Out There: A Scientific Guide to Alien Life, Antimatter, and Human Space Travel (for the Cosmically Curious)

Michael Wall. Grand Central, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5387-2937-3
With a humorous, accessible tone, Wall, a senior writer for Space.com, answers questions about alien life and space travel. He draws on the opinions of various experts—for instance, on the question of “Will Aliens Kill Us All?” he shares both the concerns of Stephen Hawking and the optimism of others like Doug Vakoch, president of METI (“messaging extraterrestrial intelligence”) International. Wall does remind readers that, as on Earth, extraterrestrial life will be “mostly microbes,” and returns several times to the subject of ALH 84001, the Martian rock that, in 1996, researchers reported had signs of life. After discussing these and other questions, such as “Could We Talk to ET?” (possibly not—the gulf between species might be too vast), Wall turns to human space travel. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos get their obligatory mentions in the chapter on colonizing the Moon and Mars, while Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre and his theoretically possible warp drive leads off the chapter on interstellar travel. Readers of Michio Kaku’s The Future of Humanity will find some overlap, but this should appeal to anyone who has ever looked up into the sky and wondered what is out there. Agent: Matt Latimer, Javelin. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2018
Release date: 11/13/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-7666-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-7668-5
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