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From Habitability to Life on Mars

From Habitability to Life on Mars
  • Author : Nathalie A. Cabrol,Edmond A. Grin
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2018-07-10
  • Total pages :390
  • ISBN : 0128099364
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Summary : From Habitability to Life on Mars explores the current state of knowledge and questions on the past habitability of Mars and the role that rapid environmental changes may have played in the ability of prebiotic chemistry to transition to life. It investigates the role that such changes may have played in the preservation of biosignatures in the geological record and what this means for exploration strategies. Throughout the book, the authors show how the investigation of terrestrial analogs to early Martian habitats under various climates and environmental extremes provide critical clues to understand where, what and how to search for biosignatures on Mars. The authors present an introduction to the newest developments and state-of-the-art remote and in situ detection strategies and technologies that are being currently developed to support the upcoming ExoMars and Mars 2020 missions. They show how the current orbital and ground exploration is guiding the selection for future landing sites. Finally, the book concludes by discussing the critical question of the implications and ethics of finding life on Mars. Edited by the lead on a NASA project that searches for habitability and life on Mars leading to the Mars 2020 mission Presents the evidence, questions and answers we have today (including a summary of the current state of knowledge in advance of the ESA ExoMars and NASA Mars 2020 missions) Includes contributions from authors directly involved in past, current and upcoming Mars missions Provides key information as to how Mars rovers, such as ExoMars and Mars 2020, will address the search for life on Mars with their instrumentation

The Search for Life on Mars

The Search for Life on Mars
  • Author : Elizabeth Howell,Nicholas Booth
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2020-06-23
  • Total pages :400
  • ISBN : 1950691667
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Summary : Published to coincide with the launch of NASA’s Perseverance rover mission this summer, the definitive account of our quest to find life on the Red Planet. From The War of the Worlds to The Martian and to the amazing photographs sent back by the robotic rovers Curiosity and Opportunity, Mars has excited our imaginations as the most likely other habitat for life in the solar system. Now the Red Planet is coming under scrutiny as never before. As new missions are scheduled to launch this year from the United States and China, and with the European Space Agency's ExoMars mission now scheduled for 2022, this book recounts in full the greatest scientific detective story ever. For the first time in forty years, the missions heading to Mars will look for signs of ancient life on the world next door. It is the latest chapter in an age‑old quest that encompasses myth, false starts, red herrings, and bizarre coincidences—as well as triumphs and heartbreaking failures. This book, by two journalists with deep experience covering space exploration, is the definitive story of how life's discovery has eluded us to date, and how it will be found somewhere and sometime this century. The Search for Life on Mars is based on more than a hundred interviews with experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and elsewhere, who share their insights and stories. While it looks back to the early Mars missions such as Viking 1 and 2, the book's focus is on the experiments and revelations from the most recent ones—including Curiosity, which continues to explore potentially habitable sites where water was once present, and the Mars Insight lander, which has recorded more than 450 marsquakes since its deployment in late 2018—as well as on the Perseverance and ExoMars rover missions ahead. And the book looks forward to the newest, most exciting frontier of all: the day, not too far away, when humans will land, make the Red Planet their home, and look for life directly.

