- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
Sale Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earthby Marc Kaufman
Synopses & Reviews
Are we alone in the universe? Almost certainly not.
In First Contact, Marc Kaufman provides a gripping tour of the magnificent new science of astrobiology that is closing in on the discovery of extraterrestrial life. In recent decades, scientists generally held that the genesis of life was unique to Earth: It was too delicate a process, and the conditions needed to support it too fragile, for it to exist anywhere else. But we are now on the verge of the biggest discovery since Copernicus and Galileo told us that Earth is not at the center of the universe. New scientific breakthroughs have revolutionized our assumptions about the building blocks of life and where it may be found. Scientists have hunted down and identified exoplanets, those mysterious balls in the universe that orbit distant suns not too different from our own. They have discovered extremophiles, the extraordinary microbes that thrive in environments of intense heat or cold that may mimic the inhospitable conditions of other planets. They have landed rovers on Mars and detected its methane, a possible signature of past life. And they have created sophisticated equipment to sweep the sky for distant radio signals and to explore the deep icebound lakes of Antarctica. Each of these developments has brought forth a new generation of out-of-the-box researchers, adventurers, and thinkers who are each part Carl Sagan, part Indiana Jones, part Watson and Crick—and part forensic specialists on CSI: Mars.
In this masterful book, Kaufman takes us to the frontiers of astrobiologys quest for extraterrestrial life and shows how this quest is inextricably linked with the quest to understand life on Earth. He takes us deep under the glaciers of Antarctica, into the mouth of an Alaskan volcano, and beneath the Earth into the unbearable heat of a South African mine, and leads us to the worlds driest desert. For thousands of years, humans have wondered about who and what might be living beyond the confines of our planet. First Contact transports us into the cosmos to bring those musings back to Earth and recast our humanity.
andlt;bandgt;Now in paperback, Marc Kaufmanand#8217;s riveting, game-changing book tells the incredible true story of scienceand#8217;s search for the beginnings of life on Earthand#8212;and the likelihood of it existing elsewhere in our universe.andlt;/bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;For decades, researchers assumed that the genesis of life was too delicate a process, and the conditions needed to support it too fragile, for it to exist anywhere other than Earth. But recent discoveriesand#8212;from microbes and creatures living in unimaginably inhospitable environments to newly discovered extra-solar planetsand#8212;point towards a day when the existence of extraterrestrial life will be irrefutably confirmed.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Science reporter Marc Kaufman takes readers around the globe, into space, and miles below Earthand#8217;s surface to show how the search for life on other planets is changing the way humans think about their own history, about what it means to be human, and about what, exactly, life is.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;First Contactandlt;/iandgt; is the first book to bring together recent developments across many competing branches of science, from microbiology to geochemistry, physics, and astronomy, all racing to verify what was once deemed impossible. Kaufman demystifies the key points behind the rigorous science and advanced technology that is edging ever closer to the most important discovery of modern times.
About the Author
Marc Kaufman is a science and national editor for The Washington Post. He lives outside of Washington, D.C.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like
Arts and Entertainment » Sale Books