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The search for life in the universe

Author: Donald Goldsmith; Tobias C Owen
Publisher: Sausalito, Calif. : University Science Books, ©2002.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 3rd edView all editions and formats

This book presents astronomy from the standpoint of estimating the likelihood of extraterrestrial life and the possibilities of finding it. It covers the fundamentals of astronomy, origins and  Read more...


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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Donald Goldsmith; Tobias C Owen
ISBN: 1891389165 9781891389160
OCLC Number: 45066178
Description: xvi, 573 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm
Contents: Part One: Why Do We Search? Chapter 1 The Search from the Human PerspectiveThe Quest for Life's OriginsThe Importance of MarsThe Scientific View of the UniverseThe Laws of NatureApplying Scientific Thinking in Everyday LifeThe Scientific Method in the Search for Extraterrestrial LifeCosmic LonelinessA Conservative Approach to the Search for LifeSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingPart Two: The UniverseChapter 2 The Universe Small and LargeThe Distances to Astronomical ObjectsThe Scale of the Solar SystemMeasuring Stellar Distances with the Parallax EffectEstimating Distances with the Inverse-Square Brightness LawThe Spectra of StarsSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 3 The Birthplaces of StarsProbing the Spaces Between the StarsRadio Waves from Interstellar Hydrogen AtomsInterstellar Dust GrainsInterstellar MoleculesMolecular CloudsThe Different Types of Molecules in Molecular CloudsDid Life Begin in Interstellar Clouds?The Birth of StarsHow Many Stars Form with Planets?SummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 4 Energy Liberation in StarsTypes of StarsThe Temperature-Luminosity DiagramRed Giants and White DwarfsStellar LifetimesHow Stars Liberate EnergyThe Proton-Proton CycleThe Important of Temperature Inside StarsThe Struggle Between Gravity and PressureThe Influence of Mass on Stellar LifetimesSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 5 How Stars End Their LivesNuclear Fuel Consumption in StarsThe Evolution of StarsThe Red-Giant PhaseWhite DwarfsCould Civilizations Exist Around White Dwarfs?Supernova ExplosionsThe Production of Heavy Elements in SupernovaeThe Effects of Supernovae on Later Generations of StarsCosmic RaysBlack HolesPulsars: Cosmic Lighthouses?Precise Pulsar Timing Reveals the Existence of Planets!The Binary Pulsar and Gravity RadiationGamma-Ray Bursters: Mysterious Powerhouses of the CosmosSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 6 Galaxies and the Expanding UniverseSpiral GalaxiesElliptical GalaxiesIrregular GalaxiesThe Formation of GalaxiesStar ClustersRadio GalaxiesThe Doppler Shift and the Expanding UniverseThe Big BangThe Cosmic Background of PhotonsThe Hypothesis of the Inflationary UniverseDark Matter on the Largest Scales of DistanceIs the Universe Finite or Infinite?Will the Universe Expand Forever?QuasarsAccretion Disks and Supermassive Black HolesCould Quasars Be Intergalactic Beacons?SummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingPart Three: LifeChapter 7 The Nature of Life on EarthWhat Is Life?Biologically Important CompoundsThe Capacity to ReproduceDNA Does More than Govern ReproductionEvolution and the Arrow of TimeEnergyThe Unity of LifeSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 8 The Origin of LifeHow Earth Got Its AtmosphereThe Evolution of the AtmosphereThe Effects of Life on the Evolution of Earth's AtmosphereEarly Ideas About the Origin of LifeThe Chemical Evolution Model for the Origin of LifeAn Experimental Test of the Primordial-Soup ModelDid Life Really Originate in This Manner?An External AlternativePolymerizationIs Our Starting Point Too Advanced?Beyond PolymersSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 9 From Molecules to MindsProkaryotesEukaryotesThe Great Leap ForwardSuitable Stars for LifeLife on Other PlanetsEvolution and the Development of IntelligenceIs Intelligence Inevitable?Future Evolution on EarthThe Web of LifeSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 10 How Strange Can Life Be?The Chemistry of Alien LifeThe Superiority of CarbonSolventsNonchemical LifeBlack CloudsLife on Neutron StarsGravitational LifeThe Advantages of Being AverageSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingPart Four: The Search for Life in the Solar SystemChapter 11 The Origin and Early History of the