The Hunt for Extraterrestrial Life Moves From Science Fiction to Real World Science

June 14, 2011

LONDON, June 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –

As NASA’s Kepler space telescope detects hundreds of star systems with
multiple planets, the search for life in the universe is firmly “on”. Is Man
alone, or do we have neighbours? If so, what do they look like, and where
are they?

The evidence may be closer than we think, according to a new book from
Nottingham University Press.

“From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life” by Jerry Cranford describes the
new science of astrobiology – with all its fascination, but without the
jargon – and then introduces us to a new breed of “planet hunting”
astrobiologists who are quickly discovering we are probably not alone in the

Aimed at enthusiasts and undergraduates, the book details our latest
understanding on how life evolved on Earth, which is vital to understand how
life might have developed elsewhere.

The book maps this fast-emerging and exciting science which is
revolutionising the way scientists view the possibility of life on other
planets. It explains, in simple language, and with more than 180 high
resolution colour photographs and illustrations:

        - How bacterial-like creatures living in the most hostile
          environments on Earth - within rocks located miles below ground,
          icebergs, boiling water, and even on the power rods in nuclear power
          stations - have challenged scientists' beliefs that life is complex and

        - How these very organisms are now believed to be the direct
          descendants of the earliest life forms that somehow managed to evolve
          almost four billion years ago when our young planet was so hostile that
          no form of life was believed possible

        - How the rise of computers and rocket science in the second
          half of the 20th Century is allowing our 21st century scientists to
          develop amazing new tools and measuring instruments which now indicate
          life may be widespread throughout the universe

        - And so how "homes" for alien or extraterrestrial life might
          be common in the universe

Jerry says that his scientific training – in psychology and the brain
sciences and not astronomy – gives this book a vital edge: “Being both a
trained brain scientist and an amateur astrobiologist allowed me to address
the important issue of how intelligent nervous systems might evolve on other
worlds and how they might differ from those found on earth.

“This background also enabled me to cut through the clutter and jargon,
to present the information – and hard evidence – in lay terms which everyone
can understand.

“This is an exciting time, and I hope ‘From Dying Stars to the Birth of
Life” will provide a fascinating insight, and an educational grounding, for
anyone who wants to understand how this new science is underpinned – and
where it is going.”

For further information and review copies, contact:

Alan Murray, alan@murraypr.com – +44(0)20-7544-0016; +44(0)7887-877077

Source: newswire

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