The Living Cosmos

Chris Impey

Cambridge, 2011(paperback, update)

An astronomer at Univ of Arizona, this book explores the possiblility of life in the universe, astrobiology.

1. The Unfinished Revolution

p 5 Good survey of ancient persons and ideas. Next several pages a history of ancient thinkers, basis for a map of ideas.

p 13 Sings the praises of Bertrand Russell - "heroic figure in the history of thought", productive work into his 80s, only desire to learn more mathematics that kept him from suicide, jailed for antiwar activity during WWI and produced great work even there.

p19 Interesting anecdotal history of Tycho Brahe

p20 Kepler used Brahe's data to form his three laws. Corresponded with Galileo. Anecdotal history of Kepler.

p20 Galileo's discoveries - mountains and valleys on Moon, so wasn't perfect sphere, telescope, discovered 4 moons of Jupiter, resolved stars in Milky Way. Corresponded with Kepler in 1597 about heliocentric model.

p22 Newton in one year invented calculus, discovered the law of gravity, defined the properties of light, made improvements in telescope. Was confined in Britain on plague protection quarantine.

p22-23 Anecdotal history of Newton.

p23 Hershel's and Parsons telescopes

p28-29 Hubble

p29 Vesto Slipher. Introduced the red shift into the investigation by Hubble. Used Cepheids to get distance to galaxies. Almost all galaxies showed red shift (Andromeda being one exception)

p31 Description of general relativity

p32 Interesting. Discusses E=mc2 "So if anything with mass is subject to gravity, and energy and mass are equivalent, then light has mass, too, which makes it subject to gravity." This is just the kind of statement I'm being jumped upon about in HyperPhysics.

p33 Lemaitre and the big bang, 3K bkg. Interesting that he gives such short shrift to Penzias and Wilson, commenting only that they "blundered onto this signature of the big bang". Comments that big bang is very robust model.

p33-34 Dark matter, dark energy and inflation

p35 Gives number of 60 billion for galaxies, 1022 stars.

p37 Overview of large telescopes, Keck 10m with hexagonal mirrors, but Hubble more powerful. Interesting overview of Hubble capability. Can read book at 3 miles, see a 100w bulb at 25 times the moon's distance, see 10 billion times as deep into the universe as the human eye. Relative to eye achieves x100 from detectors which detect essentially every photon, x104 from aperture, x104 from extension of observation time.

p38 Hershell descovered IR from space with thermometer, Ritter discovered UV with AgCl solution

p39 Hertz discovered radio waves and inspired Marconi, Reber made a radio frequency dish, Roentgen discovered X-rays, and now all are being used to explore space.

p41 Microwaves see universe when it was <0.003% of current age, Hubble sees objects at 5% of current age.

p40-42 Various scale models of the solar system and universe

p43 Model in time. Our civilization in last second of a year which represents the age of the universe. Technology in last 1/10 of second.

p44 Chemistry timeline Lavoisier - Dalton -Fraunhofer

p46 The presumption of astrobiology is "since carbon and water exist everywhere in the universe" .. the "Raw material for life is abundant.."

p46 Hooke credited with first publication of microscope observations, coined the term "cells". Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria and other microscopic life late 1600s. Pasteur, Mendel and Darwin cited.

p48 Under heading "Astrobiology Grows Up", discusses Watson& Crick, Oparin & Haldane, Miller & Urey. Mentions Drake

2. Life's Origins

p52 The dating of a zircon crystal to 4.4 Gy prompts him to quote Blake "to see the world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wildflower".

p52 Fractional composition of human body, water 60% by weight

p53 living organisms 40% carbon,nitrogen, oxygen

p53-54 brief big bang chronology

p54-55 Composition of universe, graph on p55. Uses decks of cards to illustrate rarity of atoms other than H and He.

p55-56 Nice section on the building up of the elements. Section titled "Cauldron of the Elements".

p57 Low mass, high mass star comparison. "Low-mass stars end up with a seething core of carbon, with some nitrogen and oxygen. High-mass stars have cores of iron, not the solid iron of a wrecking ball but a bizarre, dense billion-degree gas."

p57-58 Elegant language to describe white dwarfs, neutron stars, supernovae and heavy element buildup.

p58 Deep Time "time's 'arrow' seems to be an emergent property of large collections of atoms." Looks like he and Sean Carroll are on the same wavelength.

