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Are We Alone?  Scientists Search for Life in Space

 
Is there life in outer space?

This is no longer a question only for science fiction. Scientists around the country and around the world are devoting their lives to finding the answer.

  • Jill Tarter collects radio signals from outer space and analyses them for signs that they might have come from intelligent beings far, far away.
  • Geoffrey Marcy detects planets orbiting other stars, hoping to discover some that might harbor life.
  • Max Bernstein and Jason Dworkin have made a model of frigid outer space in their lab, theorizing that life could have originated far beyond Earth.
  • Lynn Rothschild is studying organisms that live in acid springs in Yellowstone National Park; David Des Marais examines the most ancient biological communities on our planet; Cindy Lee Van Dover explores boiling-hot deep sea vents. All of them suspect that organisms that survive in these extreme environments might be like life forms on other, far more distant planets, where conditions could be just as harsh.
  • Nathalie Cabrol is looking for life in the highest lake in the world, because the terrain there is similar to Mars as it once was, billions of years ago. It was Nathalie who chose Gusev Crater as the landing site for the robot Spirit to hunt for clues of ancient Martian life.

Gloria Skurzynski, well-known writer of both science fact and science fiction, interviewed these scientists and many more for Are We Alone? Combining their words with a strong personal voice, she draws the reader deep into the up-to-the-minute search for life beyond Earth.   She says: 

“Nearly ten years ago I interviewed Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer who focused the world's attention on life beyond Earth - or its possibility.  That inspired me to visit Arecibo, where scientists watched and hoped for an extraterrestrial signal.  Next I traveled to SETI Headquarters in California, then to NASA Ames Research Center and the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle, where the "hot" topic was astrobiology.  All the scientists I spoke with were eager to share information about this exciting new field, and about their hopes for future discoveries. They believe that the next ten, or twenty, or hundred years will open up the Universe for human exploration.” 

 

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