Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life (Paperback)

Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life By David Grinspoon Cover Image
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It's been nearly four decades since Carl Sagan first addressed the general public from a scientist's perspective, confronting the possibility of extraterrestrial life. David Grinspoon, a planetary scientist who has helped to shape modern planetary exploration, brings the subject to a new generation of readers with his reflections on the most recent developments in astrobiology, including NASA's search for life on Mars. In Lonely Planets, he investigates the big questions: How widespread are life and intelligence in the cosmos? Is life on Earth an accident or in some sense the "purpose" of this universe? And how can we, working from the Earth-centric definition of "life," even begin to think about the varieties of life-forms on other planets?

Using the topic of extraterrestrial life as a mirror with which to view human beliefs, evolution, history, and aspirations, Grinspoon provides an authoritative scientific narrative of cosmic evolution, along with provocative ruminations on how we fit into the story of the universe. An accessible, lively blend of science, history, philosophy, and personal narrative, Lonely Planets reveals how the search for extraterrestrial life unites our spiritual and scientific quests for connection with the cosmos.

About the Author

David Grinspoon is principal scientist in the Department of Space Studies at the South-west Research Institute, and adjunct professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado. His previous book, Venus Revealed, was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. An adviser for NASA on space exploration strategy, he lectures widely and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs. His writing has appeared in Astronomy, Nature, Science, Scientific American, Natural History, and The Sciences. He maintains the Funky Science Web site at www.funkyscience.net.

Praise For…

“The best look at this subject since Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Connection.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review )

“A personable chat on life, the universe and everything.” — Publishers Weekly

“In his low-key, conversational language, Grinspoon asks provocative questions about modern science’s unyielding rigidities.” — Entertainment Weekly

“The best, most entertaining examination of the possibility of other life in the universe since Sagan’s best work.” — Boulder Daily Camera

“An easy to read, thought-provoking look at humanity’s unending fascination with extraterrestrial life.” — Gannett News Service

“[A] terrific book.” — San Diego Union-Tribune

“Lonely Planets is an outstanding introduction to cosmic evolution.” — San Jose Mercury News

“Superb…. Grinspoon has succeeded marvelously at producing a comprehensive, enjoyable overview of astrobiology.” — Astronomy

“Entertaining and though-provoking…. A masterful synthesis of the history, science, philosophy, and even theological implications of extraterrestrial life.” — Science

Product Details
ISBN: 9780060959968
ISBN-10: 0060959967
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: November 2nd, 2004
Pages: 480
Language: English