Life as We Do Not Know It

Life as We Do Not Know It

The NASA Search for (and Synthesis Of) Alien Life

Book - 2005
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Penguin Putnam
Peter Ward is a distinguished professor, scientist, and author whose earlier book Rare Earth, with its dim view of the possibilities of complex life beyond our planet, created a rift in the science community so controversial he was featured on the front page of The New York Times. With Life as We Do Not Know It, Ward again challenges our notions of extraterrestrial life with a significantly revised look at life in the universe and a novel hypothesis about the origins of life on Earth.

A principal investigator for the NASA Astrobiology Institute, which funds a program to study ?life as we do not know it??investigating the possibility of life on other planets or, more controversial, creating non-DNA life in the laboratory?Peter Ward presents the latest data on the range of life that are scientifically possible on Earth and beyond. Authoritative and eye opening, Life as We Do Not Know It is sure to provoke wonder and heated debate among both professional researchers and lay readers alike.

Baker & Taylor
A revealing exploration of the latest NASA research into the possibility of extraterrestrial life also poses a hypothesis about the origins of life on Earth, examining the controversial idea of creating non-DNA life in a laboratory as well as the scientific possibilities of the range of life throughout the universe. By the author of Gorgon. 35,000 first prinitng.

& Taylor

Explores research into extraterrestrial life and hypothesizes about the origins of life on Earth, examining the idea of creating non-DNA life in a laboratory as well as the scientific possibilities of life throughout the universe.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2005
ISBN: 9780670034581
Branch Call Number: 576.839 Ward 2005
Characteristics: xxvii, 292 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Oct 15, 2019

This is a fascinating survey or exobiology (the only science for which the topic of study has so far not been proven not to exist!). "Alien" life may not only be out there on other planets, but may (in the form of so far undected non-DNA life) also be common right here on earth. I once read about a quest to find such a thing in California's Mono Lake, but I don't know what became of that study. The author also draws up a possible new family tree of life, with RNA viruses and DNA viruses on opposite ends: the former as some of the most primitive and the latter as both the most highly specialized and devolved life on the planet. Mind-blowing stuff.

Actually I checked this book out of the library two times. The first time, I was the recipient of the "annotated version" -- annotated not by the author or editor but by another library patron who clearly didn't like the author's theories. The word "wrong" was hand-written on the page here and there; words were scribbled out (sometimes replaced by other words); and the well-known circular reasoning implied by "survival of the fittest" was pointed out (that reasoning is why, of course, many contemporary science writers avoid that catchphrase). Anyway, these "notes" were annoying and I reported them to the library staff for removal.


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