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May 25 , 2011

The Search for Our Cosmic Ancestry


The idea that life is a cosmic, rather than a purely terrestrial phenomenon, has progressed from scientific heresy to mainstream science within the short timespan of a few decades. The theory of cometary panspermia developed by Fred Hoyle and the present author in the 1970's has been vindicated by a spate of new discoveries in astronomy and biology, and also with startling new evidence of microbial fossils in meteorites and micrometeorites. The recent Kepler Telescope searches for exoplanets have indicated the presence of over 100 billion habitable planets separated by only a few light years, thus making panspermia and the transfer of microbial life between such planets an inevitable fact. The book presents a comprehensive and up-to-date account of the Hoyle–Wickramasinghe theory of cometary panspermia in a manner accessible to a wide general readership.

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  • The Genesis of Panspermia
  • The Primordial Soup and Evolution
  • Cosmological Context
  • From Dust to Life
  • Comets
  • Cosmic Viruses in Our Genes
  • Evidence from Epidemics
  • Microorganisms Entering the Earth
  • Planets of Life in the Solar System
  • Search for Exoplanets
  • Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
  • Meteorite Clues
  • Comet Impacts and Civilisation
  • The Mystery of the Red Rain

Readership: General public.
Key Features:
  • The recent estimate of some 140 billion habitable planets around red dwarf stars in the galaxy makes panspermia inevitable, so a reassessment of panspermia theories is timely
  • The book is written by one of the foremost pioneers of the theory of cometary panspermia and is thus of interest to scientists across many fields, as well as to historians of science
  • The intended readership of the book ranges from science buffs to the general public with a general interest in science
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