The Life of Super Earths

How the Hunt for Alien Worlds and Artificial Cells Will Revolutionize Life on Our
Planet Dimitar Sasselov ... In my work with Diana Valencia and Rick O'Connell
we investigated whether plate tectonic activity on super-Earths would be higher, ...

Author: Dimitar Sasselov

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 0465023401

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 767

In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus fomented a revolution when he debunked the geocentric view of the universe, proving instead that our planet wasn’t central to the universe. Almost five hundred years later, the revolution he set in motion is nearly complete. Just as earth is not the center of things, the life on it, it appears, is not unique to the planet. Or is it? The Life of Super-Earths is a breathtaking tour of current efforts to answer the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe? Astronomer Dimitar Sasselov, the founding director of Harvard University’s Origins of Life Initiative, takes us on a fast-paced hunt for habitable planets and alien life forms. He shows how the search for “super-Earths”—rocky planets like our own that orbit other stars—may provide the key to answering essential questions about the origins of life here and elsewhere. That is, if we don’t find the answers to those questions here first. As Sasselov and other astronomers have uncovered planets with mixes of elements different from our own, chemists have begun working out the heretofore unseen biochemistries that those planets could support. That knowledge is feeding directly into synthetic biology—the effort to build wholly novel forms of life—making it likely that we will first discover truly “alien” life forms in an earthly lab, rather than on a remote planet thousands of light years away. Sasselov tells the gripping story of a moment of unprecedented potential—a convergence of pioneering efforts in astronomy and biology to peer into the unknown. The Life of Super-Earths offers nothing short of a transformation in our understanding of life and its place in the cosmos.

Exoplanets

This captivating book reveals the latest discoveries and argues that the incredible richness and complexity we are finding necessitates a change in our questions and mental paradigms.

Author: Michael Summers

Publisher: Smithsonian Books

ISBN: 9781588346254

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 666

The past few years have seen an incredible explosion in our knowledge of the universe. Since its 2009 launch, the Kepler satellite has discovered more than two thousand exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. More exoplanets are being discovered all the time, and even more remarkable than the sheer number of exoplanets is their variety. In Exoplanets, astronomer Michael Summers and physicist James Trefil explore these remarkable recent discoveries: planets revolving around pulsars, planets made of diamond, planets that are mostly water, and numerous rogue planets wandering through the emptiness of space. This captivating book reveals the latest discoveries and argues that the incredible richness and complexity we are finding necessitates a change in our questions and mental paradigms. In short, we have to change how we think about the universe and our place in it, because it is stranger and more interesting than we could have imagined.

Exoplanets

This captivating book reveals the latest discoveries and argues that the incredible richness and complexity we are finding necessitates a change in our questions and mental paradigms.

Author: Michael E. Summers

Publisher: Smithsonian Institution

ISBN: 1588345947

Category: SCIENCE

Page: 218

View: 420

The past few years have seen an incredible explosion in our knowledge of the universe. Since its 2009 launch, the Kepler satellite has discovered more than two thousand exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. More exoplanets are being discovered all the time, and even more remarkable than the sheer number of exoplanets is their variety. In Exoplanets, astronomer Michael Summers and physicist James Trefil explore these remarkable recent discoveries: planets revolving around pulsars, planets made of diamond, planets that are mostly water, and numerous rogue planets wandering through the emptiness of space. This captivating book reveals the latest discoveries and argues that the incredible richness and complexity we are finding necessitates a change in our questions and mental paradigms. In short, we have to change how we think about the universe and our place in it, because it is stranger and more interesting than we could have imagined.

Envisioning Exoplanets

"Envisioning Exoplanets traces the journey of astronomers and researchers on their quest to explore the universe for a planet like Earth"--

Author: Michael Carroll

Publisher: Smithsonian Books

ISBN: 1588346919

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 322

"Envisioning Exoplanets traces the journey of astronomers and researchers on their quest to explore the universe for a planet like Earth"--

New Scientist

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Category: Geology

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The Life and Death of Planet Earth

Draws on current findings in astrobiology to chart the story of the second half of the planet Earth's life, predicting that the process of planetary evolution will effectively reverse itself until life discontinues and the world becomes ...

Author: Peter D. Ward

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 9780805075120

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 218

Draws on current findings in astrobiology to chart the story of the second half of the planet Earth's life, predicting that the process of planetary evolution will effectively reverse itself until life discontinues and the world becomes engulfed by an expanding sun. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.

Super Earth Encyclopedia

Kids can explore the incredible, ever-changing features of Earth through mind-blowing photography, brand-new CGI artwork, fun facts, and stats. This fascinating reference book is sure to inspire the ecologists and scientists of tomorrow.

