Alien Earths: The New Science of Planet Hunting in the Cosmos

St. Martin’s. Apr. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781250283634. $30. SCI
If there is life on other planets, what might it look like and what are the odds of humanity discovering it? These are the type of questions that astronomer Kaltenegger (director, Carl Sagan Institute To Search for Life in the Cosmos, Cornell Univ.) asks in this book. Eloquent prose enhances the stories of her travels, her studies, and the places and experiences that formed her as a scientist. She leads readers to ask the right questions for themselves and to realize that, as appealing as the future depicted in Star Trek might be, it is unlikely to become a reality, due to the constraints of physics. Still, readers will enjoy this journey through the imaginings and realities of space exploration and discovery. Kaltenegger teaches readers to think of planets both in and outside of the solar system in a different light. As a delightful bonus, the notes at the end of the book include the playlist of the golden record that is onboard the Voyager spacecraft.
VERDICT Science and space enthusiasts will revel in this journey through the cosmos. They will undoubtedly learn novel information along the way.
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