Description : Ever since Carl Sagan first predicted that extraterrestrial civilizations must number in the millions, the search for life on other planets has gripped our imagination. Is Earth so rare that advanced life forms like us--or even the simplest biological organisms--are unique to the universe? How to Find a Habitable Planet describes how scientists are testing Sagan's prediction, and demonstrates why Earth may not be so rare after all. James Kasting has worked closely with NASA in its mission to detect habitable worlds outside our solar system, and in this book he introduces readers to the advanced methodologies being used in this extraordinary quest. He addresses the compelling questions that planetary scientists grapple with today: What exactly makes a planet habitable? What are the signatures of life astronomers should look for when they scan the heavens for habitable worlds? In providing answers, Kasting explains why Earth has remained habitable despite a substantial rise in solar luminosity over time, and why our neighbors, Venus and Mars, haven't. If other Earth-sized planets endowed with enough water and carbon are out there, he argues, chances are good that some of those planets sustain life. Kasting describes the efforts under way to find them, and predicts that future discoveries will profoundly alter our view of the universe and our place in it. This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever dreamed of finding other planets like ours--and perhaps even life like ours--in the cosmos. In a new afterword, Kasting presents some recent breakthroughs in the search for exoplanets and discusses the challenges facing space programs in the near future.
Description : Habitable Planets for Man examines and estimates the probabilities of finding planets habitable to man, where they might be found, and the number there may be in our own galaxy. The author presents in detail the characteristics of a planet that can provide an acceptable environment for humankind, itemizes the stars nearest the earth most likely to possess habitable planets, and discusses how to search for habitable planets. Interestingly for our time, he also gives an appraisal of the earth as a planet and describes how its habitability would be changed if some of its basic properties were altered. This is a reprint of an edition originally published in 1964.
Description : Astrophysical research has led to the detection of thousands of planets outside the Solar System. About one-tenth of the extrasolar planets discovered so far reside in binary- or multi-stellar systems, and some of the closest known rocky exoplanets populate these multiple-star systems. While such environments seem good places to look for a second Earth, can Earth-like planets with two or more suns be habitable? And do solar system-like configurations have to be detected to find a habitable exo-Earth?This book addresses these questions. Starting with a brief overview of the various types of double star-planet configurations that have been observed so far, the book discusses the intriguing variety of planetary motion in such environments, taking into account the stellar type, evolution, and activity, and elaborates on how the presence of an additional stellar companion affects planet formation, system architectures and the habitability of planets in binary star systems. New methodologies developed in this area of research are explained and demonstrated for systems such as Alpha-Centauri, HD41004, Kepler-35, and many others. This monograph provides a grand entry to the exciting results that we expect from new missions like TESS, CHEOPS and Plato.
Description : Evolution and the Emergent Self is an eloquent and evocative new synthesis that explores how the human species emerged from the cosmic dust. Lucidly presenting ideas about the rise of complexity in our genetic, neuronal, ecological, and ultimately cosmological settings, the author takes readers on a provocative tour of modern science's quest to understand our place in nature and in our universe. Readers fascinated with "Big History" and drawn to examine big ideas will be challenged and enthralled by Raymond L. Neubauer's ambitious narrative. How did humans emerge from the cosmos and the pre-biotic Earth, and what mechanisms of biological, chemical, and physical sciences drove this increasingly complex process? Neubauer presents a view of nature that describes the rising complexity of life in terms of increasing information content, first in genes and then in brains. The evolution of the nervous system expanded the capacity of organisms to store information, making learning possible. In key chapters, the author portrays four species with high brain:body ratios—chimpanzees, elephants, ravens, and dolphins—showing how each species shares with humans the capacity for complex communication, elaborate social relationships, flexible behavior, tool use, and powers of abstraction. A large brain can have a hierarchical arrangement of circuits that facilitates higher levels of abstraction. Neubauer describes this constellation of qualities as an emergent self, arguing that self-awareness is nascent in several species besides humans and that potential human characteristics are embedded in the evolutionary process and have emerged repeatedly in a variety of lineages on our planet. He ultimately demonstrates that human culture is not a unique offshoot of a language-specialized primate, but an analogue of fundamental mechanisms that organisms have used since the beginning of life on Earth to gather and process information in order to buffer themselves from fluctuations in the environment. Neubauer also views these developments in a cosmic setting, detailing open thermodynamic systems that grow more complex as the energy flowing through them increases. Similar processes of increasing complexity can be found in the "self-organizing" structures of both living and nonliving forms. Recent evidence from astronomy indicates that planet formation may be nearly as frequent as star formation. Since life makes use of the elements commonly seeded into space by burning and expiring stars, it is reasonable to speculate that the evolution of life and intelligence that happened on our planet may be found across the universe.
Description : An engaging account of our quest for habitable environments, recounting fascinating recent discoveries and providing insight into future space missions.
Description : This book explains how it came to be that Venus and Earth, while very similar in chemical composition, zonation, size and heliocentric distance from the Sun, are very different in surface environmental conditions. It is argued here that these differences can be accounted for by planetoid capture processes and the subsequent evolution of the planet-satellite system. Venus captured a one-half moon-mass planetoid early in its history in the retrograde direction and underwent its “fatal attraction scenario” with its satellite (Adonis). Earth, on the other hand, captured a moon-mass planetoid (Luna) early in its history in prograde orbit and underwent a benign estrangement scenario with its captured satellite.
Description : The search for life in other worlds begins with the search for a habitable planet. This book explores the “Goldilocks Zone,” a defined area that is perfect for harboring life in our universe. Readers will find out how scientists are finding habitable planets by using terrestrial and orbiting telescopes to search these regions. Readers will also get to know how extreme zones on Earth are helping scientists redefine their concept of “habitable” and what kind of life we might find. Fascinating full-color photographs and artist renderings from NASA illustrate this fascinating hunt.
Description : The search for life in the universe is one of the most challenging topics of science. It is not a modern topic at all, since more than 100 years ago, it was speculated that on the Moon, there are oceans and seas; on Venus, there are swamps and also Mars is inhabitated. However, now we have the scienti?c background and the scienti?c tools to answer this question and it is also certain that the answer would have deep imp- cations for our culture, philosophy, and religions. If we ?nd that life has developed on other planets or satellites of giant planets, then this would be the ?nal breakdown of our central position in the universe. But is life a widespread phenomenon? How vulnerable is it to changing conditions and even catastrophic events? These topics will be discussed in this book. If life is in the extreme case a unique phenomenon found only on planet Earth, which seems to be highly unrealistic, then also it is important to discuss how it is adaptable to changing external conditions. Can we survive a cosmic catastrophe? How do these catastrophes change habitability? Which forms of life are more v- nerable? It was mentioned that now science has made great progress to answer such qu- tions. Let us give some examples. In modern biology, in connection with organic chemistry, the origin of life is studied.