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Examines each of these parameters in crucial depth and makes the argument that life forms we would recognize may be more common in our solar system than many assume. Considers exotic forms of life that would not have to rely on carbon as the basic chemical element, solar energy as the main energy source, or water as the primary solvent and the question of detecting bio- and geosignatures of such life forms, ranging from earth environments to deep space. Seeks an operational definition of life and investigate the realm of possibilities that nature offers to realize this very special state of matter. Avoids scientific jargon wherever possible to make this intrinsically interdisciplinary subject understandable to a broad range of readers.
This book addresses all those interested in the origins, development and fate of intelligent species in the observable part of our universe. In particular, the author scrutinizes what kind of information about extraterrestrial intelligent life can be inferred from our own biological, cultural and scientific evolution and the likely future of mankind. The first part of the book provides the necessary background information from space and life sciences, thus making the book also accessible to students and the scientifically educated layman. -The first book of its kind that goes beyond the popular science level.
This book addresses all those interested in the origins, development and fate of intelligent species in the observable part of our universe. In particular, the author scrutinizes what kind of information about extraterrestrial intelligent life can be inferred from our own biological, cultural and scientific evolution and the likely future of mankind. The first part of the book provides the necessary background information from space and life sciences, thus making the book also accessible to students and the scientifically educated layman. -The first book of its kind that goes beyond the popular science level.
Have you ever wondered what could happen when we discover another communicating species outside the Earth? This book addresses this question in all its complexity. In addition to the physical barriers for communication, such as the enormous distances where a message can take centuries to reach its recipient, the book also examines the biological problems of communicating between species, the problems of identifying a non-Terrestrial intelligence, and the ethical, religious, legal and other problems of conducting discussions across light years. Most of the book is concerned with issues that could impinge on your life: how do we share experiences with ETI? Can we make shared laws? Could we trade? Would they have religion? The book addresses these and related issues, identifying potential barriers to communication and suggesting ways we can overcome them. The book explores this topic through reference to human experience, through analogy and thought experiment, while relying on what is known to-date about ourselves, our world, and the cosmos we live in.
Raymond L. Neubauer presents a view of nature that describes rising complexity in life in terms of increasing information content, first in genes and then in brains. The evolution of the nervous system expanded the capacity to store information with relatively open-ended programs, making learning possible. Portraying four species with high brain-to-body ratios&mdashchimpanzees, elephants, ravens, and dolphins&mdashNeubauer shows how each shares with humans the capability for complex communication, social relationships, flexible behavior, tool use, and powers of abstraction. He describes this constellation of qualities as an emergent self, arguing that humanity is not the only self-aware species and that human characteristics are embedded in the evolutionary process and are emerging in a variety of lineages on our planet. Neubauer ultimately shows that human culture is not a unique offshoot of a language-specialized primate, but an extension of a fundamental strategy that organisms have used since the beginning of life on earth to gather information and buffer themselves from environmental fluctuations. Neubauer also views these processes in a cosmic setting, detailing open thermodynamic systems that become more complex as the energy flowing through them increases. Similar processes of increasing complexity can be found in "self-organizing" structures in both living and non-living forms. Recent evidence from astronomy indicates that planet formation may be nearly as frequent as star formation. In February 2011, NASA announced that the Kepler space telescope had located fifty-four planets in the habitable zones around their stars. Life makes use of the elements most commonly seeded into space by burning and exploding stars, and the evolution of life and intelligence that occurred on our planet may be common across the universe.
Examines each of these parameters in crucial depth and makes the argument that life forms we would recognize may be more common in our solar system than many assume. Considers exotic forms of life that would not have to rely on carbon as the basic chemical element, solar energy as the main energy source, or water as the primary solvent and the question of detecting bio- and geosignatures of such life forms, ranging from earth environments to deep space. Seeks an operational definition of life and investigate the realm of possibilities that nature offers to realize this very special state of matter. Avoids scientific jargon wherever possible to make this intrinsically interdisciplinary subject understandable to a broad range of readers.
Astrobiology, the study of life and its existence in the universe, is one of the hottest areas of scientific research. Lewis Dartnell considers some of the fascinating questions facing researchers today. Could life exist anywhere else in the universe? What might aliens really look like? Dartnell explains why Earth is uniquely suited for life and reveals our profound connection to the cosmos.
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