Earths of Distant Suns: How We Find Them, Communicate with Them, and Maybe Even Travel There

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Springer, Oct 3, 2016 - Science - 234 pages

Based on the latest missions results and supported by commissioned artwork, this book explores the possible lessons we may learn from exoplanets. As the number of known Earth-like objects grows significantly, the author explores what is known about the growing roster of "pale blue dots" far afield. Aided by an increased sensitivity of the existing observatories, recent discoveries by Keck, the Hubble Space Telescope, and Kepler are examined. These findings, once thought to be closer to the realm of science fiction, have fired the imaginations of the general public as well as scientists.

All of us are mesmerized by the possibility of other Earth-like worlds out there. Author Michael Carroll asks the tough questions of what the expected gain is from identifying these Earth analogs spread across the Universe and the reasons for studying them. Potentially, they could teach us about our own climate and Solar System. Also explored are the more remote options of communication between or even travel to these distant yet perhaps not so dissimilar worlds.

 

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Contents

A Place Like Home
1
Early Ideas and Lessons from Our Own Backyard
11
The Search for and Discovery of Exoplanets
42
Strange Solar System Architectures
67
Zeroing in on Earth 20
75
Looking for Life in All the Right Places
105
Could We Make Contact?
144
Could We Visit Earths of Distant Suns?
193
First Contact What Will It Mean?
219
Index
231
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Author/artist Michael Carroll has spent decades as a science journalist and even longer as an astronomical artist. He received the AAS Division of Planetary Science’s Jonathan Eberhart Award for the best planetary science feature article of 2012. He lectures extensively in concert with his various books, and has done invited talks at science museums, aerospace facilities, and NASA centers. He has written articles and books on topics ranging from space to archeology. His articles and art have appeared in TIME, National Geographic, Scientific American, Smithsonian, Popular Science, Astronomy, Sky and Telescope, Astronomy Now (UK), and a host of children’s books and magazines. Among his twenty-some books are Springer’s Living Among Giants: Exploring and Settling the Outer Solar System and his novel On the Shores of Titan’s Farthest Sea for Springer’s Science and Fiction series (2015). One of his paintings is on the surface of Mars—in digital form—aboard the Phoenix lander. Carroll is the 2006 recipient of the Lucien Rudaux Award for lifetime achievement in the Astronomical Arts. He is a Fellow and founding member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.

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