p61 Quotes 750,000 years from Greenland ice cores and several million from layers in Lake Baikal. Earth's orbit from 6% to 0% elliptic with a period of 100K years from deep sea core samples. Earth's axis tilt 21.5 to 24.5 degrees with 41K year period. Earth precession 23K years.

p62 Watch 32,768 Hz Cesium clock.

p64 Carbon dating with some detail. Zircon dating. Bare statement "Shroud of Turin was a fake."

p66 Bottom - more about zircon.

p67 Quotes 4.54 +/- 1% Gyr for meteorite age.

p67-68 Oldest preserved remains of life - gives ages for lots of examples.

p68-69 Very nice articulate description of fossils.

p70 Stromatolites >3Gyr Shark Bay West Australia, cyanobacteria, cyanobacteria >2 Gyr in Ontario.

p71 Cholesterol remains in fossils - biomarkers.

p72 Fairly strong evidence to 3.5Gyr

p72 12C13C ratio by mass spectrometry. Lighter carbon higher speed, absorbed more often by enzyme in photosynthetic microbes, results in 5 parts per 1000 less 12C in the limestone in which the microbes live.

p73 Description of Miller-Urey

p76 Flowchart of life

p76 Replacement rate of cells - interesting discussion. "Every five days you get a new stomach lining. You get a new set of skin cells every six weeks and a complete replacement of your liver cells every two months. Each year, 98 percent of the atoms in your body are replaced. Constant replacement of components and energy flow within an unchanging structure is the hallmark of living organisms."

p77 His summary description of entropy.

p77-78 Entropy and life - a reasonable discussion.

p78-79 Discusses information, hints at Shannon information, cites Orgel and specified information, but skirts the problem of how specified information arises.

p80 Jumps to (1) use energy, (2) organize matter, (3) store information, (4) reproduce and then starts evolution discussion.

p81-82 How did life start? Cites Jack Szostak. Sketch to protocell.

p83 Top, his response to YEC and intelligent design. Mentions William Paley. Paragraph 5 is party line on intelligent design.

p85 Gets to RNA world and posits transition to DNA. Cech and Altman, RNA as catalyst, RNA enzymes called ribozymes.

p85 RNA and "RNA world" from Woese, Crick and Orgel. Discussion of ribosome. Nice analogy of ribosome to DVD player that takes DVD and "translates" it to a movie. discussion of rna's role in the ribosome.

p86 "We've neatly sidestepped the chicken-and-egg problem - RNA embodies both information and action in the cell." A little too neatly, I would think - more like "swept under the rug".

p86 Szostak and the first replicator. Orgel quote, particularly on the transition to RNA world, "Anyone who thinks they know the solution to this problem is deluded." but then "Anyone who thinks this problem is insoluble is also deluded." In the face of the daunting numerical problems he proposes autocatalytic processes, clay surfaces, and makes the leap to RNA this way.

p87 Back to Szostak and projecting from RNA to ribozymes. Last sentence "All the requirements for growth and replication are satisfied." I would ask "Are you satisfied with that statement?!"

p88 Discussion of the first cell. Quotes Lynn Margulis "To go from a bacterium to people is less of a step than to go from a mixture of amino acids to a bacterium."

p88 Depicts Szostak as concluding that RNA can self-replicate, and concluding that clay has a part. Attributes it all to Darwinian evolution. Leans a lot on Szostak, which seems appropriate

p88-89 RNA replication discussion. Includes the clay proposal. Suggests spontaneous replication of RNA. 89 mid, looks really shaky to me - unsupported assertions. Paragraph 3,"At this point, we have primitive precursors of the attributes of living organisms: containers that concentrate chemical activity, macromolecules that can carry information and replicate, and a mechanism for conveying selective advantage to the best replicators. The last is crucial because it means that Darwinian evolution could have operated in the dark ages before DNA and modern cells."

p89 Sketch of vesicle formation

p90 Diagram of chemical evolution to Darwinian evolution. The GAIA hypothesis, James Lovelock along with Lynn Margulis. Discusses feedback loops and the regulation of the Earth's biosphere. Looks like an incredible amount of faith.

p91 "Twenty percent of the molecules in the air were produced by the respiration of tiny microbes that evolved several billion years ago."

p91 Sun has increased its heating of the Earth by 25% since it was formed. The salt concentration is 3.4% compared to disaster at 5%, salt role of bacteria.

p92 The carbon cycle as a life-preserving feedback loop.

