cover image Where Are the Aliens? The Search for Life Beyond Earth

Where Are the Aliens? The Search for Life Beyond Earth

Stacy McAnulty, illus. by Nicole Miles. Little, Brown, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7595-5399-6

Employing abundant research and humorous b&w sketches, McAnulty and Miles (Save the People) discuss the steps that scientists have taken to prove—or disprove—the possibility of life beyond Earth in this curiosity-stoking work. The author begins with an explanation of the Fermi paradox, or the “where is everyone?” quandary named after Italian physicist Enrico Fermi (1901–1954), which explores the idea that if technologically advanced beings existed beyond Earth, “we would have noticed them by now. They’re not here, so they must not exist.” Subsequent chapters offer contextualizing information about Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) and Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei’s (1564–1642) early telescopes, Sputnik and Apollo launches, listening devices seeking alien transmissions, rumored UFO sightings and abductions, and insights into projected space missions as far out as 2040. Lighthearted jokes pepper conversational prose: “Now you may be asking, ‘What is a paradox?’ (Not to be confused with a ‘pair of docs,’ which is two physicians).” By highlighting sometimes contradictory hypotheses prevalent in the scientific community, McAnulty concludes that there is no concrete answer regarding the existence of alien life-forms, excitedly reminding readers that “the hunt has just begun” in this fascinating read. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)