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January 13 , 2008

The Impact of Discovering Life Beyond Earth


The search for life in the Universe, once the domain of science fiction, is now a robust research program with a well-defined roadmap, from studying the extremes of life on Earth to exploring the possible niches for life in the Solar System and discovering thousands of planets far beyond it. In addition to constituting a major scientific endeavor, astrobiology is one of the most popular topics in astronomy, and is of growing interest to a broad community of thinkers from across the academic spectrum. In this volume, distinguished philosophers, theologians, anthropologists, historians and scientists discuss the big questions about how the discovery of extraterrestrial life, whether intelligent or microbial, would impact society. Their remarkable and often surprising findings challenge our foundational concepts of what the discovery of alien life may hold for humankind. Written in easily accessible language, this thought-provoking collection engages a wide audience of readers from all backgrounds.

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