The recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and possible microfossils in Martian meteorite ALH 84001 are only the latest developments in a debate that spans millennia, and that has been especially heated in the twentieth century. From the furore over Percival Lowell's claim of canals on Mars at the beginning of the century to the biological experiments of the Viking spacecraft, the controversial 'Mars rock', and the sophisticated Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) at its end, otherworldly life has often titillated and occasionally consumed science and the public. So too have crucially related areas such as the search for planetary systems, the quest for an explanation of UFOs, and inquiries into the origin of life. The theme has been elaborated in science fiction from H. G. Wells to Arthur C. Clarke, and resulted in some of the most popular films of all time, including ET, Aliens, Independence Day, and Contact. Life on Other Worlds details in a readable and non-technical manner the history of the twentieth century extraterrestrial life debate, one of the pervasive themes of our century.
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(228mm x 152mm x 24mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
The author is an expert on his subject, and has written a comprehensive overview of the debate about the possibility of life on other planets. The text is mostly grey and the illustrations colourless, but the book is packed with information and gripping to read. He covers everything - science fiction, the UFO debate, astronomy, the scientific basis for thinking that other forms of life exist, and the cultural implications of making contact with it. This is as good an overview of the subject as you could find, and shows that although pretty pictures are nice, they are not essential to make a good book. And, yes, it has an excellent guide to further reading and a good index. (Kirkus UK)
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