Lakes on Mars

Lakes on Mars
  • Author : Nathalie A. Cabrol,Edmond A. Grin
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2010-09-15
  • Total pages :410
  • ISBN : 9780080931623
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Summary : On Earth, lakes provide favorable environments for the development of life and its preservation as fossils. They are extremely sensitive to climate fluctuations and to conditions within their watersheds. As such, lakes are unique markers of the impact of environmental changes. Past and current missions have now demonstrated that water once flowed at the surface of Mars early in its history. Evidence of ancient ponding has been uncovered at scales ranging from a few kilometers to possibly that of the Arctic ocean. Whether life existed on Mars is still unknown; upcoming missions may find critical evidence to address this question in ancient lakebeds as clues about Mars’ climate evolution and its habitability potential are still preserved in their sedimentary record. Lakes on Mars is the first review on this subject. It is written by leading planetary scientists who have dedicated their careers to searching and exploring the questions of water, lakes, and oceans on Mars through their involvement in planetary exploration, and the analysis of orbital and ground data beginning with Viking up to the most recent missions. In thirteen chapters, Lakes on Mars critically discusses new data and explores the role that water played in the evolution of the surface of Mars, the past hydrological provinces of the planet, the possibility of heated lake habitats through enhanced geothermal flux associated with volcanic activity and impact cratering. The book also explores alternate hypotheses to explain the geological record. Topographic, morphologic, stratigraphic, and mineralogic evidence are presented that suggest successions of ancient lake environments in Valles Marineris and Hellas. The existence of large lakes and/or small oceans in Elysium and the Northern Plains is supported both by the global distribution of deltaic deposits and by equipotential surfaces that may reflect their past margins. Whether those environments were conducive to life has yet to be demonstrated but from comparison with our planet, their sedimentary deposits may provide the best opportunity to find its record, if any. The final chapters explore the impact of climate variability on declining lake habitats in one of the closest terrestrial analogs to Mars at the Noachian/Hesperian transition, identify the geologic, morphologic and mineralogic signatures of ancient lakes to be searched for on Mars, and present the case for landing the Mars Science Laboratory mission in such an environment. First review on the subject by worldwide leading authorities in the field New studies with most recent data, new images, figures, and maps Most recent results from research in terrestrial analogs

Life on Mars

Life on Mars
  • Author : David A. Weintraub
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2020-11-03
  • Total pages :336
  • ISBN : 0691209251
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Summary : The search for life on Mars—and the moral issues confronting us as we prepare to send humans there Does life exist on Mars? The question has captivated humans for centuries, but today it has taken on new urgency. As space agencies gear up to send the first manned missions to the Red Planet, we have a responsibility to think deeply about what kinds of life may already dwell there—and whether we have the right to invite ourselves in. Telling the complete story of our ongoing quest to answer one of the most tantalizing questions in astronomy, David Weintraub grapples with the profound moral and ethical questions confronting us as we prepare to introduce an unpredictable new life form—ourselves—into the Martian biosphere. Now with an afterword that discusses the most recent discoveries, Life on Mars explains what we need to know before we go.

The Sirens of Mars

The Sirens of Mars
  • Author : Sarah Stewart Johnson
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2020-07-07
  • Total pages :288
  • ISBN : 1101904828
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Summary : “Sarah Stewart Johnson interweaves her own coming-of-age story as a planetary scientist with a vivid history of the exploration of Mars in this celebration of human curiosity, passion, and perseverance.”—Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams Mars was once similar to Earth, but today there are no rivers, no lakes, no oceans. Coated in red dust, the terrain is bewilderingly empty. And yet multiple spacecraft are circling Mars, sweeping over Terra Sabaea, Syrtis Major, the dunes of Elysium, and Mare Sirenum—on the brink, perhaps, of a staggering find, one that would inspire humankind as much as any discovery in the history of modern science. In this beautifully observed, deeply personal book, Georgetown scientist Sarah Stewart Johnson tells the story of how she and other researchers have scoured Mars for signs of life, transforming the planet from a distant point of light into a world of its own. Johnson’s fascination with Mars began as a child in Kentucky, turning over rocks with her father and looking at planets in the night sky. She now conducts fieldwork in some of Earth’s most hostile environments, such as the Dry Valleys of Antarctica and the salt flats of Western Australia, developing methods for detecting life on other worlds. Here, with poetic precision, she interlaces her own personal journey—as a female scientist and a mother—with tales of other seekers, from Percival Lowell, who was convinced that a utopian society existed on Mars, to Audouin Dollfus, who tried to carry out astronomical observations from a stratospheric balloon. In the process, she shows how the story of Mars is also a story about Earth: This other world has been our mirror, our foil, a telltale reflection of our own anxieties and yearnings. Empathetic and evocative, The Sirens of Mars offers an unlikely natural history of a place where no human has ever set foot, while providing a vivid portrait of our quest to defy our isolation in the cosmos.

