Due to unplanned maintenance of the back-end systems supporting article purchase on Cambridge Core, we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend article purchase for the foreseeable future. We apologise for any inconvenience caused whilst we work with the relevant teams to restore this service.
Are we alone in the universe, or are there other life forms 'out there'? This is one of the most scientifically and philosophically important questions that humanity can ask. Now, in the early 2020s, we are tantalizingly close to an answer. As this book shows, the answer will almost certainly be that life forms are to be found across the Milky Way and beyond. They will be thinly spread, to be sure. Yet the number of inhabited planets probably runs into the trillions. Some are close enough for us to detect evidence of life by analysing their atmospheres. This evidence may be found within a couple of decades. Its arrival will be momentous. But even before it arrives we can anticipate what life elsewhere will be like by examining the ecology and evolution of life on Earth. This book considers the current state of play in relation to these titanic issues.
Avi Loeb - Chair of the Harvard Astronomy department
Ariel Chipman - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Peter Atkins - Emeritus Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Oxford, and fellow of Lincoln College
Ronald Jenner - Natural History Museum, London, UK
Elizabeth Tasker - author of The Planet Factory
Addy Pross - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Simon ‘Pete’ Worden - Executive Director, Breakthrough Initiatives, Luxembourg and USA