Rare Earth

Author: Peter D. Ward
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9780387218489
Release Date: 2007-05-08
Genre: Science

What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? Questions such as these are investigated in this groundbreaking book. In doing so, the authors synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the universe. Everyone who has been thrilled by the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and the indications of life on Mars and the Jovian moon Europa will be fascinated by Rare Earth, and its implications for those who look to the heavens for companionship.

Rare Earth

Author: Peter D. Ward
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9780387952895
Release Date: 2003-12-10
Genre: Science

What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? Questions such as these are investigated in this groundbreaking book. In doing so, the authors synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the universe. Everyone who has been thrilled by the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and the indications of life on Mars and the Jovian moon Europa will be fascinated by Rare Earth, and its implications for those who look to the heavens for companionship.

Rare Earth

Author: Peter D. Ward
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 0387987010
Release Date: 2000-01-14
Genre: Science

What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? Questions such as these are investigated in this groundbreaking book. In doing so, the authors synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the universe. Everyone who has been thrilled by the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and the indications of life on Mars and the Jovian moon Europa will be fascinated by Rare Earth, and its implications for those who look to the heavens for companionship.

Life Everywhere

Author: David Darling
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465009980
Release Date: 2007-10-15
Genre: Science

To many people, the main question about extraterrestrial life is whether it exists. But to the scientific community, that question has already been answered: it does, and within our solar system. The new science of astrobiology is already being practiced at NASA's Astrobiology Institute and the University of Washington's new Department of Astrobiology. Life Everywhere is the first book to lay out what the new science of astrobiology is all about. It asks the fascinating questions researchers in astrobiology are asking themselves: What is life? How does it originate? How often does life survive once it arises? How does evolution work? And what determines whether complex or intelligent life will emerge from more primitive forms? Informed by interviews with most of the top people in this nascent field, this book introduces readers to one of the most important scientific developments of the next century.

Life as We Do Not Know It

Author: Peter Ward
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781440628566
Release Date: 2007-02-27
Genre: Science

An engrossing and revelatory first look at the search for alien life—on Earth and beyond For the past twenty years, Peter Ward has been at the forefront of popular science writing, with books such as the influential and controversial Rare Earth. In Life as We Do Not Know It, Ward, with his signature blend of eloquence, humor, and learned insight, vividly details the latest scientific findings, cutting-edge research, and intrepid new theories on the subject of alien life and the possible extraterrestrial origins of life on Earth. In lucid, entertaining, and bold prose, Peter Ward once again challenges our notions of life on earth (and beyond).

The Life and Death of Planet Earth

Author: Peter D. Ward
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 0805075127
Release Date: 2004-01-01
Genre: Science

Planet Earth is middle-aged. Science has worked hard to piece together the story of the evolution of our world up to this point, but only recently have we developed the understanding and the tools to describe the entire life cycle of a planet. Ward and Brownlee, a geologist and an astronomer respectively, combine their knowledge of how the critical sustaining systems of our planet evolve through time with their understanding of the life cycles of stars and solar systems, to tell the story of the second half of Earth's life. The process of evolution will essentially reverse itself: life as we know it will subside until only the simplest forms remain. Eventually, they too will disappear. The oceans will evaporate, the atmosphere will degrade, and, as the sun slowly expands, Earth itself will eventually meet a fiery end. --From publisher description.

Lucky Planet

Author: David Waltham
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465080823
Release Date: 2014-04-08
Genre: Science

Why Earth’s life-friendly climate makes it exceptional—and what that means for the likelihood of finding intelligent extraterrestrial life We have long fantasized about finding life on planets other than our own. Yet even as we become aware of the vast expanses beyond our solar system, it remains clear that Earth is exceptional. The question is: why? In Lucky Planet, astrobiologist David Waltham argues that Earth’s climate stability is what makes it uniquely able to support life, and it is nothing short of luck that made such conditions possible. The four billion year-stretch of good weather that our planet has experienced is statistically so unlikely that chances are slim that we will ever encounter intelligent extraterrestrial others. Citing the factors that typically control a planet’s average temperature—including the size of its moon, as well as the rate of the Universe’s expansion—Waltham challenges the prevailing scientific consensus that Earth-like planets have natural stabilizing mechanisms that allow life to flourish. A lively exploration of the stars above and the ground beneath our feet, Lucky Planet seamlessly weaves the story of Earth and the worlds orbiting other stars to give us a new perspective of the surprising role chance plays in our place in the universe.

The Flooded Earth

Author: Peter Douglas Ward
Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com
ISBN: 9781458722393
Release Date: 2010-11
Genre: Global warming

Readhowyouwant 16 point large print. Sea level rise will be an unavoidable part of our future, no matter what we do. Even if we stopped all carbon dioxide emissions today, the seas will rise three feet by 2050 and nine feet by 2100. This- not drought, species extinction, or excessive heat waves - will be the most dramatic effect of global warming.