Author: DK

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1465469907

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 208

View: 239

This visual encyclopedia is the ultimate page-turner, bringing our planet's most diverse and dramatic features together in spectacular style. Go on a breathtaking journey around the world. Scale the highest mountains, explore incredible weather patterns, and come face-to-face with the deadly forces of nature. Kids can explore the incredible, ever-changing features of Earth through mind-blowing photography, brand-new CGI artwork, fun facts, and stats. This fascinating reference book is sure to inspire the ecologists and scientists of tomorrow. Curious kids want to know everything about their planet. How do tornadoes form? What does the center of a volcanic eruption look like? Where is the hottest inhabited place on Earth? Investigate our world from its core to its cosmic connections when you journey through the spectacular imagery of colorful coral reefs, castle-like ice caves, and violent microbursts. This lively encyclopedia engages young readers with riveting information and eye-catching photography. Super Earth Encyclopedia will take your child on a jaw-dropping journey of discovering the most fascinating features of our planet. The Biggest, Highest, Most Extraordinary Features on Our Planet Feel the mighty power of the highest waterfall and discover superheated water from a giant geyser. This educational book for children will ensure that you never look at the world, or its wonders, in the same way again. Inside the pages of this stunning book about Earth, you'll find: - Beautiful photography and CGI artworks of Earth's most dramatic features. - Dashboard-style fact files that provide information at a glance. - Informative, fun-to-read text that is based on the latest discoveries and scientific research. More from DK Books: There are more Super Encyclopedias to explore! Super Bug Encyclopedia gives you an unprecedented insight into the complex life of creepy crawlies, and Super Human Encyclopedia showcases from head to toe how extraordinary the human body is.

The Crowded Universe

But will we find any? In The Crowded Universe, renowned astronomer Alan Boss argues that based on what we already know about planetary systems, in the coming years we will find abundant Earths, including many that are indisputably alive.

Author: Alan Boss

Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com

ISBN: 1459608178

Category:

Page: 316

View: 456

We are nearing a turning point in our quest for life in the universe - we now have the capacity to detect Earth-like planets around other stars. But will we find any? In The Crowded Universe, renowned astronomer Alan Boss argues that based on what we already know about planetary systems, in the coming years we will find abundant Earths, including many that are indisputably alive. Life is not only possible elsewhere in the universe, Boss argues - it is common. Boss describes how our ideas about planetary formation have changed radically in the past decade and brings readers up to date on discoveries of bizarre inhabitants of various solar systems, including our own. America must stay in this new space race, Boss contends, or risk being left out of one of the most profoundly important discoveries of all time; the first confirmed finding of extraterrestrial life.

The Earth as a Distant Planet

Or is our planet but one of the millions of other inhabited planets within our galaxy? This is an exciting time to be asking this old question, because for the first time in history, the answer is within reach.

Author: M. Vázquez

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9781441916846

Category: Science

Page: 422

View: 897

In The Earth as a Distant Planet, the authors become external observers of our solar system from a distance and try to determine how one can understand how Earth, the third in distance to the central star, is essentially unique and capable of sustaining life. The knowledge gained from this original perspective is then applied to the search for other planets outside the solar system, or exoplanets. Since the discovery in 1992 of the first exoplanet, the number of planet detections has increased exponentially and ambitious missions are already being planned for the future. The exploration of Earth and the rest of the rocky planets are Rosetta stones in classifying and understanding the multiplicity of planetary systems that exist in our galaxy. In time, statistics on the formation and evolution of exoplanets will be available and will provide vital information for solving some of the unanswered questions about the formation, as well as evolution of our own world and solar system. Special attention is paid to the biosignatures (signs of life) detectable in the Earth's reflected spectra and the search for life in the universe. The authors are experts on the subject of extrasolar planets. They provide an introductory but also very much up-to-date text, making this book suitable for researchers and for advanced students in astronomy and astrophysics.

Looking for Earths

Because liquid water is believed to be required for the existence of life , at least
life of the form with which we are familiar , Wetherill ' s ... If 51 Pegasi B was a
super - Earth , maybe it had formed right there , next to its star , and that was that .

Author: Alan Boss

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Incorporated

ISBN:

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 217

Describes the discovery of several new planets outside the Milky Way and the techniques and measurements that are used to detect objects that the most powerful telescopes cannot observe directly

Goldilocks and the Water Bears

Goldilocks and the Water Bears is a tale of the origins and evolution of life, and the quest to find it on other planets, on moons, in other galaxies, and throughout the Universe.

