Synopses & Reviews
Since the dawn of history, humans have pondered whether or not other beings exist in our universe. In this fascinating volume, leading experts provide a critical analysis of the plausibility that other intelligent life forms do exist. They debate many interesting aspects of the subject, such as: claims that extraterrestrial lifeforms have already visited Earth; interstellar travel and interstellar migration; space settlements; the evolution of life and possible alternate forms of life; the search for extraterrestrial intelligence; and the frequency of planetary systems in the galaxy. The book represents a range of viewpoints from the fields of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering, and includes such researchers as Jared Diamond, Freeman Dyson, Gerald Feinberg, Ernst Mayr, James Oberg, Robert Shapiro, Robert Sheaffer, and Virginia Trimble. The second edition benefits from new material on the biological and chemical aspects of the debate. To date, exploration of the solar system and observations with telescopes that probe deep space have come up empty handed in searches for evidence of extraterrestrial life, but that will not stop the readers of this book from continuing to wonder whether or not we are alone in the universe.
'\"...a hodgepodge of fascinating material...I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in this engrossing philosophical and scientific topic. The book is thought provoking and well referenced, and should spark lively debate.\" Mitchell K. Hobish, Science Books &Films\"...for those interested in questions on the grand scale, this slender book is one of the most interesting and important of the decade...\" Harlan J. Smith, Science\"...this new volume is the perfect antidote for those who haven\'t read the original book and who have received an overdose of ET optimism in the popular press.\" Robert Naeye, Astronomy\"...a collection of well-researched and intelligent essays.\" New Scientist\"...provides a fascinating series of articles by thoughtful scientists representing the broad range of disciplines that bear on the question of life elsewhere in the universe. The book contains lucid descriptions of the evidence from physics, chemistry, and especially evolutionary biology that permit speculation about the emergence of technological beings. The book is readable by anyone and will tickle the fancy of any person curious about our uniqueness in the universe.\" Geoffrey W. Marcy, American Journal of Physics'
Is it possible that extraterrestrial life forms exist within our Galaxy, the Milky Way? This book offers a critical analysis by leading experts in a range of sciences, of the plausibility that other intelligent lifeforms do exist. Exploration of the Solar System, and observations with telescopes that probe deep space, have come up empty handed in searches for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Many experts in the fields of astronomy, biology, chemistry and physics are now arguing that the evidence points to the conclusion that technological civilisations are rare. After ten billion years, and among hundreds of billions of stars, we may well possess the most advanced brains in the Milky Way Galaxy. This second edition contains many new and updated aspects of extraterrestrial research, especially the biological viewpoint of the question.
Experts critically examine the belief that other intelligent life exists in our galaxy.
Is it possible that extraterrestrial life exists within our Galaxy? Leading experts from a range of sciences examine this question. After ten billion years, and among hundreds of billions of stars, we may well possess the most advanced brains in the Milky Way Galaxy.
Table of Contents
1. An explanation for the absence of extraterrestrials on Earth Michael H. Hart; 2. One attempt to find where they are: NASA's high resolution microwave survey Jill Tarter; 3. An examination of claims that extraterrestrial visitors to Earth are being observed Robert Sheaffer; 4. The likelihood of interstellar colonization, and the absence of its evidence Sebastian von Hoerner; 5. Preemption of the galaxy by the first advanced civilization Ronald Bracewell; 6. Stellar evolution: motivation for the mass interstellar migrations Ben Zuckerman; 7. Interstellar propulsion systems Freeman Dyson; 8. Interstellar travel: a review Ian A. Crawford; 9. Settlements in space, and interstellar travel Cliff Singer; 10. Terraforming James Oberg; 11. Estimates of expansion time scales Eric M. Jones; 12. A search for tritium sources in our Solar System may reveal the presence of space-probes from other stellar systems Michael D. Papagiannis; 13. Primordial organic cosmochemistry Cyril Ponnamperuma and Rafael Navarro-Gonzalez; 14. Chance and the origin of life Edward Argyle; 15. The RNA world: life before DNA and protein Gerald F. Joyce; 16. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence Ernst Nayr; 17. Alone in a crowded universe Jared Diamond; 18. Possible forms of life in environments very different from the Earth Robert Shapiro and Gerald Feinberg; 19. Cosmological SETI frequency standards J. Richard Gott, III; 20. Galactic chemical evolution: implications for the existence of habitable planets Virginia Trimble; 21. The frequency of planetary systems in the galaxy Jonathan I. Lunine; 22. Atmospheric evolution, the Drake equation, and DNA: sparse life in an infinite universe Michael H. Hart.