Astrobiologist updates book about life on other planets

PULLMAN.-The search for life on other worlds goes on, and Dirk Schulze-Makuch has a lot to say about how we should go about it.
 
The WSU astrobiologist has just come out with a second edition of the 2004 book he wrote with Louis Irwin of the University of Texas at El Paso. “Life in the Universe: Expectations and Constraints” was so well received that the publisher, Springer, asked him and Irwin to write a second edition just four years later.
 
“For someone who is really seriously interested, it became ‘the’ book on what types of life may be out there,” said Schulze-Makuch.
 
Both editions examine assumptions about what conditions are necessary for life, and what our missions to other worlds should look for as evidence that living things may exist there now or may have existed there sometime in the past.
 
Schulze-Makuch said the new edition incorporates recent findings from the Mars rovers and missions to photograph the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, and information about organisms that live in extreme environments on earth.
 
“The first edition dealt with some topics in great detail, but it was not as comprehensive” as the new one, he said.
 
Schulze-Makuch speaks and writes extensively about the quest for life elsewhere. He has collaborated with science writer David Darling on a less technical book, which will be released soon; and this spring he will appear in a Discovery Channel show about extremophiles, earth organisms that live in environments that may resemble conditions on other planets.
 
For more information about Schulze-Makuch, visit http://www.sees.wsu.edu/Faculty/SMakuch/index.html

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