First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth

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Simon and Schuster, Mar 13, 2012 - Science - 213 pages
9 Reviews
Now in paperback, Marc Kaufman’s riveting, game-changing book tells the incredible true story of science’s search for the beginnings of life on Earth—and the likelihood of it existing elsewhere in our universe.

For decades, researchers assumed that the genesis of life was too delicate a process, and the conditions needed to support it too fragile, for it to exist anywhere other than Earth. But recent discoveries—from microbes and creatures living in unimaginably inhospitable environments to newly discovered extra-solar planets—point towards a day when the existence of extraterrestrial life will be irrefutably confirmed.

Science reporter Marc Kaufman takes readers around the globe, into space, and miles below Earth’s surface to show how the search for life on other planets is changing the way humans think about their own history, about what it means to be human, and about what, exactly, life is.

First Contact is the first book to bring together recent developments across many competing branches of science, from microbiology to geochemistry, physics, and astronomy, all racing to verify what was once deemed impossible. Kaufman demystifies the key points behind the rigorous science and advanced technology that is edging ever closer to the most important discovery of modern times.
  

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Review: First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth

User Review  - Garry Alexander - Goodreads

In conclusion, this is truly a fascinating book about the hunt for life beyond Earth. Especially if you're really interested in astrobiology or wondering about life in outer space, then this book will help you look more deeply and it can illuminate you to understand something in a new way. Read full review

Review: First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth

User Review  - Daniel Ginsburg - Goodreads

The book is well written and while it's not one of the best I've ever read, it's remarkably good considering the subject matter and how well it flows. Deserves a permanent space on my shelf. Read full review

Contents

THE BIGGEST DISCOVERY OF THEM ALL
1
2REALLY EXTREME LIFE
15
3WHAT MAKES SOMETHING ALIVE?
35
THE SPARK OF LIFE
59
ON THE TRAIL OF LIFE ON MARS
79
THREE EUREKAS ON HOLD
105
PLANETHUNTING
127
8LIFE AND THE LAWS OF PHYSICS
149
9FARFLUNG INTELLIGENT WORLDS
161
THE DAY AFTER FIRST CONTACT
179
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
191
BIBLIOGRAPHY
201
INDEX
207
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Marc Kaufman is a science and national editor for The Washington Post. He lives outside of Washington, D.C.

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