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Earth to Kepler 186f

Scientists announced on 17 April that a planet has been detected in a solar system five hundred light years away that possibly has Earth-like conditions – not too hot or cold and capable of possessing liquid water, the essential precondition for the development of life. Kepler186f, as the planet is known, is the fifth planet in the solar system of the star Kepler 186.

Since well before the era of space exploration began, people have speculated about the existence of other life forms elsewhere in the universe. As the first tentative steps into space were made, this curiosity only intensified. The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program has been monitoring deep space with radio telescopes since the 1970s, Carl Sagan popularized the topic in the 1980s, and astrophysicists such as Neil DeGrasse Tyson continue to bring the subject to a wide and eager audience.

Even if planets such as Kepler 186f possessed life, current understanding of physics suggests it would be impossible for us ever to explore these places or contact their inhabitants because of the massive distances involved. Still, it’s fun to contemplate the possibility of other life forms and simply to find out more about what’s out there. Check out the following Richland Library titles to discover the latest in space exploration.


Amazon Says: Dreams of Other Worlds describes the unmanned space missions that have opened new windows on distant worlds. Spanning four decades of dramatic advances in astronomy and plane more...
Amazon Says: Dreams of Other Worlds describes the unmanned space missions that have opened new windows on distant worlds. Spanning four decades of dramatic advances in astronomy and planetary science, this book tells the story of eleven iconic exploratory missions and how they have fundamentally transformed our scientific and cultural perspectives on the universe and our place in it. The journey begins with the Viking and Mars Exploration Rover missions to Mars, which paint a startling picture of a planet at the cusp of habitability. It then moves into the realm of the gas giants with the Voyager probes and Cassini's ongoing exploration of the moons of Saturn. The Stardust probe's dramatic round-trip encounter with a comet is brought vividly to life, as are the SOHO and Hipparcos missions to study the Sun and Milky Way. This stunningly illustrated book also explores how our view of the universe has been brought into sharp focus by NASA's great observatories--Spitzer, Chandra, and Hubble--and how the WMAP mission has provided rare glimpses of the dawn of creation. Dreams of Other Worlds reveals how these unmanned exploratory missions have redefined what it means to be the temporary tenants of a small planet in a vast cosmos. less...
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Amazon Says: “Any time an Apollo-era astronaut steps forward with ideas for our future in space, it’s time to stop what whatever we’re doing and pay attention. Buzz Aldrin, one of more...
Amazon Says: “Any time an Apollo-era astronaut steps forward with ideas for our future in space, it’s time to stop what whatever we’re doing and pay attention. Buzz Aldrin, one of the first moonwalkers, has no shortage of these ideas. And in Mission to Mars he treats us to how, when, and why we should travel there.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson Legendary "space statesman" Buzz Aldrin speaks out as a vital advocate for the continuing quest to push the boundaries of the universe as we know it. As a pioneering astronaut who first set foot on the moon during mankind's first landing of Apollo 11--and as an aerospace engineer who designed an orbital rendezvous technique critical to future planetary landings--Aldrin has a vision, and in this book he plots out the path he proposes, taking humans to Mars by 2035. Foreword by Andrew Aldrin Chapter 1: The View from Air Force One Chapter 2: Time for Decision-making Chapter 3: Your Space: Building the Business Case Chapter 4: Dreams of My Moon Chapter 5: Voyage to Armageddon Chapter 6: The March to Mars Chapter 7: Homesteading the Red Planet Chapter 8: The Clarion Call less...
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Amazon Says: A thought-provoking and humorous collection on NASA and the future of space travel. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rare breed of astrophysicist, one who can speak as easily and bril more...
Amazon Says: A thought-provoking and humorous collection on NASA and the future of space travel. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rare breed of astrophysicist, one who can speak as easily and brilliantly with popular audiences as with professional scientists. Now that NASA has put human space flight effectively on hold—with a five- or possibly ten-year delay until the next launch of astronauts from U.S. soil—Tyson’s views on the future of space travel and America’s role in that future are especially timely and urgent. This book represents the best of Tyson’s commentary, including a candid new introductory essay on NASA and partisan politics, giving us an eye-opening manifesto on the importance of space exploration for America’s economy, security, and morale. Thanks to Tyson’s fresh voice and trademark humor, his insights are as delightful as they are provocative, on topics that range from the missteps that shaped our recent history of space travel to how aliens, if they existed, might go about finding us. less...
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Amazon Says: The Search for Aliens: A Rough Guide to Life on Other Worlds is a scientific journey that reaches into our profoundest philosophical and religious desire for answers — and p more...
