With over 500 planets now known to exist beyond the Solar System, spacecraft heading for Mars, and the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence, this timely book explores current ideas about the search for life in the Universe. It contains candid interviews with dozens of astronomers, geologists, biologists, and writers about the origin and range of terrestrial life and likely sites for life beyond Earth. The interviewees discuss what we've learnt from the missions to Mars and Titan, talk about the search for Earth clones, describe the surprising diversity of life on Earth, speculate about post-biological evolution, and explore what contact with intelligent aliens will mean to us. Covering topics from astronomy and planetary science to geology and biology, this book will fascinate anyone who has ever wondered 'Are we alone?'
'The views expressed here range from the cautious to the radical, and from those rooted in hard science to the more fanciful, and the views on extraterrestrial life range from those who see it as being widespread, to those who suspect it is extremely rare, perhaps unique to Earth.' Magonia Review of Books
'Astrobiology is still a young and growing science. For the first time, scientists and philosophers alike are able to chart the development of the field in real-time. Chris Impey's book, Talking about Life: Conversations on Astrobiology, takes a novel approach to this in seeking the views and professional opinions of scientists intimately associated with astrobiological theory and research, through relaxed and informal conversations.' Leila Battison, University of Oxford
"The views expressed here range from the cautious to the radical, and from those rooted in hard science to the more fanciful, and the views on extraterrestrial life range from those who see it as being widespread, to those who suspect it is extremely rare, perhaps unique to Earth. There is absolutely no comfort in this book for believers in extraterrestrial UFOs, or extraterrestrial humanoids." - Magonia Review of Books, September 2010
"Chris Impey's concept for the compilation of real-life conversations with astrobiological academics and professionals is unique and, at times, fascinating. He must be applauded for the evident effort in conducting and putting together nearly forty broad ranging interviews." - Leila Battison, Astrobiology Society of Britain