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The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  58 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
We are nearing a turning point in our quest for life in the universe—we now have the capacity to detect Earth-like planets around other stars. But will we find any?

In The Crowded Universe, renowned astronomer Alan Boss argues that based on what we already know about planetary systems, in the coming years we will find abundant Earths, including many that are indisputably al

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 3rd 2009 by Basic Books (first published 2009)
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Todd Martin
May 29, 2009 Todd Martin rated it it was ok
The Crowded Universe outlines the search for planets outside of our solar system, the means used to detect them, and some of the upcoming missions NASA will be launching to further the search.

That's the good news.

The book also contains details of the vagaries of NASA budgeting and funding and internal politics and changes in leadership. Details which are probably of little interest to anyone outside of the agency.

I can't figure out why this book was written. The science of planet hunting and th
ej cullen
Nov 19, 2009 ej cullen rated it it was ok
Interesting is the current search for earth-like planets using new and simple, but ingenious methodology. They can't see the planets, but can infer their presence and size by the gravitational wobble of the host star. They have found some already; more to come. The writer, however seems something of a bore (and boor).
Mar 01, 2015 Bjorn rated it it was ok
Shelves: usa
The Crowded Universe follows the (American) search for planets outside the solar system from 1995 to the launch of Kepler in 2009 in great detail, offering a lot of interesting facts on a topic that's endlessly fascinating, and getting into the personal and political conflicts connected with it...

So why just the two stars in a book that literally contains millions of them? Well, I'm not going to claim to be fair, and Boss obviously knows more about the subject than I ever would even if I spent
Jun 18, 2009 Colin rated it liked it
A good but dry account of the modern search for extrasolar planets. While I did enjoy the book, I was suprized by how dry it was. It is basically a dad-by-day account of every event, large and small that was somehow related to the search. I did find it interesting but I'm suprized the author was unable to spruce it up more. There are some more fluid sections - passages that describe things in more detail and with more flair - but aside from these and the occassional joke (Boss has a great sense ...more
Corinna Bechko
Sep 20, 2011 Corinna Bechko rated it liked it
An interesting read although the title and cover are a bit misleading. It contains a lot of information about the way that science missions are funded through America's NASA and various other governmental organizations, how planets can be found, and how science works in general. It doesn't say much about how biomarkers could be found in the future, or speculate much on how much life there might be in our galaxy.

Still, it did give a nice overview of how far we've come in our understanding of spa
Sep 12, 2010 MikeFromQueens rated it it was ok
This book had potential, but I lost the ability to follow when it turned towards the budget. And that's too bad because discussing how NASA programs are being cut and that the future of innovation hangs in the balance is an important topic. Unfortunately, the book was not able to impress me, perhaps because of its bifurcated subject.
John Paterson
Sep 23, 2009 John Paterson rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
We live in interesting times. As of this review, 365 extra-solar planets have been discovered or await confirmation. This book begins with the first discovery of a planet around another star in 1995 and gives a chronology of the scientific rush to discover another Earth. Hopefully, that will be soon with the launch of Kepler in March of this year.
Apr 29, 2009 Regina rated it it was amazing
we are not alone...
Becca C
Jun 28, 2012 Becca C rated it it was ok
more than i ever needed to know about how NASA underfunds and cuts various telescope projects.
Apr 12, 2009 Joanna rated it liked it
An excellent overview of the recent history of exoplanet searches. The author makes several snide remarks about the Bush administration, which are out of place but amusing nonetheless.
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