Human interest in the origins of life and the possibility of life on other planets extends far back into antiquity. Throughout history, each society’s "creation myth" reflected that particular people's view of the extent of the universe and their place within it. Today, due to advances in space technology, the scope of those early perceptions has expanded well beyond the reaches of our solar system to the stars, vast interstellar clouds, and numerous galaxies that populate the seemingly infinite expanse of outer space. Life in the Universe provides a Space Age examination of the basic question: Is life, especially intelligent life, unique to Earth?
This volume prepares readers for some of the revelations that space technology may yield this century by discussing the historic events, scientific principles, and technical developments that allow sophisticated robot exploring machines to visit faraway worlds in the solar system as they hunt for signs of life—existent or extinct. This book’s special collection of illustrations includes historic, contemporary, and future life-hunting robot spacecraft, allowing readers to appreciate the tremendous aerospace engineering progress that has occurred since the dawn of the Space Age, and get a glimpse of what lies ahead. A generous number of sidebars include information on fundamental scientific concepts and speculative theories about alien life. Capsule biographies spotlight scientists who pioneered various aspects of exobiology.
- Alien Life: From Science Fiction to Mars Rocks
- Life in the Universe
- Principles of Exobiology: How Scientists Search for Alien Life
- The Hunt for Life on Mars
- Searching for Life Elsewhere in the Solar System
- Extraterrestrial Contamination: War of the Microbiological Worlds
- Habitable Worlds Around Distant Stars
- Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
- Messages to the Stars: Arecibo Message, Pioneer Plaques, Voyager Records
- Spreading Life Around: Designing Interstellar Probes and Starships
- Close Encounters: The Consequences of Contact.
Black-and-white photographs and line illustrations. Index. Glossary. Chronology. Further reading. Sidebars. Web sites.
About the Author(s)
Joseph A. Angelo Jr., has a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Arizona, and is currently an adjunct professor of physics at Rollins College. He served with distinction as a commissioner for the governor of Florida’s Commission on Space and is the author of several books for Facts On File.