Are We Being Watched? The Search for Life in the Cosmos

Paul Murdin, Author
Paul Murdin. Thames & Hudson, $24.95 (229p) ISBN 978-0-500-51671-3
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-500-77142-6
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Is there life out there? The short answer is probably not. The shorter and more intriguing answer… maybe. In this beguiling and accessible book, the man responsible for finding the first black hole in our galaxy roams the universe looking for life—from Earth to Mars and beyond. Though he writes that his head is telling him one thing, astronomer Murdin (Secrets of the Universe) admits that his heart is telling him another, and he’s hopeful that life out there exists. One encouraging sign comes from the moon missions—bacteria normally found in the human mouth survived for over two years in Surveyor 3 equipment, which was later collected by astronauts aboard Apollo 12. But in order for life to flourish, Murdin explains, you need water, energy, and atmosphere. He goes on to explore possible combinations of these critical elements on neighboring planets, while also interweaving accounts of relevant discoveries and the scientists that made them, from Aristotle to Darwin to contemporary researchers, as well as the debates that continue to confound them. Murdin’s enthusiasm and fascination with the subject matter is palpable throughout, and he deftly manages to inform without boring knowledgeable readers or dumbing it down for lay folk. Photos, illus., and tables. Agent: James Wills, Watson, Little Ltd. (Apr.)
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