INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Provocative and thrilling ... Loeb asks us to think big and to expect the unexpected.” —Alan Lightman, New York Times bestselling author of Einstein’s Dreams and Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine Harvard’s top astronomer lays out his controversial theory that our solar system was recently visited by advanced alien technology from a distant star. In late 2017, scientists at a Hawaiian observatory glimpsed an object soaring through our inner solar system, moving so quickly that it could only have come from another star. Avi Loeb, Harvard’s top astronomer, showed it was not an asteroid; it was moving too fast along a strange orbit, and left no trail of gas or debris in its wake. There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization. In Extraterrestrial, Loeb takes readers inside the thrilling story of the first interstellar visitor to be spotted in our solar system. He outlines his controversial theory and its profound implications: for science, for religion, and for the future of our species and our planet. A mind-bending journey through the furthest reaches of science, space-time, and the human imagination, Extraterrestrial challenges readers to aim for the stars—and to think critically about what’s out there, no matter how strange it seems.
'An astronomical Sherlock Holmes' WASHINGTON POST 'Visionary' STEPHEN GREENBLATT 'Compelling . . . The book is not so much a claim for one object as an argument for a more open-minded approach to science - a combination of humility and wonder' NEW STATESMAN“/i>/font> Harvard's top astronomer takes us inside the mind-blowing story of the first interstellar visitor to our solar system In late 2017, scientists at a Hawaiian observatory glimpsed a strange object soaring through our inner solar system. Astrophysicist Avi Loeb conclusively showed it was not an asteroid; it was moving too fast along a strange orbit, and leaving no trail of gas or debris in its wake. There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization. In Extraterrestrial, Loeb takes readers inside the thrilling story of the first interstellar visitor to be spotted in our solar system. He outlines his theory and its profound implications: for science, for religion, and for the future of our planet. A mind-bending journey through the furthest reaches of science, space-time, and the human imagination, Extraterrestrial challenges readers to aim for the stars-and to think critically about what's out there, no matter how strange it seems.
"In this EK title Roush investigates a topic that has fascinated him since college -- the possibility and probability of life, intelligent or otherwise, in the universe. The book covers the history and science of our search for extraterrestrial life, and investigates what that search means for us as a species, as well as what the implications of finding life on other planets might mean for life on Earth. The book covers various iterations of SETI, or the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, both in listening for messages from space as well as sending them. Roush also covers more recent efforts to find exoplanets, worlds similar enough to our own to possibly harbor life in even very basic forms. Some of this research is driven by discoveries of 'extremophile' life here on Earth in places and conditions previously considered to be unconducive to life forms. Roush co-taught a course on this topic last year at MIT"--
If we send a message into space, will extraterrestrial beings receive it? Will they understand? The endlessly fascinating question of whether we are alone in the universe has always been accompanied by another, more complicated one: if there is extraterrestrial life, how would we communicate with it? In this book, Daniel Oberhaus leads readers on a quest for extraterrestrial communication. Exploring Earthlings' various attempts to reach out to non-Earthlings over the centuries, he poses some not entirely answerable questions: If we send a message into space, will extraterrestrial beings receive it? Will they understand? What languages will they (and we) speak? Is there not only a universal grammar (as Noam Chomsky has posited), but also a grammar of the universe? Oberhaus describes, among other things, a late-nineteenth-century idea to communicate with Martians via Morse code and mirrors; the emergence in the twentieth century of SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence), CETI (communication with extraterrestrial intelligence), and finally METI (messaging extraterrestrial intelligence); the one-way space voyage of Ella, an artificial intelligence agent that can play cards, tell fortunes, and recite poetry; and the launching of a theremin concert for aliens. He considers media used in attempts at extraterrestrial communication, from microwave systems to plaques on spacecrafts to formal logic, and discusses attempts to formulate a language for our message, including the Astraglossa and two generations of Lincos (lingua cosmica). The chosen medium for interstellar communication reveals much about the technological sophistication of the civilization that sends it, Oberhaus observes, but even more interesting is the information embedded in the message itself. In Extraterrestrial Languages, he considers how philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, science, and art have informed the design or limited the effectiveness of our interstellar messaging.
The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, has attracted both praise and sharp criticism from the mainstream scientific community over the years. Extraterrestrials: A Philosophical Perspective explores the important philosophical issues that are at play in this discussion. AndrZ Kukla closely examines several of the prominent ideas surrounding the possibility of extraterrestrial life such as the vastness of the universe argument, the argument from mediocrity and the one world, one science argument while offering innovative theories of his own. Among other things, Kukla show uses Chomsky's account of language acquisition to explain why humans will never be able to communicate with extraterrestrials. Extraterrestrials offers a close and thorough treatment of extraterrestrial life that will intrigue a wide audience, especially those who are interested in the philosophy of science.