How We'll Live on Mars

How We'll Live on Mars
  • Author : Stephen Petranek
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2015-07-07
  • Total pages :96
  • ISBN : 1476784779
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Summary : Award-winning journalist Stephen Petranek says humans will live on Mars by 2027. Now he makes the case that living on Mars is not just plausible, but inevitable. It sounds like science fiction, but Stephen Petranek considers it fact: Within twenty years, humans will live on Mars. We’ll need to. In this sweeping, provocative book that mixes business, science, and human reporting, Petranek makes the case that living on Mars is an essential back-up plan for humanity and explains in fascinating detail just how it will happen. The race is on. Private companies, driven by iconoclastic entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, and Sir Richard Branson; Dutch reality show and space mission Mars One; NASA; and the Chinese government are among the many groups competing to plant the first stake on Mars and open the door for human habitation. Why go to Mars? Life on Mars has potential life-saving possibilities for everyone on earth. Depleting water supplies, overwhelming climate change, and a host of other disasters—from terrorist attacks to meteor strikes—all loom large. We must become a space-faring species to survive. We have the technology not only to get humans to Mars, but to convert Mars into another habitable planet. It will likely take 300 years to “terraform” Mars, as the jargon goes, but we can turn it into a veritable second Garden of Eden. And we can live there, in specially designed habitations, within the next twenty years. In this exciting chronicle, Petranek introduces the circus of lively characters all engaged in a dramatic effort to be the first to settle the Red Planet. How We’ll Live on Mars brings firsthand reporting, interviews with key participants, and extensive research to bear on the question of how we can expect to see life on Mars within the next twenty years.

Solar System Update

Solar System Update
  • Author : Philippe Blondel,John Mason
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2006-08-23
  • Total pages :332
  • ISBN : 3540376836
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Summary : This book, the first in a series of forthcoming volumes, consists of topical and timely reviews of a number of carefully selected topics in solar systemn science. Contributions, in form of up-to-date reviews, are mainly aimed at professional astronomers and planetary scientists wishing to inform themselves about progress in fields closely related to their own field of expertise.

Volatiles in the Martian Crust

Volatiles in the Martian Crust
  • Author : Justin Filiberto,Susanne P. Schwenzer
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2018-08-30
  • Total pages :426
  • ISBN : 012804201X
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Summary : Volatiles in the Martian Crust is a vital reference for future missions - including ESA’s EXO Mars and NASA’s Mars2020 rover - looking for evidence of life on Mars and the potential for habitability and human exploration of the Martian crust. Mars science is a rapidly evolving topic with new data returned from the planet on a daily basis. The book presents chapters written by well-established experts who currently focus on the topic, providing the reader with a fresh, up-to-date and accurate view. Organized into two main sections, the first half of the book focuses on the Martian meteorites and specific volatile elements. The second half of the book explores processes and locations on the crust, including what we have learned about volatile mobility in the Martian crust. Coverage includes data from orbiter and in situ rovers and landers, geochemical and geophysical modeling, and combined data from the SNC meteorites. Presents information about the nature, relationship, and reactivity of chemical elements and compounds on Mars Explores the potential habitability of Mars Provides a comprehensive view of volatiles in the Martian crust from studies of actual samples as well as from the variety of landed missions, including the MER and Curiosity rovers Delivers a vital reference for ongoing and future missions to Mars while synthesizing large data sets and research on volatiles in the Martian atmosphere Concludes with an informative summary chapter that looks to future Mars missions and what might be learned

