This Week’s Book Recommendation | Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan

Amazon’s Review: In Cosmos, the late astronomer Carl Sagan cast his gaze over the magnificent mystery of the Universe and made it accessible to millions of people around the world. Now in this stunning sequel, Carl Sagan completes his revolutionary journey through space and time.

Future generations will look back on our epoch as the time when the human race finally broke into a radically new frontier—space. In Pale Blue Dot Sagan traces the spellbinding history of our launch into the cosmos and assesses the future that looms before us as we move out into our own solar system and on to distant galaxies beyond. The exploration and eventual settlement of other worlds is neither a fantasy nor luxury, insists Sagan, but rather a necessary condition for the survival of the human race.

My Review: “I don’t think there will ever come a time that I will not recommend one of Carl Sagan’s books. As you all know, Carl has an incredibly unique ability to capture our endearing and innate curiosity about the universe, allowing us to experience the world with a humble mindset and a thirst for knowledge. The famous Pale Blue Dot photo was first described in this book by Carl who envisioned our future in space and reminded us of where we are, and where we came from. This book was the very reason that I decided to minor in Astronomy and have taken up the subject as a huge part of my scientific career. I can never ever thank Carl enough for that. ”

Only $10.59 on Amazon!

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Water ‘microhabitats’ in oil show potential for extraterrestrial life, oil cleanup: Extremophilic ecosystems writ small | Science Daily

An international team of researchers has found extremely small habitats that increase the potential for life on other planets while offering a way to clean up oil spills on our own. Looking at samples from the world’s largest natural asphalt lake, they found active microbes in droplets as small as a microliter, which is about 1/50th of a drop of water.

"We saw a huge diversity of bacteria and archaea," said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a professor in Washington State University’s School of the Environment and the only U.S. researcher on the team. "That’s why we speak of an ‘ecosystem,’ because we have so much diversity in the water droplets."

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Companion Planets May Extend Habitability Lifespan | The Daily Galaxy

For certain ancient planets orbiting smaller, older stars, the gravitational influence of an outer companion planet might generate enough energy through tidal heating to keep the closer-in world habitable even when its own internal fires burn out. But what would such a planet look like on its surface? Here, UW astronomer Rory Barnes provides a speculative illustration of a planet in the habitable zone of a star about the size of the sun. “The star would appear about 10 times larger in the sky than our sun, and the crescent is not a moon but a nearby Saturn-sized planet that maintains the tidal heating,” notes University of Washington astronomer Rory Barnes. “The sky is mostly dark because cool stars don’t emit much blue light, so the atmosphere doesn’t scatter it.”

Having a companion in old age is good for people — and, it turns out, might extend the chance for life on certain Earth-sized planets in the cosmos as well.
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