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Talking about Life
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With over 500 planets now known to exist beyond the Solar System, spacecraft heading for Mars, and the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence, this timely book explores current ideas about the search for life in the Universe. It contains candid interviews with dozens of astronomers, geologists, biologists, and writers about the origin and range of terrestrial life and likely sites for life beyond Earth. The interviewees discuss what we've learnt from the missions to Mars and Titan, talk about the search for Earth clones, describe the surprising diversity of life on Earth, speculate about post-biological evolution, and explore what contact with intelligent aliens will mean to us. Covering topics from astronomy and planetary science to geology and biology, this book will fascinate anyone who has ever wondered 'Are we alone?'


'The views expressed here range from the cautious to the radical, and from those rooted in hard science to the more fanciful, and the views on extraterrestrial life range from those who see it as being widespread, to those who suspect it is extremely rare, perhaps unique to Earth.'

Source: Magonia Review of Books

‘Astrobiology is still a young and growing science. For the first time, scientists and philosophers alike are able to chart the development of the field in real-time. Chris Impey’s book, Talking about Life: Conversations on Astrobiology, takes a novel approach to this in seeking the views and professional opinions of scientists intimately associated with astrobiological theory and research, through relaxed and informal conversations.’

Leila Battison - University of Oxford

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Page 1 of 2

Reading list
Part I Introduction
Bennett, J. and Shostak, S. (2007). Life in the Universe, 2nd Edition. New York: Addison Wesley.
Chyba, C. F. and Hand, K. (2005). Astrobiology: The Study of the Living Universe. Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys., 43, 31–74.
Dick, S. J. (1996). The Biological Universe: The Twentieth-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ferris, T. (2000). Life Beyond Earth. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Gilmour, I. and Sephton, M. A., eds. (2003). An Introduction to Astrobiology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Grinspoon, D. (2003). Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life. New York: HarperCollins.
Lunine, J. I. (2005). Astrobiology: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach. San Francisco: Pearson/Addison Wesley.
,NASA Astrobiology Institute.
Roadmap, NASA Astrobiology (2008).
Sullivan, W. T. III and Baross, J. A. (2007). Planets and Life: The Emerging Science of Astrobiology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Part II Earth
Conway Morris, S. (1998). Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Fry, I. (2000). The Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and Scientific Overview. Piscataway: Rutgers University Press.
Hanlon, R. and Messenger, J. B. (2000). Cephalopod Behaviour. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hazen, R. (2007). Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origins. Washington: Joseph Henry Press.
Knoll, A. H. (2003). Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Lunine, J. I. and Lunine, C. J. (1999). Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Reznikova, Z. (2007). Animal Intelligence: From Individual to Social Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Schopf, J. W. (2002). Life's Origin: The Beginnings of Biological Evolution. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Wharton, D. A. (2002). Life at the Limits: Organisms in Extreme Environments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Part III Solar System
Bova, B. (2001). Jupiter: A Novel. New York: Tor.
Bova, B. (2008). Mars Life (Grand Tour). New York: Tor.
Carr, M. H. (2006). The Surface of Mars. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Clancy, P., Brack, A., and Horneck, G. (2005). Looking for Life, Searching the Solar System. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Greenburg, R. (2008). Unmasking Europa: The Search for Life on Jupiter's Ocean Moon. Berlin: Springer.
Hester, J., Blumenthal, G., Smith, B., Burstein, D., and Voss, H. G. (2007). 21st Century Astronomy: The Solar System, 2nd Edition. New York: Norton.
Jones, B. W. (2004). Life in the Solar System and Beyond. Berlin: Springer.
Lang, K. R. (2003). The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lorentz, R. and Mitton, J. (2008). Titan Unveiled: Saturn's Mysterious Moon Explained. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Morton, O. (2002). Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World. New York: Picador.
Part IV Exoplanets
Boss, A. (2009). The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets. Philadelphia: Perseus.
Casoli, F. and Encrenaz, T. (2005). The New Worlds: Extrasolar Planets. Berlin: Springer-Praxis.
,Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia.
Halpern, P. (2003). The Quest for Alien Planets: Exploring Worlds Outside the Solar System. New York: Basic Books.
Mason, J. W. (2009). Exoplanets: Detection, Formation, Properties, Habitability. Berlin: Springer-Praxis.
Mayor, M., Frei, P.-V., and Roukema, B. (2003). New Worlds in the Cosmos: The Discovery of Exoplanets. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
,NASA Kepler Mission.
,PlanetQuest Exoplanet Exploration.
Scharf, C. A. (2009). Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology. Herndon: University Science Books.
Ward, P. D. and Brownlee, D. (2000). Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe. New York: Copernicus.
Part V Frontiers
Davies, P. (1999). The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life. New York: Touchstone.
Davies, P. (2006). Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe is Just Right for Life. London: Penguin.
Hecht, J. M. (2001). The Next Ancient World. North Adams: Tupelo.
Kurzweil, R. (2000). The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence. New York: Penguin.
Kurzweil, R. (2005). The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Penguin.
Rees, M. J. (1997). Before the Beginning: Our Universe and Others. New York: Perseus.
Rees, M. J. (1999). Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape our Universe. New York: Perseus.
Sagan, C. (1978). Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record. New York: Ballantine Books.
Sagan, C. (1985). Contact. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Shostak, S. (2009). Confessions of an Alien-Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Washington: National Geographic.
Webb, S. (2002). If the Universe is Teeming with Aliens…Where is Everyone? Fifty Solutions to Fermi's Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life. New York: Copernicus.


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