Author: Louisa Preston

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1472920082

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 230

'Highly recommended' Financial Times Today we know of only a single planet that hosts life: the Earth. But across a Universe of at least 100 billion possibly habitable worlds, surely our planet isn't the only one that, like the porridge Goldilocks sought, is just right for life? Astrobiologists search the galaxy for conditions that are suitable for life to exist, focusing on similar worlds located at the perfect distance from their Sun, within the aptly named 'Goldilocks Zone'. Such a place might have liquid water on its surface, and may therefore support a thriving biosphere. What might life look like on other worlds? It is possible to make best-guesses using facts rooted in science, and by studying 'extremophiles' – organisms such as the near-indestructible water bears, which can survive in the harshest conditions that Earth, and even space, can offer. Goldilocks and the Water Bears is a tale of the origins and evolution of life, and the quest to find it on other planets, on moons, in other galaxies, and throughout the Universe.

Strange New Worlds

Now they are closer than ever to unraveling distant twins of the Earth. In this book, Jayawardhana vividly recounts the stories of the scientists and the remarkable breakthroughs that have ushered in this extraordinary age of exploration.

Author: Ray Jayawardhana

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400846544

Category: Science

Page: 280

View: 606

In Strange New Worlds, renowned astronomer Ray Jayawardhana brings news from the front lines of the epic quest to find planets--and alien life--beyond our solar system. Only in the past two decades, after millennia of speculation, have astronomers begun to discover planets around other stars--thousands in fact. Now they are closer than ever to unraveling distant twins of the Earth. In this book, Jayawardhana vividly recounts the stories of the scientists and the remarkable breakthroughs that have ushered in this extraordinary age of exploration. He describes the latest findings--including his own--that are challenging our view of the cosmos and casting new light on the origins and evolution of planets and planetary systems. He reveals how technology is rapidly advancing to support direct observations of Jupiter-like gas giants and super-Earths--rocky planets with several times the mass of our own planet--and how astronomers use biomarkers to seek possible life on other worlds. Strange New Worlds provides an insider's look at the cutting-edge science of today's planet hunters, our prospects for discovering alien life, and the debates and controversies at the forefront of extrasolar-planet research. In a new afterword, Jayawardhana explains some of the most recent developments as we search for the first clues of life on other planets.

Exoplanets

This book examines exoplanets, the possibilities for life beyond Earth, and the cutting-edge technologies scientists use to learn about distant worlds.

Author: Karen Latchana Kenney

Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books ™

ISBN: 1512439088

Category: Young Adult Nonfiction

Page: 88

View: 184

Until the mid-1990s, scientists only guessed that the universe held exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system. But using advanced physics and powerful telescopes, scientists have since identified more than three thousand exoplanets. This work has revealed fascinating worlds, including a planet that oozes lavalike fluids and a planet that glows bright pink. Even more fascinating, scientists think that some exoplanets might contain life. Many orbit in the Goldilocks zone, the region around a star that's not too hot or too cold for liquid water, a key ingredient for life. This book examines exoplanets, the possibilities for life beyond Earth, and the cutting-edge technologies scientists use to learn about distant worlds.

U S News World Report

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Exoplanets

Award-winning science writer Seymour Simon explores the farthest reaches of space in the brand-new Exoplanets! This nonfiction picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 6 to 8.

Author: Seymour Simon

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: 0062470590

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 40

View: 349

Award-winning science writer Seymour Simon explores the farthest reaches of space in the brand-new Exoplanets! This nonfiction picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 6 to 8. It’s a fun way to learn to read and as a supplement for activity books for children. There are thousands of exoplanets scattered throughout the Milky Way galaxy, and scientists are on a constant quest to find one just like Earth. In Exoplanets, Simon examines the planets outside of our solar system and uncovers what makes them habitable, our efforts to discover new life, and more. With clear, simple text and stunning full-color photographs, readers will explore the farthest reaches of space and explore the answer to the question: do aliens exist? This book includes an author's note, a glossary, an index, and supports the Common Core State Standards.

Bayesian Atmospheric Retrieval for Exoplanets

The approach discussed in this work represents the science case for the largest Hubble Space Telescope program ever awarded for a single exoplanet.

