Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional-and What That Means for Life in the Universe

Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional-and What That Means for Life in the Universe

by David Waltham

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Why Earth’s life-friendly climate makes it exceptional—and what that means for the likelihood of finding intelligent extraterrestrial life

We have long fantasized about finding life on planets other than our own. Yet even as we become aware of the vast expanses beyond our solar system, it remains clear that Earth is exceptional. The question is: why? In Lucky Planet, astrobiologist David Waltham argues that Earth’s climate stability is what makes it uniquely able to support life, and it is nothing short of luck that made such conditions possible. The four billion year-stretch of good weather that our planet has experienced is statistically so unlikely that chances are slim that we will ever encounter intelligent extraterrestrial others. Citing the factors that typically control a planet’s average temperature—including the size of its moon, as well as the rate of the Universe’s expansion—Waltham challenges the prevailing scientific consensus that Earth-like planets have natural stabilizing mechanisms that allow life to flourish.

A lively exploration of the stars above and the ground beneath our feet, Lucky Planet seamlessly weaves the story of Earth and the worlds orbiting other stars to give us a new perspective of the surprising role chance plays in our place in the universe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465080823
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 04/08/2014
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 850,013
File size: 508 KB
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

David Waltham is an astrobiologist, geophysicist and head of the department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway College, the University of London. He lives in Staines, England.

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Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional-and What That Means for Life in the Universe 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There were many topics brought up which more or less confirms my own inclination that inteligent life requires an extensive confluence of low probability events. I learned some details of Earth's climate history that i was not aware of. This might serve as a launching point for further investigation. My downgrade is due to what i percieved as rambling writing. I guess i should excuse an experiment with such a small "n", since there is only one confirmed planet with life. There are not enough data points to estimate exactly how rare life is.