3. Extreme Life

p94 Waxes poetic about microbes and the extreme range of conditions under which they can thrive.

p94 "Seeing the weirdness of life on Earth expands the definition of the biosphere and makes it more likely that there will be habitable places elsewhere in the Solar System. Most cosmic environments are inhospitable, but 'inhospitable' is life's middle name because primitive organisms thrive in such an amazing range of physical conditions."

p94 "Advanced forms of life like mammals may be unusual, because they are able to thrive in such a narrow range of physical conditions. Across the cosmos, planets covered by a web of extremophiles may be the norm. It's difficult to feel kinship with bacillus infernos, and even scientists must guard against anthropocentric thinking. We say that life is hardy, that life is resourceful. Perhaps - on millions of planets beyond the Solar System and with no deeper meaning than rocks or clouds - life just is." A kind of manifesto for the astrobiologist, albeit with a materialistic worldview built in.

p96 Tree of life by Stephen Jay Gould

p97 Haekel's tree of life

p98 Ribosomal DNA as tool for forming tree of life. Discusses central dogma.

p99 Phylogenetic tree of life from mitochondrial DNA

p100 Numbers for species and Haldane's beetle quote. Describes "lumpers" and "splitters" in approach to counting species.

p101 40 kingdoms of bacteria

p101 DNA overlap, e.g. 99% with monkeys

p102 cytochrome-C tree of life

p103 "gene transfer is the way bacteria gain resistance to antibiotics." Discusses gene transfer from bacteria to eukaryotes and uses it to undermine the idea of a common ancestor.

p104 Treats thermophilic origin of life as highly probable. Discusses protists, but I don't really know what that means. But he says "All eukaryotes including us are either protists are descendants of protists."

p106 22nd amino acid pyrrolysine in thermophiles

p106 "Life on Earth began in extreme conditions, probably near high-temperature, toxic hydrothermal vents."

p107 Bacterial superheros bacillus infernus and dernococcus radiodurans

p108 tardigrade discussion and picture

p113-114 Discussion of pH with examples - look at adding scale to HyperPhysics

  • pH examples
  • 11 ammonia
  • 9 baking soda
  • 7 neutral
  • 2 lime juice
  • 1 stomach acid
  • 0 battery acid

p116 Extremophiles methanogens and halophiles

p119 Section on antibiotics and antibiotic resistance: "Tiny Superheroes to the Rescue". "Almost all current antibiotics come from a single family of soil-based germs called Actinomycelales." Suggests that extremophiles or archaeans might provide new pathways.

p120 New idea to me - bacterial biological communication, with some phenomena like glowing which only turns on when the colony concentration reaches a critical concentration. Utilized by a type of squid with internal bacterial colonies.

p120 Cosmic hitchhiker idea is counter to what I have heard from Ross and others who suggest that survival of any kind of life on an interstellar journey is implausible. Starts with a key sentence after describing the hardiness of some kinds of life: "The hardiness of extremophiles is spurring new interest in panspermia .."

p125 "Chance and Necessity" - a two paragraph statement of naturalistic "faith". Actually a manifesto that declares that the argument from design is irrelevant. The cheekiest statement in this manifesto is "The argument from design is made irrelevant by Darwin's theory of natural selection."

p125 Gives starring role to Bertrand Russell and Jacques Monod.

p127 Inserting 3-fluorobenzene in place of normal base in DNA - was replicated by Peter Schultz of Scripps Institute. Added nearly 100 unconventional amino acids and made corresponding new protein. Mentions insulin and artimisinin, the anti-malaria drug. Diagram of the process.

p127 Starting with Life 2.0, describes several computer simulations of life.

p128 Drew Endy MIT Princeton Boston. Periodic light emitter in E Coli, toggle switch with counteracting genes. Endy and Thomas Knight - biobricks - NOT, AND, gate functions. 3000 biobricks. Mentions Craig Venter

p129 Norman Pace (common core set of biochemical processes) and Steve Benner(widely different possibilities)

p130 Artificial life. 8 pages to computer simulations which are directly designed, but dismisses the suggestion that we are designed in a single paragraph on p125.

p130 Larry Yaeger and Polyworld

p131 Turing and ENIAC

p131 John Conway Cambridge - cellular automata, game of life

p132 Stephen Wilfram -automata to solve trancendental equations

p132 Chris Langton A-life "life is digital information" "spoke". Computer will have brain-equivalent power by 2020"

p134 1st two paragraphs on the feedback idea

p134 Life beyond biology - willing to propose that, but dismisses life before or transcendent to biology.

p134 Life beyond biology - suggests that robots and computers will amount to synthetic life, used the term "self awareness", discusses nanotechnology internally for health intervention.

p135-136 Discusses the "singularity", a term introduced by Ray Kurzweil. Then a kind of blue sky projection for non-biological life in the cosmos.

