Until a few years ago scientists believed that habitable zones around stars were fairly narrow. Today, after the discovery of 250 planets around other stars, they have had to reconsider the basic requirements for life and even how to define life. Impey, a noted astronomer at the University of Arizona and observer with the Hubble telescope, takes readers on a journey from the emergence of life on a still bubbling Earth to possible scenarios for our descendants fleeing a dying sun. Impey pays more attention than many writers to the importance of star types and their location in the galactic neighborhood for producing and sustaining planets. He shows how resilient microbes may be able to survive light-year-long journeys huddled deep within meteors and comets, and that we now know that the moons in our solar system alone offer an amazing range of possibly favorable environments for life, from the ice oceans on Jupiter's moons to the methane geology of Titan. Impey makes good use of his extensive teaching background in this carefully laid-out book. Readers with little formal science background will enjoy this wild ride through the ages and deep space as much as will dedicated SETI buffs. B&w illus.
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'Lively, clear and up-to-date overview of astronomy, cosmology, biology and evolution, specifically as related to the search for extraterrestrial life ... [Impey] does an impressive job explaining an avalanche of information, including such recent major discoveries as the first planets found orbiting distant stars. A skilful account of the universe, the nature of life and where in the universe life might occur.' Kirkus Reviews
'There has been a recent flood of books about astrobiology - the study of life in the universe - but this latest effort by astronomer Chris Impey is one of the best. It provides a solid overview of the diverse research involved ... beautifully written.' The New Scientist
'Impey has written a wonderfully readable book about the chances of life existing elsewhere in the universe ... But The Living Cosmos is not about just that. It is an overview of everything you need to know about the fundamentals, including how we got here and where we're probably going. More important, the science - a word that often causes eyes to glaze over - is laid out with uncommon clarity and panache.' Sara Lippincott, Los Angeles Times
'Chris Impey, one of the world's most distinguished astronomers, takes an exhaustive and illuminating look at astrobiology ... Consistently engrossing and provocative, and frequently absolutely mind-blowing in its implications, The Living Cosmos is filled with scientific details but it remains accessible to readers without a background in astronomy and science. This book is most highly recommended.' Book Loons Reviews
'Impey has clearly done his research thoroughly, and interviewed a great number of the key scientists whilst writing the book ... The Living Cosmos is not only comprehensive in its treatment of the great breadth of astrobiology research, but is also beautifully written. Each chapter opens with an engaging account, full of imagery, of the upcoming topic. On the whole, this is a sterling attempt at making astrobiology accessible to a general audience and I enjoyed reading it immensely.' Lewis Dartnell, Astrobiology Society of Great Britain
'Chris Impey provides a broad, accessible context for his thoughtful, engaging and up-to-date take on the quest for extra terrestrial life.' Bruce Jakosky, Nature
'Chris Impey surveys the state of the art in this exciting multidisciplinary field. Impey frames his book around three questions: How many habitable worlds are there? Is biology unique to the Earth? And are there other intelligent civilizations? Complete with a companion website featuring podcasts, video clips, interviews, news stories and original artwork, The Living Cosmos provides an eloquent summary of humankind's quest for life elsewhere.' Scientific American Book Club
'This is a book about a science that is changing our view of the universe and about what life really means and where it might exist. Impey provides us with a road map to the future of astrobiology, a map that is meant to lead us into a deeper understanding of life and man's station in the universe.' National Space Society
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