Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System

Summers, Michael & . 5 CDs. 5:40 hrs. Dreamscape. Mar. 2017. ISBN 9781520067179. $29.99. 1 MP3-CD. SCI
OrangeReviewStarGeorge Mason University professors Summers (astronomy) and Trefil (physics; Space Atlas: Mapping the Universe and Beyond) discuss and evaluate the recent discoveries from the Kepler satellite. Kepler was launched in 2009 and has since identified thousands of planets in the galaxy. These planets outside of our solar system, called exoplanets, have arrived in such an astonishing number and in places where planets should not form, such as planets near pulsars that should have been obliterated when that star went supernova, that they have turned astronomy on its head. The authors take the listener on a tour of a Diamond World, a Super Earth, and even a Rogue Planet (one that does not orbit a nearby star). They also discuss various "chauvinisms" that present as biases in science today, such as surface, stellar, and carbon chauvinisms (i.e., scientists will assume life can only form on the surface, in a zone congruent in temperature to Earth, and must be carbon-based). Jon Bennett's soft voice lures the listener as he expounds upon the universe.
VERDICT With the current spate of consumer-friendly writing promoting interest in science, this audiobook is highly recommended for all libraries.

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