Author: Björn Benneke

Publisher:

ISBN:

Category:

Page: 187

View: 581

After centuries of studying the eight planets in our solar system, recent improvements in technology have given us the unprecedented opportunity to detect planets orbiting stars other than the sun, so-called exoplanets. Recent statistical studies based on 800 confirmed planets and more than 3000 planet candidates suggest that our galaxy is teeming with billions of planets. Many of them are likely to orbit their host stars at a distance where liquid water and potentially life can exist. Spectroscopic observations of exoplanets can provide us with information about the atmospheres and conditions on these distant worlds. This thesis presents a Bayesian retrieval framework to analyze spectroscopic observations of exoplanets to infer the planet's atmospheric compositions, the surface pressures, and the presences of clouds or hazes. I identify what can unambiguously be determined about the atmospheres of exoplanets by applying the retrieval method to sets of synthetic observations. The main finding is that a unique constraint of the atmospheric mixing ratios of all infrared absorbing gases and up to two spectrally inactive gases is possible if the spectral coverage of the observations is sufficient to (1) determine the broadband transit depths in at least one absorption feature for each absorbing gas and (2) measure the slope and strength of the molecular Rayleigh scattering signature. For the newly discovered class of low-density super-Earths, with radii and masses intermediate between Earth and Neptune, I present an observational approach to distinguish whether these planets more closely resemble the giant planets in our solar system or whether they represent a completely new, potentially water vapor-rich type of planet. The approach discussed in this work represents the science case for the largest Hubble Space Telescope program ever awarded for a single exoplanet. The numerical methods and the conceptual understanding of atmospheric spectra presented in this thesis are key for the design of future space telescopes dedicated to the characterization of transiting exoplanets. I present an integrated design evaluation framework for the proposed Exoplanet Characterization Observatory (EChO) that simultaneously models the astrophysical signal and the telescope's payload module. I demonstrate that costly cryogenic cooling to observe the mid-infrared spectrum beyond ~ 11 [mu]m is not required while visible light observations down to - 400 nm are essential for the mission success. The observational study of exoplanet atmospheres is in its infancy and its pace is poised to accelerate as observational techniques are improved and dedicated space missions are designed. The methods developed in this thesis will contribute to constraining the atmospheric properties of a wide variety of planets ranging from blazingly-hot gas giants to temperate Earth-like planets.

Frontiers of Astrobiology

In this volume, leading international experts explore the frontiers of astrobiology, investigating the latest research questions that will fascinate a wide interdisciplinary audience at all levels.

Author: Chris Impey

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139789228

Category: Science

Page:

View: 920

Astrobiology is an exciting interdisciplinary field that seeks to answer one of the most important and profound questions: are we alone? In this volume, leading international experts explore the frontiers of astrobiology, investigating the latest research questions that will fascinate a wide interdisciplinary audience at all levels. What is the earliest evidence for life on Earth? Where are the most likely sites for life in the Solar System? Could life have evolved elsewhere in the Galaxy? What are the best strategies for detecting intelligent extraterrestrial life? How many habitable or Earth-like exoplanets are there? Progress in astrobiology over the past decade has been rapid and, with evidence accumulating that Mars once hosted standing bodies of liquid water, the discovery of over 500 exoplanets and new insights into how life began on Earth, the scientific search for our origins and place in the cosmos continues.

Universal Life

Universal Life provides a unique viewpoint on the epochal events of the last two decades and the excitement of what will transpire in the coming decades. Author Alan Boss's perspective on this story is unmatched.

Author: Alan Boss

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0190864052

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 309

After decades of painstaking planning, NASA's first dedicated exoplanet detection mission, the Kepler space telescope, was launched in 2009 from Cape Canaveral. Kepler began a years-long mission of looking for Earth-like planets amongst the millions of stars in the northern constellations of Lyra and Cygnus. Kepler's successful launch meant that it was only a matter of time before we would know just how many Earth-like planets exist in our galaxy. A revolution in thinking about our place in the universe was about to occur, depending on what Kepler found. Are earths commonplace or rare? Are we likely to be alone in the universe? Only Kepler could start to answer these vexing questions. Universal Life provides a unique viewpoint on the epochal events of the last two decades and the excitement of what will transpire in the coming decades. Author Alan Boss's perspective on this story is unmatched. Boss is the Chair of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group, and was also on the Kepler Mission science team. Kepler proved that essentially every star in the night sky has a planetary system, and that most of these systems contain a habitable world, potentially capable of evolving and supporting life. Universal Life summarizes the current state of exoEarth knowledge, and also reveals what will happen next in the post-Kepler world, namely the narrowing of the search for habitable worlds to the stars that are the closest to Earth, those that offer the best chances for future ground- and space-based telescopes to search for, and detect, possible signs of life in their atmospheres. We have come far in the search for life beyond the Earth, but the most exciting phase is about to begin: we may soon be able to prove that we are not alone in the universe.