4. Shaping Evolution

p139 2nd paragraph "It's hard not to feel the stage was made for us..."

p140 Birth of the Earth. Mass of Sun 500x all planets combined, all other stuff 1/100 of the planets Sedna - minor planet. Eris.

p143 The Big Whack - Moon formation. Bad-mouths Velikovsky, praises Safronov.

p144 Diagram of where ice and methane ice form. Primeval Earth.

p145 Carbon in comets paragraph 1. Halley's. Says that water didn't come from the comets. Postulates that most came from outer part of asteroid belt. Liquid water 4.4 Gyr, late heavy bombardment about 3.9Gyr, Diagram of bombardments.

p146 Earliest tentative evidence for life 3.8-3.9Gyr.

p149 Discusses Tunguska impact

p150 Leonid. Interesting biosegment on Oort.

p151 Alvarez and the dinosaur extinction, shocked quartz as well as iridium as evidence.

p152 Comments on 7 mass extinctions, Permian 248Myr, 90-95% of species.

p153 Guy Consolmagno and antarctic meteorites. Mentions Allan Hills meteorite from Mars.

p155 18 circuits of Milky Way since Earth was formed.

p156 Magnetic field of Sun reverses at alternate peaks of 11yr Sun cycle, discusses possible solar effects on Earth climate.

p157 Solar cycles 100kyr, 41ky, 23ky.

p157 Prognosis for Earth and Sun - red giant, boil-away of oceans 107 yrs, 500x106 desert.

p158 Effects of a close supernova

p158 Extinction of mammoths by supernova story. Other possible supernova effects.

p159 "Hypernova" - gamma ray bursts

p160 Illustration of model of radiation environment of Earth back to 4.5Gyr.

p161 Role of radiation exposure in driving evolution - pretty sweeping statements.

p161 Speculative environments in other stellar neighborhoods.

p163 Good section on changing Sun and atmosphere.

p164 Interesting discussion of the oxygen crisis - compare to Ball's. Diagram of atmospheric gases vs time. O2 rise 2.5 Gyr back, cyanobacteria role.

p165-166 Global carbon cycle diagram and carbon story.

p167 Snowball Earth 800-600x106 years, glaciation.

p168 Maybe 2.3Gyr another snowball

p169 In "Violent Change is Normal", he says "Current global warming is a glitch injected into the machine by humans", and that overall, "Earth is in a cool phase."

p170 Takes a swing by Hutton and Lyell with even a mention of Ussher.

p170 "Darwin's Brilliant Idea"

p171 Darwin's "Endless forms most beautiful" quote

p172 Discusses Gould, Simon Conway Morris. Discusses convergence. Morris is a convergence advocate and expert.

p174-5 Genetic drift - small population effect.

p176 Last common ancestor discussion

p177 Lynn Margulis, "What is Life" co-creator of Gaia hypothesis, son Dorion Sagan, father Carl Sagan.

p178 Cambrian explosion graphs

p179 Interesting section on brain development. Quotes 6 million cones and 120 million rods for human vision.

p180 Hominid development. Talks about a severe population pinch, but doesn't mention Noah.

p180-181 CO2 from ice cores. Interesting reflections on human brain. Brain gene 2.7Myr? New variants 37000 and 6000 years? Lots of brain discussion on these two pages.

5. Living in the Solar System

p183 Includes Venus, Mars, Jupiter's moon Europa, Saturn's moon Titan for discussion.

p184 "How special is the Earth?" fantasy.

p185 Rare Earth Hypothesis - starts with weak anthropic principle.

p186 Planet habitability concept map.

p188 Habitable planet graphic.

p189 "Rare or Inevitable" He is definitely leaning toward the "inevitable" side. 2.5 billion years for life - got to be pretty rare to keep habitable conditions for that long, but he quotes Chris McKay as projecting that it could have developed in a hundred million years.

p190 "Even if intelligence isn't inevitable, there's evolutionary logic in the path that led here." This paragraph is a statement of profound faith in the evolutionary mechanism. Ends the paragraph with "No cosmic tunesmith is needed: the song emerges by blind experimentation." Wow! What a statement of faith! The first four paragraphs of this page assume the total truth of the evolutionary hypothesis and total contempt for any suggestion of design.

