The Hunt for Extraterrestrial Life Moves From Science Fiction to Real World Science

By Nottingham University Press, PRNE
Monday, June 13, 2011

LONDON, June 14, 2011 -

As NASA’s Kepler space telescope detects hundreds of star
systems with multiple planets, the search for life in the universe
is firmly “on”. Is Man alone, or do we have neighbours? If so, what
do they look like, and where are they? 

The evidence may be closer than we think, according to a new
book from Nottingham University Press.

“From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life” by Jerry Cranford
describes the new science of astrobiology - with all its
fascination, but without the jargon - and then introduces us to a
new breed of “planet hunting” astrobiologists who are quickly
discovering we are probably not alone in the universe.

Aimed at enthusiasts and undergraduates, the book details our
latest understanding on how life evolved on Earth, which is vital
to understand how life might have developed elsewhere.

The book maps this fast-emerging and exciting science which is
revolutionising the way scientists view the possibility of life on
other planets. It explains, in simple language, and with more than
180 high resolution colour photographs and illustrations:

  • How bacterial-like creatures living in the most hostile
    environments on Earth - within rocks located miles below ground,
    icebergs, boiling water, and even on the power rods in nuclear
    power stations - have challenged scientists’ beliefs that life is
    complex and fragile

  • How these very organisms are now believed to be the direct
    descendants of the earliest life forms that somehow managed to
    evolve almost four billion years ago when our young planet was so
    hostile that no form of life was believed possible

  • How the rise of computers and rocket science in the second half
    of the 20th Century is allowing our 21st
    century scientists to develop amazing new tools and measuring
    instruments which now indicate life may be widespread throughout
    the universe

  • And so how “homes” for alien or extraterrestrial life might be
    common in the universe

Jerry says that his scientific training - in psychology and the
brain sciences and not astronomy - gives this book a vital edge:
“Being both a trained brain scientist and an amateur astrobiologist
allowed me to address the important issue of how intelligent
nervous systems might evolve on other worlds and how they might
differ from those found on earth.

“This background also enabled me to cut through the clutter and
jargon, to present the information - and hard evidence - in lay
terms which everyone can understand.

 ”This is an exciting time, and I hope ‘From Dying Stars to
the Birth of Life” will provide a fascinating insight, and an
educational grounding, for anyone who wants to understand how this
new science is underpinned - and where it is going.”


For further information and review
copies, contact:

Alan Murray, href=""> -
+44(0)20-7544-0016; +44(0)7887-877077


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