Strangers in the Night: A Brief History of Life on Other Worlds (Cornelia & Michael Bessie Series)

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9781887178877: Strangers in the Night: A Brief History of Life on Other Worlds (Cornelia & Michael Bessie Series)
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Presents a history of humankind's attempts to discover extraterrestrial life, including the Mars Underground, SERENDIP, and Project Phoenix

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Every one of us with an ounce of imagination has wondered, at least once or twice, whether or not living things make their homes... up there. Life on other planets is simply too compelling a subject to let go, and so we spend hundreds of millions of dollars looking for its traces. This search has been documented by the father-son team of cosmochemist David E. Fisher and writer Marshall Jon Fisher with Strangers in the Night, a clever, scientifically rigorous look at the evidence and the explorers hoping to answer the question "Does intelligent life exist elsewhere (or anywhere) in the universe?"

From the lunar canals "discovered" by Schiaperelli in the 19th century to SETI to the Martian meteorite, the Fishers paint a picture of scientists struggling with the excitements and disappointments inherent to their work. Forced to draw inferences from the barest traces of indirect evidence, researchers from fields as diverse as oceanography, cosmology, and microbiology have banded together to develop the still-emerging discipline of exobiology. With a fair and competent assessment of the evidence, Strangers in the Night tells us that, though the answer to the question "are we alone?" is still elusive, we are coming ever closer and may just know for sure before long.

Keep watching the skies! --Rob Lightner

From Library Journal:

A nuclear physicist and a journalist, respectively, the Fishers (Tube: The Invention of Television, Counterpoint, 1996), a father-and-son team, review scientific research on the possibility of life beyond Earth, beginning with Percival Lowell's claims about canals on Mars and continuing right up to recent discoveries of planets around other stars and NASA's announcement of possible microorganisms on a meteorite from Mars. Intended for lay readers, their book covers much the same ground as Michael Lemonick's Other Worlds (LJ 4/1/98) and is equally good. Dick is an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory whose Life on Other Worlds, an abridged and updated version of The Biological Universe (Cambridge Univ., 1996), is deeper and broader than the Lemonick and Fisher books. In addition to reviewing scientific work on extraterrestrial life, he also explores the connections to science fiction, the UFO controversy, and some modern philosophers' musings. His book is aimed at a fairly sophisticated audience and is strongly recommended for all academic libraries.?Jack W. Weigel, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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