p190 Criticizes Rare Earth argument as being circular and a tautology. Not specifically referring to Ward & Brownlee's book by that name.

p190 Starts a big section on Mars. Does a little history of Mars lore.

p193 Spanovich as undergraduate student guided the Opportunity and Spirit Rover.

p194 Mars up close - rovers. Sojourner photo, overview.

p195 Some general Mars data - look at for hph. Water evidence, gulleys and runoff channels. Some photos I ought to pick up for hph.

p196 Water evidence on Mars.

p197 More on rovers, more on Spanovich.

p198 Two bouncing ball landers on Mars on opposite sides, 2004. 2 go-cart-sized robots, Opportunity and Spirit. Opportunity landed in the bottom of a crater, found chemical evidence of formation by evaporation in a water environment, also small spheres (photo), layering, features consistent with a water environment, but not a volcanic origin. Geologic evidence of flowing water. Story of Spirit more prosaic,

p199 "Mars got its water in the same way that Earth did - from a mixture of small asteroids and comets."

p199-200 "where the water went"

p200 Photo of large patch of water ice. (ESA Mars Express). 10% of water remains -from 10% of Earth's oceans projected originally (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter).

p200 Alan Hills meteorite ALH84001, interesting details. 4.5Gyr. Mars identification, air bubbles, major story about possible life, verdict:not proven. Good discussion.Interesting that the magnetic crystals were the strongest evidence for life.

p203 Diagram of Mars exploratory hardware from 1997-2012.

p204 "Face on Mars" story

p204-206 on "terraforming", possibly creating life conditions on Mars."greening the red planet"

p206 Starts discussion of Venus, "Earth's Evil Twin".

p207 16 landing attempts, Venera 4 crash-landed '67, Venera 7 gave 23 minutes of data 1970.

p207 "Misfortune finds you on the surface of Venus. The Sun barely penetrates thick yellowish clouds. The dusky sky is scarred by lightning and sulfuric acid raid. A carbon-dioxide atmosphere crushes down one hundred times harder than on Earth. It's so hot that paper would ignite and lead would melt. Whoever named it after the goddess of love had a sorry history of relationships."

p208 Greenhouse effect on Venus - good description of how a planet within 5% of Earth's size became a 900°F oven. Contrast with CO2 on the Earth where it dissolves in the ocean and is trapped in rock. Venus has 0.01% of Earth's water. 40% more sunlight is enough to get water high enough to be ionized by UV and destroyed. Positive feedback would boil off an ocean in a few hundred million years.

p209 Reflection on global warming based on Venus picture. He does not take a strong position on human contributions, saying it is a "heated debate".

p209 Possibility of life in Venus clouds? Venus Express in 2006 used "vision beyond the visible spectrum".

p210 Titan: Moon of Saturn (one of a dozen large moons). Beyond the asteroid belt. Sun can't keep water liquid. Most promising for life is Titan. 10x the gas of Earth with 1/2 the mass. 2x atmos pressure. N2 most of it. Surface obscured by organic smog. Studied by Cassini in 2004. Need more description of Cassini - nice short description here. Use this as a guide for more description of Saturn's moons. p211 more on Cassini and Saturn's moons.

p210 Huygens probe to Titan's surface

p211-215 Huygens probe details on Titan. Frozen water on surface, ethane & methane sludge, NH3. Surface erosion patterns from the flow of liquid methane. Volcanoes of ice and ammonia. Black methane rain. Also acetylene and propane. Cliffs of solid methane. Huge lake of methane or hydrocarbons in northern region. The 2006 Cassini flyby showed dozens of lakes in the north polar regions in calderas.

p210-211 Saturn's rings viewed in mid 2004 by Cassini. Flew through 10000 mile gap in the F ring of Saturn. Carolyn Pierce and Saturn's rings. Describes picture of Dione with Saturn in background which I should include in hph. Time Picture of the Year 2005. 212

p212 Porco's comments on Titan.

p215 "Titan is the most Earth-like place in the solar system."

p215 Begins discussion of Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Europa and Earth have oceans of water - Europa's are frozen - a waterworld encased in ice.

p216 More water on Europa than in all Earth's oceans. Ice layers hundreds of feet thick. But not frozen solid. First observed by Galileo in 1997.

p216 Concise statement of the special properties of water.

p218 Fig 96 photo of Europa's surface. Describes proposed missions.

p218-220 Looking for signs of life - discussion of biomarkers. Jonathan Lunine and biomarkers, not limiting to carbon-based life. Magnetic tracers Kirschvink, C13/C12, iron, amplification of DNA & RNA,

p221 The "A-list" for the search for life includes Enceladus when Cassini spotted the geysers emerging from its south pole. Porco's comments.. Also includes Callisto.

