A rigorous and scientific analysis of the myriad possibilities of life beyond our planet.
“Are we alone in the universe?” This tantalizing question has captivated humanity over millennia, but seldom has it been approached rigorously. Today the search for signatures of extraterrestrial life and intelligence has become a rapidly advancing scientific endeavour. Missions to Mars, Europa, and Titan seek evidence of life. Laboratory experiments have made great strides in creating synthetic life, deepening our understanding of conditions that give rise to living entities. And on the horizon are sophisticated telescopes to detect and characterize exoplanets most likely to harbour life.
Life in the Cosmos offers a thorough overview of the burgeoning field of astrobiology, including the salient methods and paradigms involved in the search for extraterrestrial life and intelligence. Manasvi Lingam and Abraham Loeb tackle three areas of interest in hunting for life “out there”: first, the pathways by which life originates and evolves; second, planetary and stellar factors that affect the habitability of worlds, with an eye on the biomarkers that may reveal the presence of microbial life; and finally, the detection of technological signals that could be indicative of intelligence. Drawing on empirical data from observations and experiments, as well as the latest theoretical and computational developments, the authors make a compelling scientific case for the search for life beyond what we can currently see.
Meticulous and comprehensive, Life in the Cosmos is a master class from top researchers in astrobiology, suggesting that the answer to our age-old question is closer than ever before.
Manasvi Lingam is Assistant Professor of Astrobiology at the Florida Institute of Technology, an affiliate of the Institute for Theory and Computation at Harvard University, and a member of the American Physical Society.
Abraham Loeb is Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University. He is Founding Director of Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative, chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
"Are we alone in the universe? Lingam and Loeb provide expert guidance to the many dimensions of this fundamental question – and, just maybe, how to answer it."
– Andrew H. Knoll, author of A Brief History of Earth: Four Billion Years in Eight Chapters
"A book of sweeping vision. Lingam and Loeb offer detailed and insightful analysis of the challenges we face as we investigate the universal distribution of this unusual material we call life. A helpful and fascinating read."
– Charles Cockell, author of Astrobiology: Understanding Life in the Universe