Alien Life

Barry Parker, Author Basic Books $29 (264p) ISBN 978-0-306-45795-1
Despite an evidently open-minded attitude, Parker delivers the hard line to ET enthusiasts in his new book: ""strangely, we haven't found a single sign of life beyond our solar system."" In his latest (following Chaos in the Cosmos and eight other books), the emeritus Idaho State University professor of astronomy and physics summarizes recent scientific conjecture on extraterrestrial life without venturing much personal speculation. He considers the ""architecture of life"" and the mystery of DNA as related to its possible exploitation elsewhere; the possibility of non-carbon-based life forms; the history of Mars exploration (including the recent ""meteorite from Mars"" discovery); the results of NASA space probes; the discovery of distant planets through advanced telescopy; and the SETI program's search for alien radio signals. Parker acknowledges the contentions of UFO believers, but devotes few pages to claims of alien encounters such as the well-known Roswell incident. Steering clear of that controversy as ""an argument not likely to be resolved in the near future,"" Parker's hopeful and energetic book ends up reinforcing the science establishment's lonely outlook for humanity, but still leaves room for the possibility that if they are out there, we will find them--or they, us. 79 illustrations. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/02/1998
Release date: 03/01/1998
Genre: Religion
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-7382-0881-7
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