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The Life Of Super Earths

Author: Dimitar Sasselov
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465023401
Size: 67.84 MB
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"In the past year, we have witnessed unprecedented breakthroughs in the seemingly unrelated fields of synthetic biology and exoplanetary astronomy. Just recently, arsenic-based bacteria was discovered in a California lake-both puzzling and electrifying the scientific world. In The Life of Super-Earths, expert astronomer Dimitar Sasselov aims to highlight these groundbreaking findings and explain how what we learn in the laboratory informs our investigation of the universe, and vice versa. The discovery of a New Earth, or other world, may be in our future. But a truly 'alien' life form is more likely to emerge from our planet's natural environment or in a petri dish at a research lab. We may cross a milestone into the era of synthetic biology under the microscope. These breakthroughs will shed new light on our place in the universe and answer the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe? The Life of Super-Earths offers nothing short of a revolution in our understanding of life and its place in the cosmos"--

The Life Of Super Earths

Author: Dimitar Sasselov
Publisher: Hachette UK
ISBN: 0465023401
Size: 40.37 MB
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In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus fomented a revolution when he debunked the geocentric view of the universe, proving instead that our planet wasn’t central to the universe. Almost five hundred years later, the revolution he set in motion is nearly complete. Just as earth is not the center of things, the life on it, it appears, is not unique to the planet. Or is it? The Life of Super-Earths is a breathtaking tour of current efforts to answer the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe? Astronomer Dimitar Sasselov, the founding director of Harvard University’s Origins of Life Initiative, takes us on a fast-paced hunt for habitable planets and alien life forms. He shows how the search for “super-Earths”—rocky planets like our own that orbit other stars—may provide the key to answering essential questions about the origins of life here and elsewhere. That is, if we don’t find the answers to those questions here first. As Sasselov and other astronomers have uncovered planets with mixes of elements different from our own, chemists have begun working out the heretofore unseen biochemistries that those planets could support. That knowledge is feeding directly into synthetic biology—the effort to build wholly novel forms of life—making it likely that we will first discover truly “alien” life forms in an earthly lab, rather than on a remote planet thousands of light years away. Sasselov tells the gripping story of a moment of unprecedented potential—a convergence of pioneering efforts in astronomy and biology to peer into the unknown. The Life of Super-Earths offers nothing short of a transformation in our understanding of life and its place in the cosmos.

Mirror Earth

Author: Michael D. Lemonick
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 0802779026
Size: 18.29 MB
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In the mid-1990s, astronomers made history when they began to find planets orbiting stars in the Milky Way. More than eight hundred planets have been found since then, yet none of them is anything like Earth and none could support life. Now, armed with more powerful technology, planet hunters are racing to find a true twin of Earth. Science writer Michael Lemonick has unique access to these exoplaneteers, as they call themselves, and Mirror Earth unveils their passionate quest. Unlike competitors in other races, Geoff Marcy, Bill Borucki, David Charbonneau, Sara Seager, and others actually consult and cooperate with one another. But only one will be the first to find Earth's twin. Mirror Earth tells the story of their competition.

Strange New Worlds

Author: Ray Jayawardhana
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400846544
Size: 26.22 MB
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In Strange New Worlds, renowned astronomer Ray Jayawardhana brings news from the front lines of the epic quest to find planets--and alien life--beyond our solar system. Only in the past two decades, after millennia of speculation, have astronomers begun to discover planets around other stars--thousands in fact. Now they are closer than ever to unraveling distant twins of the Earth. In this book, Jayawardhana vividly recounts the stories of the scientists and the remarkable breakthroughs that have ushered in this extraordinary age of exploration. He describes the latest findings--including his own--that are challenging our view of the cosmos and casting new light on the origins and evolution of planets and planetary systems. He reveals how technology is rapidly advancing to support direct observations of Jupiter-like gas giants and super-Earths--rocky planets with several times the mass of our own planet--and how astronomers use biomarkers to seek possible life on other worlds. Strange New Worlds provides an insider's look at the cutting-edge science of today's planet hunters, our prospects for discovering alien life, and the debates and controversies at the forefront of extrasolar-planet research. In a new afterword, Jayawardhana explains some of the most recent developments as we search for the first clues of life on other planets.

The Life And Death Of Planet Earth

Author: Peter D. Ward
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9780805075120
Size: 38.27 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Planet Earth is middle-aged. Science has worked hard to piece together the story of the evolution of our world up to this point, but only recently have we developed the understanding and the tools to describe the entire life cycle of a planet. Ward and Brownlee, a geologist and an astronomer respectively, combine their knowledge of how the critical sustaining systems of our planet evolve through time with their understanding of the life cycles of stars and solar systems, to tell the story of the second half of Earth's life. The process of evolution will essentially reverse itself: life as we know it will subside until only the simplest forms remain. Eventually, they too will disappear. The oceans will evaporate, the atmosphere will degrade, and, as the sun slowly expands, Earth itself will eventually meet a fiery end. --From publisher description.