Habitability of Other Planets and Satellites

Habitability of Other Planets and Satellites
  • Author : Jean-Pierre de Vera,Joseph Seckbach
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2013-07-30
  • Total pages :419
  • ISBN : 9400765460
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Summary : Is the Earth the right model and the only universal key to understand habitability, the origin and maintenance of life? Are we able to detect life elsewhere in the universe by the existing techniques and by the upcoming space missions? This book tries to give answers by focusing on environmental properties, which are playing a major role in influencing planetary surfaces or the interior of planets and satellites. The book gives insights into the nature of planets or satellites and their potential to harbor life. Different scientific disciplines are searching for the clues to classify planetary bodies as a habitable object and what kind of instruments and what kind of space exploration missions are necessary to detect life. Results from model calculations, field studies and from laboratory studies in planetary simulation facilities will help to elucidate if some of the planets and satellites in our solar system as well as in extra-solar systems are potentially habitable for life.

Into Space

Into Space
  • Author : Thais Russomano,Lucas Rehnberg
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2018-05-30
  • Total pages :296
  • ISBN : 1789232201
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Summary : Our anatomy and physiology have been completely shaped by Earth's gravity. All body systems function in synergy with this unseen force. Yet, as we journey further and longer into space, our bodies must conform to a new reality, wherein gravity is absent or reduced, cosmic radiation threatens and our social and familial connections become distant. Into Space: A Journey of How Humans Adapt and Live in Microgravity gives an overview of some of the physiological, anatomical and cellular changes that occur in space and their effects on different body systems, such as the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal, and touches on cultural and psychosocial aspects of leaving behind family and the safety of Earth. It further addresses the complexity of manned space flights, showing how interdisciplinary this subject is and discussing the challenges that space physiologists, physicians and scientists must face as humans seek to conquer the final frontier.

How to Find a Habitable Planet

How to Find a Habitable Planet
  • Author : James Kasting
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2010
  • Total pages :326
  • ISBN : 0691138052
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Summary : 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.

An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars

An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars
  • Author : National Research Council,Division on Earth and Life Studies,Board on Life Sciences,Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences,Space Studies Board,Committee on an Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2007-06-26
  • Total pages :130
  • ISBN : 9780309179416
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Summary : Three recent developments have greatly increased interest in the search for life on Mars. The first is new information about the Martian environment including evidence of a watery past and the possibility of atmospheric methane. The second is the possibility of microbial viability on Mars. Finally, the Vision for Space Exploration initiative included an explicit directive to search for the evidence of life on Mars. These scientific and political developments led NASA to request the NRC’s assistance in formulating an up-to-date integrated astrobiology strategy for Mars exploration. Among other topics, this report presents a review of current knowledge about possible life on Mars; an astrobiological assessment of current Mars missions; a review of Mars-mission planetary protection; and findings and recommendations. The report notes that the greatest increase in understanding of Mars will come from the collection and return to Earth of a well-chosen suite of Martian surface materials.

Geology and Habitability of Terrestrial Planets

Geology and Habitability of Terrestrial Planets
  • Author : Kathryn E. Fishbaugh,Phillipe Lognonné,François Raulin,David J. Des Marais,Oleg Korablev
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2007-09-07
  • Total pages :306
  • ISBN : 0387742883
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Summary : Given the universal interest in whether extraterrestrial life has developed or could eventually develop, it is vital that an examination of planetary habitability go beyond simple assumptions. This book has resulted from a workshop at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) which brought together experts to discuss the multi-faceted problem of how the habitability of a planet co-evolves with the geology of the surface and interior, the atmosphere, and the magnetosphere.

