Billions of Books 199

Index 207

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