Exoplanets

Author: Donald Goldsmith
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674988876
Size: 37.59 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Astronomers have recently discovered thousands of exotic planets that orbit stars throughout our Milky Way galaxy. With his characteristic wit and style, Donald Goldsmith shows how these observations have already broadened our planetary horizons, and tells us what may come next, including the ultimate discovery: life beyond our home planet.

Searching For Life Across Space And Time

Author: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309463947
Size: 79.67 MB
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The search for life is one of the most active fields in space science and involves a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including planetary science, astronomy and astrophysics, chemistry, biology, chemistry, and geoscience. In December 2016, the Space Studies Board hosted a workshop to explore the possibility of habitable environments in the solar system and in exoplanets, techniques for detecting life, and the instrumentation used. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

You Are The Universe

Author: Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Publisher: Harmony
ISBN: 0307951855
Size: 11.82 MB
Format: PDF
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Now a New York Times Bestseller! "A riveting and absolutely fascinating adventure that will blow your mind wide open!" —Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi Deepak Chopra joins forces with leading physicist Menas Kafatos to explore some of the most important and baffling questions about our place in the world. What happens when modern science reaches a crucial turning point that challenges everything we know about reality? In this brilliant, timely, and practical work, Chopra and Kafatos tell us that we've reached just such a point. In the coming era, the universe will be completely redefined as a "human universe" radically unlike the cold, empty void where human life is barely a speck in the cosmos. You Are the Universe literally means what it says--each of us is a co-creator of reality extending to the vastest reaches of time and space. This seemingly impossible proposition follows from the current state of science, where outside the public eye, some key mysteries cannot be solved, even though they are the very issues that define reality itself: What Came Before the Big Bang? Why Does the Universe Fit Together So Perfectly? Where Did Time Come From? What Is the Universe Made Of? Is the Quantum World Linked to Everyday Life? Do We Live in a Conscious Universe? How Did Life First Begin? “The shift into a new paradigm is happening,” the authors write. “The answers offered in this book are not our invention or eccentric flights of fancy. All of us live in a participatory universe. Once you decide that you want to participate fully with mind, body, and soul, the paradigm shift becomes personal. The reality you inhabit will be yours either to embrace or to change.” What these two great minds offer is a bold, new understanding of who we are and how we can transform the world for the better while reaching our greatest potential.

Alien Seas

Author: Michael Carroll
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 1461474736
Size: 43.53 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Oceans were long thought to exist in all corners of the Solar System, from carbonated seas percolating beneath the clouds of Venus to features on the Moon's surface given names such as "the Bay of Rainbows” and the "Ocean of Storms." With the advent of modern telescopes and spacecraft exploration these ancient concepts of planetary seas have, for the most part, evaporated. But they have been replaced by the reality of something even more exotic. For example, although it is still uncertain whether Mars ever had actual oceans, it now seems that a web of waterways did indeed at one time spread across its surface. The "water" in many places in our Solar System is a poisoned brew mixed with ammonia or methane. Even that found on Jupiter's watery satellite Europa is believed similar to battery acid. Beyond the Galilean satellites may lie even more "alien oceans." Saturn's planet-sized moon Titan seems to be subject to methane or ethane rainfall. This creates methane pools that, in turn, become vast lakes and, perhaps, seasonal oceans. Titan has other seas in a sense, as large shifting areas of sand covering vast plains have been discovered. Mars also has these sand seas, and Venus may as well, along with oceans of frozen lava. Do super-chilled concoctions of ammonia, liquid nitrogen, and water percolate beneath the surfaces of Enceladus and Triton? For now we can only guess at the possibilities. 'Alien Seas' serves up part history, part current research, and part theory as it offers a rich buffet of "seas" on other worlds. It is organized by location and by the material of which various oceans consist, with guest authors penning specific chapters. Each chapter features new original art depicting alien seas, as well as the latest ground-based and spacecraft images. Original diagrams presents details of planetary oceans and related processes.

Lucky Planet

Author: David Waltham
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465080820
Size: 71.11 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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Why Earth’s life-friendly climate makes it exceptional—and what that means for the likelihood of finding intelligent extraterrestrial life We have long fantasized about finding life on planets other than our own. Yet even as we become aware of the vast expanses beyond our solar system, it remains clear that Earth is exceptional. The question is: why? In Lucky Planet, astrobiologist David Waltham argues that Earth’s climate stability is what makes it uniquely able to support life, and it is nothing short of luck that made such conditions possible. The four billion year-stretch of good weather that our planet has experienced is statistically so unlikely that chances are slim that we will ever encounter intelligent extraterrestrial others. Citing the factors that typically control a planet’s average temperature—including the size of its moon, as well as the rate of the Universe’s expansion—Waltham challenges the prevailing scientific consensus that Earth-like planets have natural stabilizing mechanisms that allow life to flourish. A lively exploration of the stars above and the ground beneath our feet, Lucky Planet seamlessly weaves the story of Earth and the worlds orbiting other stars to give us a new perspective of the surprising role chance plays in our place in the universe.