Are we alone
in the universe?
As humans, are we unique or are we part of a cosmic society?
What is life’s future on Earth and beyond?
How does life begin and develop?
These are age-old questions that have inspired wonder and controversy
ever since the first people looked up into the sky. With
today’s technology, however, we are closer than ever to
finding the answers.
Astrobiology is the relatively new, but fast growing scientific
discipline that involves trying to understand the origin, evolution,
and distribution of life within the universe. It is also one of the few
scientific disciplines that attracts the public’s intense
curiosity and attention. This interest stems largely from the deep
personal meaning that the possible existence of extraterrestrial life
has for so many. Whether this meaning relates to addressing the "Big
Questions" of our existence, the possibility of making contact with
alien beings, or the potential impact on our understanding of religion,
there is no doubt that the public is firmly vested in finding answers.
In this broadly accessible introduction to the field, Bruce Jakosky
looks at the search for life in the universe not only from a scientific
perspective, but also from a distinctly social one. In lucid and
engaging prose, he addresses topics including the contradiction between
the public’s fascination and the meager dialogue that exists
between those within the scientific community and those outside of it,
NASA’s public relations campaign, and what has become some of
the most impassioned political wrangling ever seen in government
Science, Society, And
the Search for Life in the Universe
Bruce M. Jakosky
University of Arizona Press,