After decades of painstaking planning, NASA's first dedicated exoplanet detection mission, the Kepler space telescope, was launched in 2009 from Cape Canaveral. Kepler began a years-long mission of looking for Earth-like planets amongst the millions of stars in the northern constellations of Lyra and Cygnus. Kepler's successful launch meant that it was only a matter of time before we would know just how many Earth-like planets exist in our galaxy. A revolution in
thinking about our place in the universe was about to occur, depending on what Kepler found. Are Earths commonplace or rare? Are we likely to be alone in the universe? Only Kepler could start to answer these vexing questions.
Universal Life provides a unique viewpoint on the epochal events of the last two decades and the excitement of what will transpire in the coming decades. Author Alan Boss's perspective on this story is unmatched. Boss is the Chair of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group, and was also on the Kepler Mission science team. Kepler proved that essentially every star in the night sky has a planetary system, and that most of these systems contain a habitable world, potentially
capable of evolving and supporting life. Universal Life summarizes the current state of exoEarth knowledge, and also reveals what will happen next in the post-Kepler world, namely the narrowing of the search for habitable worlds to the stars that are the closest to Earth, those that offer the best chances for
future ground- and space-based telescopes to search for, and detect, possible signs of life in their atmospheres. We have come far in the search for life beyond the Earth, but the most exciting phase is about to begin: we may soon be able to prove that we are not alone in the universe.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 492 g
Dimensions: 248 x 164 x 20 mm
If you've ever wanted to understand why space missions take decades to be realised, with some science highlights scattered in between, then give Boss's latest book a go. It's a page-turner that is worthy of multiple rereads. * Amber Hornsby, BBC Sky at Night Magazine *
Boss gives a comprehensive view of Kepler's origins and contributions to our knowledge of possible life in the great beyond ... The book is packed with the budget woes and scientific celebrations that make up life at NASA. Each chapter is broken into small, vignette-type sections with such titles as "Can We Build It Any Faster?" and "Hey, I Had That Idea First." These bite-sized segments make the material accessible. So does his conversational tone. Reading the book
is like sitting in the office with someone who's eager to explain the ins and outs of the science and the program. * Erin Blakemore, Washington Post *
Boss takes readers along on the roller-coaster saga of modern planet-hunting. More a history than purely about science, Boss's work gives readers a visceral sense of the highs and lows of modern research ... With clear writing and compelling characters, Bosss story is as much about how modern science gets done as it is about the fascinating results. * Publishers Weekly *