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How to Find a Habitable Planet (Science Essentials) Hardcover – January 17, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0691138053 ISBN-10: 0691138052 Edition: F First Edition
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Editorial Reviews


"This is a very well-written book that serves perfectly as an introduction for the lay reader to astrobiology and the search for life beyond Earth, and it also presents some important and up-to-date material for the specialist researcher. Of particular note for me is Kasting's rebuttal of several aspects of the Rare Earth hypothesis and his discussion of the features that truly are crucial for planetary habitability."--Lewis Dartnell, Times Higher Education

"How to Find a Habitable Planet will fascinate those who care about the evolution of Earth's climate and wonder about how we will eventually detect life--even simple cellular life--elsewhere."--Nature

"He argues persuasively that Earth's large moon and strong magnetic field are red herrings; neither is a prerequisite for life. The second part of his book is a detailed account of the search for Earth-like exoplanets, and prospects for future success."--New Scientist

"Kasting, a key planner for future NASA missions seeking Earth-like exoplanets, possesses a deep understanding of all the multifarious complexities that feed into forming--and finding--living worlds. He writes about these topics, for all their profundity, with remarkable precision and clarity, drawing clear linkages between what we observe through telescopes with what we see right here, in the only biosphere we know. How to Find a Habitable Planet is a canonical guide to the probable future of humanity's search for life elsewhere in the Universe."--SEED Magazine

"A 'popular textbook', low on speculation but high on nuts-and-bolts science, it covers everything from the habitable zones around other stars to how to find other Earths. If I had to choose just one of these books, it would be Kasting's."--Marcus Chown, BBC Focus Magazine

"Written in a clear and often conversational style--and infused throughout with Kasting's personal optimism regarding the existence of, and our ability to detect, habitable and inhabited worlds beyond our own--this is an informative and worthwhile read for anyone who looks to the stars and wonders if there is anybody out there."--Tori M. Hoehler, Nature Geoscience

"As Kasting shows in his technical but readable How to Find a Habitable Planet, we are making rapid progress in discovering planets around distant stars--almost 500 so far."--Clive Cookson, Financial Times

"Kasting's book . . . is a readable guide to the many things we have just begun to understand about a solar system."--Tim Radford, The Guardian

"A concise yet thorough scientific explanation of how we can narrow down the search [for habitable planets]. . . . Kasting is a world leader in planetary habitability and works closely with NASA. He gives insight into the latest technology being used to hunt for habitable plants, describes the signatures of life that scientists are looking for and makes his predictions for the future of the field. . . . Thorough and interesting."--Cosmos Magazine

"An excellent book on a fascinating topic."--Choice

"Even if you were not interested in finding intelligence elsewhere in the universe, How to Find a Habitable Planet provides an excellent and accessible account of the formation and history of our own planet, and indeed our solar system."--John Gribbin, Literary Review

"In How to Find a Habitable Planet, James Kasting begins by describing various factors that geophysicists, astrobiologists and others have deemed necessary (or at least desirable) for producing planets capable of supporting life. . . . How to Find a Habitable Planet offers an eloquent explanation of why such a mission would still be desirable."--Physics World

"[Kasting is] an excellent writer, capable of breaking down complex topics into clear and accessible pieces. That skill makes this first-of-its-kind book not just unique but probably indispensible for students and armchair planetologists."--Charlene Brusso, Ad Astra

From the Back Cover

"A fascinating read--everything you need to know about habitable worlds."--Sara Seager, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"I very much enjoyed reading this book. Kasting writes clearly and explains the issues in an easy-to-follow manner. I learned several new things from this book. I will certainly recommend it to colleagues and students."--Christopher McKay, NASA Ames Research Center

"We now know quite a bit about planets, and a lot of this knowledge has arrived relatively recently. This book is right up to date. Kasting was directly involved in work that defined the overall technological and scientific goals for upcoming NASA missions to detect potentially habitable worlds beyond our solar system. How to Find a Habitable Planet is a significant contribution to the field."--Gregory Laughlin, University of California, Santa Cruz


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Product Details

  • Series: Science Essentials
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; F First Edition edition (January 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691138052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691138053
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Toda Mura on July 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When I read "How to Find a Habitable Planet", I used a picture of the earth, shot from the moon, as a reading sign.

The blue and white earth, as it is seen before the background of the sheer darkness of outer space, is also the best position to read the book. Have a look at the Earth from the outside. Look at it as just another planet.

The book looks at the earth, the climate, that makes it habitable, but it also deals with the finding of habitable planets in other solar systems. Roughly the first two thirds deal with the Earth, while the last third deals with the finding of other earths. (the table of content can be viewed under "look inside").

The book has a high information density. The author writes crisp clear and avoids unnecessary talk. Obviously James Kasting knows what he is talking about. If one isn`t interested in other planets there is plenty of information to be had about our planet Earth. If one is only interested in "how to find a new earth" there is plenty of information to be had as well. Either one is well catered for. Of course if you are interested in both areas you will find the book most rewarding.
Anyone interested in the planet Earth and science will find the book insightful and stimulating.

However without some scientific knowledge this book might be just a little bit too academic.

Considering that the book is aimed at a wider audience the level is set quiet high.

The positive impression is underlined by its high quality design.

"How to Find a Habitable Planet" is an excellent book, which one will occasionally take out of the bookshelf, even after having read it for the first time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judith A. Peterson on February 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is incredibly exciting. It explains, briefly but clearly, so many, many facts and ideas I have run across in my researches. It also leads to many other interesting questions and avenues for research and thought. If you are interested in why life exists on Earth or other places, you should read this book. It certainly points to the complex reasons for Earth's climatic cycles and leads to a deeply grateful feeling- I am alive on this wonderful planet now and I exist at a time when the knowledge and technology are here to study it. Just great fun. Thanks, James Kasting for writing this book.
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3 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alex K. Chen (Simfish InquilineKea) on May 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It may be slightly too advanced for the general public.

But for those who are undergraduates (where there aren't a lot of good popular science books), the book is simply amazing.

I don't have the time for a full review right now, but I'll finish one up later.
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