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Alien Seas [Kindle Edition]

Michael Carroll , Rosaly Lopes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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 But they have been replaced by the reality of something even more exotic.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.


Editorial Reviews

Review

From the reviews:

“Space artist and science writer Carroll (The Seventh Landing, CH, Feb’10, 47-3129) and research scientist Lopes (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech) provide an overview of fluids in Earth’s solar system and possibly elsewhere. … Summing Up: Recommended. General readers.” (N. W. Hinman, Choice, Vol. 51 (9), May, 2014)

“The slender volume contains essays by many active planetary scientists who also happen to be excellent writers … . they each deliver an up-to-date yet concise and accessible summary of the state of planetary science for each different kind of world in the solar system. … the volume is abundantly illustrated with both well-selected photos and lots of artworks by Michael Carroll … . This is an excellent gift book for the space enthusiast in your life, or even for a science-obsessed high school student.” (Emily Lakdawalla, The Planetary Society - Emily’s Blog planetary.org, December, 2013)

“Through beautifully-written essays by some of the most knowledgeable scientists in the field … this book takes us by the hand, lifts us off the Earth, takes us to the edges of those alien seas, sits us down on their beaches, and tells us their stories. … this book would be worth buying. … this book’s publication is very timely, and offers readers a great opportunity to ‘catch up’ with the state of this area of planetary science. … Get it. You’ll love it.” (Cumbrian Sky, cumbriansky.wordpress.com, December, 2013)

“Lopes and Carroll have done a masterful job of melding chapters that feature contributions by themselves along with other leading scientists and planetary researchers. … this book is a treasure trove of information. … volume contains 105 illustrations, with 60 illustrations in color, including new artwork by the talented Michael Carroll that depicts alien seas as well as the latest ground-based and spacecraft images. You’ll find a wonderful read here … with the text punctuated by original diagrams that detail planetary oceans and related processes.” (Spacecoalition.com, December, 2013)

From the Back Cover

In the early days of planetary observation, oceans were thought to exist in all corners of the Solar System. Carbonated seas percolated beneath the clouds of Venus. Features on the Moon's surface were 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 been replaced by the reality of something even more exotic.

Alien Seas serves up the current research, past beliefs, and new theories to offer a rich array of the "seas" on other worlds. It is organized by location and by the material composing the oceans under discussion, with expert authors penning chapters on their  specialty. Each chapter features new original art depicting alien seas, as well as the latest ground-based and spacecraft images. With the contributors as guides, readers can explore the wild seas of Jupiter's watery satellite Europa, believed similar in composition to battery acid. Saturn's planet-sized moon Titan seems to be subject to methane or ethane rainfall that become vast lakes and, perhaps, seasonal oceans. Titan and Mars have seas of sand, large shifting dunes covering huge plains, while Venus may have ‘oceans’ of frozen lava. The possibilities are excitingly endless and ripe for exploration.

Contributors:

Kevin Baines

Jeffrey Bennett

James Cameron

Michael Carroll

Mona Delitsky

David Grinspoon

Rosaly Lopes

Christopher P. McKay

Karl Mitchell

Robert Pappalardo

Timothy Parker

Jani Radebaugh

John Spencer


Product Details

  • File Size: 5469 KB
  • Print Length: 119 pages
  • Publisher: Springer New York; 1 edition (July 19, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00E3BWMPI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #756,981 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Sea to Shining Sea -- Across the Solar System December 19, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In this relatively concise volume, the reader can nevertheless travel across our solar system as did the seafaring explorers of our own planet's historic past, discovering new harbors and vistas. Although the Earth and the moon called Titan are the only places we know of with oceans at their surface, many seas may well have been present on other planets in the past. Still others apparently lurk beneath their ice-covered surfaces even today.

The authors have brought together experts on each planet and several large moons to contribute chapters on the seas that are and the seas that might have been. James Cameron provides a fitting Forward, with personal and fascinating descriptions of his first-ever forays into the deepest part of Earth's ocean, the Challenger Deep.
But a sea is a sea if it is liquid, or fluid. For Earth, it is water; for Titan, it is closest to what we would call liquefied natural gas, almost as cold as liquid nitrogen. For volcanic bodies, which are in abundance, it has been the molten rock forming lava lakes and ponds. For Mars, and even Earth and Titan, it is also vast "seas of sand" in deserts, forming dunes reminiscent of waves, many of which march onward, flowing around obstacles in their path.
The chapters are somewhat uneven in the technical depth versus imaginative speculations that are presented, a reflection of the personal choices of its various authors, who must walk the line between fact and conjecture to maintain their scientific integrity. Nowhere else, however, can a reader find this information without it being strongly slanted in one direction or the other. And nowhere else can be found the wonderful collection of space art paintings of seas on other worlds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent February 23, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book from a review on the Planetary Societys website. I am glad I went with their reccomendation. The book is a collection of short essays by different authors each covering a different type of sea found in the solar system. The book has plenty of technical information but remains accessible to a casual reader. After reading each topic I found myself looking online for more.
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