We Are Not Alone – Why We Have Already Found Extraterrestrial Life by Dirk Schulze-Makuch and David Darling; Oneworld Publications, New York, New York; (soft cover) $19.95; 2010.
Extraterrestrial life is astrobiological fact – no longer a head-scratching question to ponder.
That’s the argument advanced by the authors in a captivating look at the latest news on the search for life elsewhere. This writing duo spotlights credible evidence for life within our own solar system, not just light years away in a galaxy far, far away.
The reader will find an intriguing look at the recent NASA Phoenix Mars lander mission and the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) – what Phoenix found and what MSL is built to study.
“The endgame in our long quest for life on Mars has begun, and a positive outcome seems likely,” the authors explain. Moreover, the next few years may well break the grip of stalemate science that has been the outcome of both the early Viking missions to Mars and the infamous case of meteorite ALH 84001 – the so-called “Mars rock.”
This book also provides a look at other solar system spots, such as whether life exists below the frozen oceans of several moons belonging to Jupiter and Saturn. Furthermore, could the veil of Venus clouds be swarming with airborne bacteria?
Dirk Schulze-Makuch is an astrobiologist at Washington State University. David Darling is an award winning popular science writer – so there’s a great blend of talent in making this book an engaging and thought provoking read.
In building their case, the authors conclude the book with a variety of claims, among them: the Viking landers did indeed find life on Mars; there’s a reasonable chance that the lower cloud deck of Venus is rife with life; and the moons Europa, Titan and Enceladus are outstanding candidates for life very different than life found on our planet.
This is a very accessible, enjoyable and easy to understand look at life beyond Earth. After reading this book, you won’t look at all the new imagery of Mars, Venus and the distant moons of Jupiter and Saturn quite the same way.
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By Leonard David