The Smallest Lights in the Universe

The Smallest Lights in the Universe
  • Author : Sara Seager
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2020-08-18
  • Total pages :320
  • ISBN : 0385692803
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Summary : Canadian MIT astrophysicist Sara Seager interweaves the story of her search for meaning and solace after losing her first husband to cancer, her unflagging search for an Earth-like exoplanet and her unexpected discovery of new love. Sara Seager has made it her life's work to peer into the spaces around stars--looking for exoplanets outside our solar system, hoping to find the one-in-a-billion world enough like ours to sustain life. But with the unexpected death of her husband, her life became an empty, lightless space. Suddenly, she was the single mother of two young boys, a widow at forty, clinging to three crumpled pages of instructions her husband had written for things like grocery shopping--things he had done while she did pioneering work as a planetary scientist at MIT. She became painfully conscious of her Asperger's, which before losing her husband had felt more like background noise. She felt, for the first time, alone in the universe. In this probing, invigoratingly honest memoir, Seager tells the story of how, as she stumblingly navigated the world of grief, she also kept looking for other worlds. She continues to develop groundbreaking projects, such as the Starshade, a sunflower-shaped instrument that, when launched into space, unfurls itself so as to block planet-obscuring starlight, and she takes solace in the alien beauty of exoplanets. At the same time, she discovers what feels every bit as wondrous: other people, reaching out across the space of her grief. Among them are the Widows of Concord, a group of women offering consolation and advice, and her beloved sons, Max and Alex. Most unexpected of all, there is another kind of one-in-a-billion match with an amateur astronomer. Equally attuned to the wonders of deep space and human connection, The Smallest Lights in the Universe is its own light in the dark.

Exploring Mars

Exploring Mars
  • Author : Scientific American Editors
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2012-08-31
  • Total pages :130
  • ISBN : 1466824123
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Summary : Exploring Mars: Secrets of the Red Planet by the Editors of Scientific American Our nearest planetary neighbor has been the subject of endless fascination and wide-ranging theories throughout history. Is there life on Mars? Was there ever life on Mars? What was the atmosphere like thousands or millions of years ago? From Percival Lowell, who built his own observatory so he could dedicate himself to studying the red planet, to NASA landing the car-sized Opportunity rover in 2012, this eBook, Exploring Mars: Secrets of the Red Planet, traces Scientific American's coverage of the observation and exploration of Mars. The first section outlines early 20th century theories about Mars, including the possibility of an intricate canal system built by an intelligent species. Once the space probes enter the picture, most of those ideas were debunked, but even more questions arose. The second section covers current missions, which found evidence of ancient oceans and a thicker atmosphere that has since been lost. The third section raises even more exciting possibilities with ambitious plans for future missions. In this book, you'll follow these advances in astronomy and planetary science as better and better technology brings us incrementally closer to unlocking the secrets of Mars.

Water on Mars and Life

Water on Mars and Life
  • Author : Tetsuya Tokano
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2004-09-14
  • Total pages :331
  • ISBN : 9783540206248
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Summary : Growing evidence, based on observations from orbiters, landers and telescopes, indicates that Mars may still have numerous hidden water reservoirs. "Water on Mars and Life" surveys recent advances made in research into water on Mars together with its astrobiological implications. Addresses not only scientists working in the field but also nonspecialists and students in search of a high-level but accessible introduction to this exciting field of research.

Making Time on Mars

Making Time on Mars
  • Author : Zara Mirmalek
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2020-03-31
  • Total pages :212
  • ISBN : 0262043858
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Summary : An examination of how the daily work of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers was organized across three sites on two planets using local Mars time. In 2004, mission scientists and engineers working with NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) remotely operated two robots at different sites on Mars for ninety consecutive days. An unusual feature of this successful mission was that it operated on Mars time—the daily work was organized across three sites on two planets according to two Martian time zones. In Making Time on Mars, Zara Mirmalek shows that this involved more than a resetting of wristwatches; the team's struggle to synchronize with Mars time involved technological and communication breakdowns, informal workarounds, and extra work to support the technology that was intended to support people. Her account of how NASA created an entirely new temporality for the MER mission offers insights about the assumptions behind the organizational relationship between clock time and work. Mirmalek, herself a member of the mission team, offers an insider's view of the MER workplace and community. She describes the discord among MER's multiple temporalities and examines issues of professional identity that helped shape the experience of working according to Mars time. Considering time and work relationships through a multidisciplinary lens, Mirmalek shows how contemporary and historical human–technology relationships inform assumptions about the unalterability of clock time. She argues that the organizational connection between clock time and work, although still operational, is outdated.

Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars

Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars
  • Author : National Research Council,Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences,Space Studies Board,Committee on Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2006-03-22
  • Total pages :166
  • ISBN : 9780309180320
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Summary : Recent spacecraft and robotic probes to Mars have yielded data that are changing our understanding significantly about the possibility of existing or past life on that planet. Coupled with advances in biology and life-detection techniques, these developments place increasing importance on the need to protect Mars from contamination by Earth-borne organisms. To help with this effort, NASA requested that the NRC examine existing planetary protection measures for Mars and recommend changes and further research to improve such measures. This report discusses policies, requirements, and techniques to protect Mars from organisms originating on Earth that could interfere with scientific investigations. It provides recommendations on cleanliness and biological burden levels of Mars-bound spacecraft, methods to reach those levels, and research to reduce uncertainties in preventing forward contamination of Mars.

Searching for Life Across Space and Time

Searching for Life Across Space and Time
  • Author : National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences,Space Studies Board
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2017-09-12
  • Total pages :132
  • ISBN : 0309463971
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Summary : The search for life is one of the most active fields in space science and involves a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including planetary science, astronomy and astrophysics, chemistry, biology, chemistry, and geoscience. In December 2016, the Space Studies Board hosted a workshop to explore the possibility of habitable environments in the solar system and in exoplanets, techniques for detecting life, and the instrumentation used. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

Galileo

Galileo
  • Author : Mario Livio
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2020-05-05
  • Total pages :304
  • ISBN : 150119478X
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Summary : A fresh interpretation of the life of Galileo Galilei, one of history’s greatest and most fascinating scientists, that sheds new light on his discoveries and how he was challenged by science deniers. “We really need this story now, because we’re living through the next chapter of science denial” (Bill McKibben). Galileo’s story may be more relevant today than ever before. At present, we face enormous crises—such as the minimization of the dangers of climate change—because the science behind these threats is erroneously questioned or ignored. Galileo encountered this problem 400 years ago. His discoveries, based on careful observations and ingenious experiments, contradicted conventional wisdom and the teachings of the church at the time. Consequently, in a blatant assault on freedom of thought, his books were forbidden by church authorities. Astrophysicist and bestselling author Mario Livio draws on his own scientific expertise to provide captivating insights into how Galileo reached his bold new conclusions about the cosmos and the laws of nature. A freethinker who followed the evidence wherever it led him, Galileo was one of the most significant figures behind the scientific revolution. He believed that every educated person should know science as well as literature, and insisted on reaching the widest audience possible, publishing his books in Italian rather than Latin. Galileo was put on trial with his life in the balance for refusing to renounce his scientific convictions. He remains a hero and inspiration to scientists and all of those who respect science—which, as Livio reminds us in this gripping book, remains threatened even today.

Astrobiology

Astrobiology
  • Author : Akihiko Yamagishi,Takeshi Kakegawa,Tomohiro Usui
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2019-02-27
  • Total pages :465
  • ISBN : 9811336393
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Summary : This book provides concise and cutting-edge reviews in astrobiology, a young and still emerging multidisciplinary field of science that addresses the fundamental questions of how life originated and diversified on Earth, whether life exists beyond Earth, and what is the future for life on Earth. Readers will find coverage of the latest understanding of a wide range of fascinating topics, including, for example, solar system formation, the origins of life, the history of Earth as revealed by geology, the evolution of intelligence on Earth, the implications of genome data, insights from extremophile research, and the possible existence of life on other planets within and beyond the solar system. Each chapter contains a brief summary of the current status of the topic under discussion, sufficient references to enable more detailed study, and descriptions of recent findings and forthcoming missions or anticipated research. Written by leading experts in astronomy, planetary science, geoscience, chemistry, biology, and physics, this insightful and thought-provoking book will appeal to all students and scientists who are interested in life and space.