Planets and Life

Author: Woodruff T. Sullivan, III
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781316264911
Release Date: 2007-09-13
Genre: Science

Astrobiology involves the study of the origin and history of life on Earth, planets and moons where life may have arisen, and the search for extraterrestrial life. It combines the sciences of biology, chemistry, palaeontology, geology, planetary physics and astronomy. This textbook brings together world experts in each of these disciplines to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the field currently available. Topics cover the origin and evolution of life on Earth, the geological, physical and chemical conditions in which life might arise and the detection of extraterrestrial life on other planets and moons. The book also covers the history of our ideas on extraterrestrial life and the origin of life, as well as the ethical, philosophical and educational issues raised by astrobiology. Written to be accessible to students from diverse backgrounds, this text will be welcomed by advanced undergraduates and graduates who are taking astrobiology courses.

How to Find a Habitable Planet

Author: James Kasting
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691138053
Release Date: 2010
Genre: Science

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.

Time Machines

Author: Peter D. Ward
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781461216728
Release Date: 2012-12-06
Genre: Science

What is the past? It is a time as well as a place. Acclaimed author Peter D. Ward describes the tools that contemporary scientists use to uncover facts about the past - terrain, climate, and the life forms that once inhabited this planet. Time Machines presents fascinating profiles of the deep past and the scientists who are making it come alive. "...for the general reader, Time Machines may be the most interesting book yet by the University of Washington prof..." -SEATTLE WEEKLY "For anyone interested in how and why as well as the what of paleontology, Time Machines is a must read."-AMERICAN SCIENTIST

Out of Thin Air

Author: Peter Ward
Publisher: Joseph Henry Press
ISBN: 9780309666121
Release Date: 2006-10-10
Genre: Science

For 65 million years dinosaurs ruled the Earth--until a deadly asteroid forced their extinction. But what accounts for the incredible longevity of dinosaurs? A renowned scientist now provides a startling explanation that is rewriting the history of the Age of Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were pretty amazing creatures--real-life monsters that have the power to fascinate us. And their fiery Hollywood ending only serves to make the story that much more dramatic. But fossil evidence demonstrates that dinosaurs survived several mass extinctions, and were seemingly unaffected by catastrophes that decimated most other life on Earth. What could explain their uncanny ability to endure through the ages? Biologist and earth scientist Peter Ward now accounts for the remarkable indestructibility of dinosaurs by connecting their unusual respiration system with their ability to adapt to Earth's changing environment--a system that was ultimately bequeathed to their descendants, birds. By tracing the evolutionary path back through time and carefully connecting the dots from birds to dinosaurs, Ward describes the unique form of breathing shared by these two distant relatives and demonstrates how this simple but remarkable characteristic provides the elusive explanation to a question that has thus far stumped scientists. Nothing short of revolutionary in its bold presentation of an astonishing theory, Out of Thin Air is a story of science at the edge of discovery. Ward is an outstanding guide to the process of scientific detection. Audacious and innovative in his thinking, meticulous and thoroughly detailed in his research, only a scientist of his caliber is capable of telling this surprising story.

The Privileged Planet

Author: Guillermo Gonzalez
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
ISBN: 9780895260659
Release Date: 2004-02-01
Genre: Science

Arguing that life may be rarer than some astronomers and philosophers have said, the author details the delicate balance of factors that make life possible on this planet and reveals the rarity of these conditions in the universe.

A New History of Life

Author: Peter Ward
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 9781608199082
Release Date: 2015-04-07
Genre: Science

Charles Darwin's theories, first published more than 150 years ago, form the backbone of how we understand the history of the Earth. In reality, the currently accepted history of life on Earth is so flawed, so out of date, that it's past time we need a 'New History of Life.' In their latest book, Joe Kirschvink and Peter Ward will show that many of our most cherished beliefs about the evolution of life are wrong. Gathering and analyzing years of discoveries and research not yet widely known to the public, A New History of Life proposes a different origin of species than the one Darwin proposed, one which includes eight-foot-long centipedes, a frozen "snowball Earth†?, and the seeds for life originating on Mars. Drawing on their years of experience in paleontology, biology, chemistry, and astrobiology, experts Ward and Kirschvink paint a picture of the origins life on Earth that are at once too fabulous to imagine and too familiar to dismiss--and looking forward, A New History of Life brilliantly assembles insights from some of the latest scientific research to understand how life on Earth can and might evolve far into the future.

The Medea Hypothesis

Author: Peter Ward
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400829880
Release Date: 2009-03-31
Genre: Science

In The Medea Hypothesis, renowned paleontologist Peter Ward proposes a revolutionary and provocative vision of life's relationship with the Earth's biosphere--one that has frightening implications for our future, yet also offers hope. Using the latest discoveries from the geological record, he argues that life might be its own worst enemy. This stands in stark contrast to James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis--the idea that life sustains habitable conditions on Earth. In answer to Gaia, which draws on the idea of the "good mother" who nurtures life, Ward invokes Medea, the mythical mother who killed her own children. Could life by its very nature threaten its own existence? According to the Medea hypothesis, it does. Ward demonstrates that all but one of the mass extinctions that have struck Earth were caused by life itself. He looks at our planet's history in a new way, revealing an Earth that is witnessing an alarming decline of diversity and biomass--a decline brought on by life's own "biocidal" tendencies. And the Medea hypothesis applies not just to our planet--its dire prognosis extends to all potential life in the universe. Yet life on Earth doesn't have to be lethal. Ward shows why, but warns that our time is running out. Breathtaking in scope, The Medea Hypothesis is certain to arouse fierce debate and radically transform our worldview. It serves as an urgent challenge to all of us to think in new ways if we hope to save ourselves from ourselves.