Advertisement

Life in the Universe

  • Martin Harwit
Part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Library book series (AAL)

Abstract

Since historic times, we have wondered where we came from and where life originated. As it became apparent that the Earth was just one planet orbiting the Sun, that the Sun was just one star among some ~ 1011 in our galaxy, and that the Galaxy itself was only one such object among ~ 1011 similar systems populating the Universe out to a cosmic horizon, with perhaps countless more lying beyond, it became clear that life on other planets, near some other star, in some other galaxy was possible. The cosmological principle (Section 11:3) also makes this idea philosophically attractive. It would suggest that life is some general state of matter that prevails throughout the Universe. The probability of finding some form of life, however primitive, on other planets either within the Solar System or around nearby stars seems very high from this point of view. Nevertheless, we are unable to predict where life should exist, mainly because we do not yet understand the thermodynamics of living organisms and what different forms life may take.

Keywords

Interstellar Dust Living Matter Nearby Star Cosmological Principle Asteroidal Impact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Harwit
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Astronomy, Space Sciences BuildingCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations