From the Overture: (...) I'll cover the origin of the universe, of the stars and the galaxies, of the elements of which we are made and all the rest. I'll also cover the birth of the planets and the molecules that float in space, by themselves or carried by interplanetary and interstellar rocks and ice balls.ÿÿ Then I will talk about the new astronomy of the third millennium, that "contact astronomy" which started with meteorite collecting and today allows us to visit planets, comets, and asteroids to have a taste of them in situ. There we find important molecules, "the bricks of life", amazingly similar to ours, arousing the suspicion that like atoms and molecules, we may also come from outside the Earth. So are we the real Martians? Naturally the distance between "bricks" and "life" is enormous, and it is not resolved. A truck full of bricks is not enough to make a house. Life is a crucial step, still unknown, that so far defies everyone's understanding, a bit like the Big Bang genesis (athough we now know quite well what happened after the Big Bang). There is no scientific evidence that life comes from outside. However, I will also talk about "panspermia", that is the possibility that elementary forms of life survive in space by travelling between planets (someone has even suggested between stars), carried by Enterprise-class meteorites. No, we are not going to talk about the famous Star Trek Enterprise, nor the spaceship carrying the cute E.T. Let's use our imagination, but let's also try to stick to the facts. And on this note, if there really is someone out there, might they be trying to contact us? I will recount the half-century history of the SETI project, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. We have not found it yet; but, as I will explain, we ourselves are sending confusing messages into space, a sort of message-in-a-bottle inside what we will call the "Berlusconi Bubble" that now has engulfed thousands of stars.
From the reviews: "In We are the Martians Professor Bignami connects Cosmology with Biology through a 13.7 billion year journey from the first few minutes after the Big Bang ... to the formation of planetary systems from embryonic protoplanetary discs. The book goes on to explore exo-planets discovered around other stars and their means of discovery. ... The author has done an excellent job of keeping difficult subjects understandable and in doing so has created a thought provoking work that is a joy to read ... ." (Paul Rumsby, Best Astronomy Books, September, 2012)
Number Of Pages: 154
Published: 5th June 2012
Dimensions (cm): 23.9 x 15.7 x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.247