Amazon Says: The Search for Aliens: A Rough Guide to Life on Other Worlds is a scientific journey that reaches into our profoundest philosophical and religious desire for answers — and perhaps, also into our deepest dreads. Exobiology, a subject that once seemed nothing more than the realm of science fiction fantasies, is now a thriving professional branch of science, driven by new and startling discoveries on Earth as well as by a mass of new data from space probes. Highly acclaimed popular science writer Piers Bizony provides the first vivid and completely accessible guide to the most exciting field of modern science: the search for aliens. It begins with a brief history of the search for extraterrestrials and what "life" consists of scientifically. All the latest research projects are identified, located, and described, from radio dishes seeking out intelligent alien signals to deep oceanic research seeking links between terrestrial organisms and the broader cosmos. This Rough Guide also explores the idea of Panspermia, the notion that asteroids and comets brought biological building blocks to the early earth Is there any living thing out there? We still don't know, but this book explains why we may be closer than ever to finding out. less...
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Amazon Says: Astronomers today believe that the Universe may have begun 13.7 billion years ago, when its entire energy, mass, space, and even time, expanded out from a single point. New, e more...
Amazon Says: Astronomers today believe that the Universe may have begun 13.7 billion years ago, when its entire energy, mass, space, and even time, expanded out from a single point. New, empty space was lit by innumerable baby stars and infant galaxies, their light finally reaching Earth many billions of years later. Every scientific discovery about space and the stars their beginnings as well as our own derives from this ancient light. Here we track the history of the Universe and our quest to find our place within it. The story begins among the rough-hewn rocks of ancient megaliths such as Stonehenge, when they are positioned to catch the rising Sun. It continues when the Greek genius Aristarchus pictures the geometry of Earth, Moon, and Sun, revealing the huge empty spaces between them; when Edwin Hubble shows that the Universe is getting ever larger; and when Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky finds that most of the Universe is missing. These moments were turning points, times when years of accumulated thought converged upon one astronomer s obsession, to turn a confounding puzzle into a discovery that changed the way we see the world. We call these Ponderables. Here you ll find the life and works of great astronomers as they watch the night sky, build observatories, discover galaxies, spot new objects and send probes into space. Together the insights of these great thinkers create an increasingly precise picture of an ever-expanding universe, one still full of mystery. Today, the largest telescopes ever designed are probing farther into the Universe, deeper into the past, looking for clues to constantly evolving questions. What are today s Imponderables, mysteries yet to be solved? Where will they lead? What will be the next discovery? Includes a removable fold-out concertina neatly housed in the back of the book. This fold-out provides a 12-page Timeline History of the Universe that embeds the story in historical context and shows Who Did What When at a glance. On the reverse side is a 12 page Star Chart of the Night Sky of the northern and southern hemisphere for every month. less...
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Amazon Says: Travel to and from Mars has long been a staple of science fiction. And yet the hurdles--both technological and financial--have kept human exploration of the red planet from be more...
Amazon Says: Travel to and from Mars has long been a staple of science fiction. And yet the hurdles--both technological and financial--have kept human exploration of the red planet from becoming a reality. Trailblazing Mars offers an inside look at the current efforts to fulfill this dream. Award-winning journalist Pat Duggins examines the extreme new challenges that will be faced by astronauts on the journey there and back. They'll have to grow their own food, find their own water, and solve their own problems and emergencies without hope of rescue or re-supply. Mars travel will be more challenging and hazardous than settling the Old West--but we were not witness to the fate of the Donner Party on CNN. Can the technological hurdles be cleared? Will the public accept the very real possibility of astronaut death? Should a mission be publicly or privately funded? Is the science worth the cost? These and many other questions are answered in Duggins's exciting new book. less...
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Amazon Says: Fifty years ago, a young astronomer named Frank Drake pointed a radio telescope at nearby stars in the hope of picking up a signal from an alien civilization. Thus began one o more...
Amazon Says: Fifty years ago, a young astronomer named Frank Drake pointed a radio telescope at nearby stars in the hope of picking up a signal from an alien civilization. Thus began one of the boldest scientific projects in history, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). But after a half century of scanning the skies, astronomers have little to report but an eerie silence—eerie because many scientists are convinced that the universe is teeming with life. The problem, argues leading physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies, is that we've been looking in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in the wrong way. Davies should know. For more than three decades, he has been closely involved with SETI and now chairs the SETI Post-Detection Taskgroup, charged with deciding what to do if we're confronted with evidence of alien intelligence. In this extraordinary book, he shows how SETI has lost its edge, then offers a new and exciting road map for the future. Davies believes that our search so far has been overly anthropocentric: we tend to assume an alien species will look, think, and behave like us. He argues that we need to be far more expansive in our efforts, and in this book he completely redefines the search, challenging existing ideas of what form an alien intelligence might take, how it might try to communicate with us, and how we should respond if we ever do make contact. A provocative and mind-expanding journey, The Eerie Silence will thrill fans of science and science fiction alike. less...