6. Distant Worlds

p223 His scale model of the solar system and the closest star. As of 2011 publication, >1000 planets since 1995.

p224 "Earth-like planets may be special, but their rarity is offset by the vast size and abundance of the universe."

p224 Walnut Earth, Moon pea at arms length.

p225 Mayor & Queloz and the first discovery of a planet around a Sun-like star on July 5, 1995

p226 Doppler shift of Sun's light by Jupiter +/- 13m/s during 12 year orbit.

p227 51 Pegasi's planet gives 110m/s variation in 4.2 days. Gives plot of data.

p228 Over 1000 exoplanets

p229 Plot of # of planets by mass by Doppler detection.

p229 Lots of Jupiter-mass planets, but most much closer than Jupiter. Massive planets within 20AU of 20% of Sun-like stars.

p230 Plot of mass vs distance, Jupiter on the fringe.

p231 Pulsar planets are a new idea to me.

p232 "may be a hundred million habitats for life in our galaxy alone."

p233 Light diagram of a giant planet 150Ly away. Fig 102 HD209458 25%>Jupiter. >100 transiting exoplanets observed.

p234 Kepler satellite detects 0.01% dimming and looks at 150,000 stars.

p234 Fig 103 Fraction of metals influences # of giant planets. ~5% of stars have planets, but 30% if 3x Sun's metallicity.

p235-236 Microlensing for planet detection. Earth-mass planet could brighten a background star for a couple of hours. One shot detection as they move past. Has discovered 10 planets, one in Milky Way only 5x mass of Earth.

p239 "Mimas sweeps our Cassini's division, Cordelia and Ophelia shepherd a slender ring of Uranus."

p239 "core accretion model can build an Earth, and if further out and cooler, can attract gas for a gas giant."

p240 Comment that core of Jupiter may be only three Earth masses.

p241 Fig 105 Model of water content. Less than half of stars are single.

p241 Following the water. "Water delivery depends upon the location of the giant planets."

p243 Detecting Earths. Beyond practical Doppler detection. Gliese 581 20Ly, 5MEarth, suitable for liquid water. Kepler most hopeful.

p244-245 "Big Glass" - making mirrors, big telescope description, description of smoothness of big mirrors.

p245 Cheating the atmosphere with adaptive optics. Laser on atmosphere layer guides 20-30Hz adjustment.

p246 Spectrum of Earth from Mars Global Surveyor shows H2O, CO2,O3, Fig 107. Discusses LBT (Large Binocular Telescope). Phil Hinz.

p247 Mentions Kepler again. Need more description in hph.

p248 Figure 109 - planet discovery. 2x108 stars to find ~100 Earths. SIM Space Interferometry Mission can see star wobble.

p248 Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) future. 6 to 8m optical telescope, contrast 109, block central disc of star. Home in on best 50 terrestrial planets from SIM.

p250-251 Debra Fischer and Greg Laughlin and proposal to study Alpha Centauri a 4.4 LY

p252 Comparing spacecraft speeds to the speed of light.

p252-255 rocket technology

p255-257 Science and science fiction - sorry, no warp drive!

p258-258 NASA budgets and the prospect of robots.

p259-260 The Experience of Space with Pinky Nelson

p262-263 Dreams of other worlds. Challenge of space travel. So far 500 people, mostly military test pilots, have experienced space.

7. Are We Alone?

p266 "The fabric of physics embeds numbers that are both finely tuned and propitious for the development of carbon-based life-forms. Are these facts trivial, because we can only observe a universe with properties that would allow us to exist? Or is there a deeper meaning?"

p266 Reflection on the Drake equation, SETI, Arthur C. Clarke, the Fermi paradox.

p273 Returns to "Fine Tuning in Nature".

p274-275 Strong and weak anthropic principle

p275 The multiverse and M-theory

p277-281 The Drake equation: history of Drake's writing it - Carl Sagan and the pioneers of SETI were there at Green Bank Observatory.

p281-282 The solar system at a sweet spot in the galaxy.

p284-290 The development of intelligence

p291-293 The doomsday hypothesis

p294-301 More about SETI

p306-307 I think, the only reference to religion in the book.

Windows of Creation
Evidence from nature Is the universe designed?
Reading Reference
  Reasonable Faith Go Back