Solar SystemThe Formation of the Solar SystemCometsAsteroids, Meteoroids, and MeteoritesBombardment of the Inner Planets: A Threat to Life?MeteoritesAmino Acids in MeteoritesMercury and the MoonThe Early History of the Earth and the MoonHuman Exploration of the MoonSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 12 VenusThe Temperature and Rotation of VenusThe Atmosphere of VenusThe Greenhouse EffectWhy Is Venus So Different from Earth?Life on Venus?Exploration of Venus by SpacecraftSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 13 MarsModern Observations of MarsResults from Early Space Probes to MarsThe Viking ProjectMars After VikingFurther Missions to MarsPhobos and DeimosSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 14 Is There Life on Mars?How to Find Martian MicroorganismsThe Viking Results: Atmospheric AnalysisThe Viking Results: Soil AnalysisThe Viking Biology ExperimentsResults of the Viking Biology ExperimentsDid the Vikings Land in the Wrong Places?An Ancient Eden? Goals for Future ExplorationRocks from Mars! A Preview of Coming AttractionsWhat Went Wrong on Mars?Epilogue: What About That Face on Mars?SummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 15 The Giant Planets and Their SatellitesSpacecraft to the Outer Solar SystemThe Composition of the Giant PlanetsChemistry on the Giant PlanetsCould Life Exist on the Giant Planets?Rings and SatellitesTitanIapetus: An Intelligence Test for Earthlings?Triton: Chemistry at Low TemperaturesCosmic MessengersSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingPart Five: The Search for Extraterrestrial IntelligenceChapter 16 Is Earth Unique?Which Characteristics Distinguish Earth as an Abode of Life?Avoiding Regions of Cosmic ViolenceThe Need for Heavy ElementsThe Importance of TemperatureThe Threat of ImpactsThe Advantages of a Large MoonA Conservative Approach: Defining the Habitable Zone Around a StarWhich Stars Offer Good Habitable Zones?Can Multiple-Star Systems Provide Good Habitable Zones?Discovering Extrasolar Planets: Six Promising Methods and One Highly Successful OneSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 17 The Discovery of Extrasolar PlanetsThe Great Success: Using the Doppler Effect to Discover Extrasolar PlanetsWhat Does the Doppler-Shift Method Reveal About Extrasolar Planets?The Doppler-Shift Technique Reveals New WorldsWhy Do So Many Extrasolar Planets Orbit Extremely Close to Their Stars?The Importance of Jupiter's DistanceThe Mystery of EccentricityHow Many Stars Have Planets with the Right Conditions for Life?Alternative Possibilities for Habitable PlanetsHow Many Habitable Planets Exist in the Milky Way?How Can We Discover Earthlike Planets Around Other Stars?SummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 18 Extraterrestrial Civilizations: How Many? How Distant?How Many Civilizations Exist?Estimating the Number of Civilizations by Using the Drake EquationThe Importance of SurvivalHow Eager are Civilizations for Contact?How Widely Separated Are Civilizations in the Milky Way?Further Advances of Intelligent CivilizationsSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 19 Interstellar SpaceflightSending Information: Photons Versus RocketsInterstellar SpaceshipsFaster, Larger, More ExpensiveWhen Time Slows DownThe Difficulties of High-Velocity SpaceflightAutomated Message ProbesSummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 20 Interstellar Radio and Television MessagesWhere Should We Look?What Frequencies Should We Search?What Frequency Bandwidth and Total Frequency Range to Examine?How Can We Recognize Another Civilization?The Present State of Radio Searches for other CivilizationsWhat Messages Could We Send or Expect to Receive?A Crucial Difference: Beamed Signals versus EavesdroppingDo SETI Searches Limit Themselves Too Severely by Relying on Radio Waves?SummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 21 Extraterrestrial Visitors to Earth?What Evidence Do We Seek?Four Representative UFO SightingsDifficulties in Verifying the Spacecraft HypothesisClassification of UFO ReportsArguments for the Spacecraft HypothesisSome Conclusions About UFOsWhat About a Government Conspiracy?Von Daniken: Charlatan of the Gods?SummaryKey TermsQuestionsFurther ReadingChapter 22 Where Is Everybody?We May Be Alone, or Nearly SoAdvanced Civilizations May Have Little Interest in CommunicationWe Are Still a Primitive CivilizationEpilogue: The Search ContinuesFurther ReadingAppendixGlossaryIndex
Responsibility: Donald Goldsmith, Tobias Owen.


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