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Amazon Says: For a long time I have been giving scientific lectures in different countries and on diverse topics, generally related to astronomy and to my work at the Arecibo Observatory. more...
Amazon Says: For a long time I have been giving scientific lectures in different countries and on diverse topics, generally related to astronomy and to my work at the Arecibo Observatory. No matter which parti- lar topic I am talking about, the same question always comes up: Have we had any contact at Arecibo with “them”? My negative answer does not satisfy anyone. In fact, the answer either confirms their suspicions that there is a conspiracy afoot by higher autho- ties not to release information or their intentions to deceive the general public. The reasons for the deception have to do with the idea that, as in the movie Contact, the received messages contain important and useful information that will bring great advantage to whoever gets it. Many of us want to believe that extraterrestrial creatures can talk to us, that perhaps they are even living among us, as UFO fans believe. It would be fascinating if it were true, a more than extra- dinary discovery, the answer to an eternal question. There is p- sibly a deep psychological motive in this desire to know if we are alone in this huge universe, and the need to believe in something beyond our limited world, in space and time. There is no doubt, then, that this topic brings with it many scientific and philosophical discussions, as well as speculations that, on many occasions, fall into pure pseudoscience because of the lack of a reference framework. less...
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Amazon Says: In the history of space exploration, there have been many leaps for humankind. From the foremost experts at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, here is a complete more...
Amazon Says: In the history of space exploration, there have been many leaps for humankind. From the foremost experts at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, here is a complete visual narrative of our journey from Earth to the stars. . . .Although the momentous October 4, 1957, launch of Sputnik 1 was not the beginning of humanity's adventure toward space—our curiosity about the skies has been one of the few constants in history—it was the first true venture into orbit. And when future generations think of the twentieth century, they will undoubtedly judge our movement into space, with both machines and people, as a crowning achievement. As we progress in the new millennium, space exploration is vital to managing our global future, as well as to understanding our past and the creation of Earth.The Atlas of Space Exploration depicts the ever-fascinating history of the space age and humanity's progress in exploring new frontiers. Incredible images from NASA and other sources, visual conceptions of Moon bases, and newly commissioned maps reveal a visual history spanning the earliest eras of the universe, the dawn of the space age, the launch of Sputnik, missions to the Moon, robot landings on the terrestrial planets, and the exploration of the outer solar system. These developments in technology are illuminated by a rich historical context, highlighting how space exploration has changed and expanded our vision of the universe. less...
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Amazon Says: In Space Enterprise - Living and Working Offworld, Dr Philip Harris provides the vision and rationale as to why humanity is leaving its cradle, Earth, to use space resources, more...
Amazon Says: In Space Enterprise - Living and Working Offworld, Dr Philip Harris provides the vision and rationale as to why humanity is leaving its cradle, Earth, to use space resources, as well as pursuing lunar industrialization and establishing offworld settlements. As a management/space psychologist, Dr. Harris presents a behavioral science perspective on space exploration and enterprise. In this his 45th book, Phil has completely revised and updated the two previous editions of this classic, placing new emphasis on the need for more synergy and participation by the private sector. He not only provides a critical review of what is happening in the global space community, but offers specific strategies for lunar economic development. The author analyzes the human factors in contemporary and future space developments, especially relative to the deployment of people aloft. This user-friendly volume offers numerous photographs, diagrams, exhibits, and case studies. less...
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Amazon Says: The Hubble Space Telescope has produced the most stunning images of the cosmos humanity has ever seen. It has transformed our understanding of the universe around us, revealin more...
Amazon Says: The Hubble Space Telescope has produced the most stunning images of the cosmos humanity has ever seen. It has transformed our understanding of the universe around us, revealing new information about its age and evolution, the life cycle of stars, and the very existence of black holes, among other startling discoveries. The Universe in a Mirror tells the story of this telescope and the visionaries responsible for its extraordinary accomplishments. Robert Zimmerman takes readers behind the scenes of one of the most ambitious scientific instruments ever sent into space. After World War II, astronomer Lyman Spitzer and a handful of scientists waged a fifty-year struggle to build the first space telescope capable of seeing beyond Earth's atmospheric veil. Zimmerman shows how many of the telescope's advocates sacrificed careers and family to get it launched, and how others devoted their lives to Hubble only to have their hopes and reputations shattered when its mirror was found to be flawed. This is the story of an idea that would not die--and of the dauntless human spirit. Illustrated with striking color images, The Universe in a Mirror describes the heated battles between scientists and bureaucrats, the perseverance of astronauts to repair and maintain the telescope, and much more. Hubble, and the men and women behind it, opened a rare window onto the universe, dazzling humanity with sights never before seen. This book tells their remarkable story. less...
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