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

Next Story

Recent News

Sweat health monitor measures levels of disease markers

A 3D-printed, wearable health monitor developed by WSU researchers was shown to reliably measure levels of important biochemicals in sweat during physical exercise.

Remembering our history this Juneteenth

WSU System President Kirk Schulz shares a message reminding everyone of the significance and importance of Juneteenth, and the enduring fight for equality that continues today.

Regents approve biennial operating budget request

At a special online meeting on June 17, the WSU Board of Regents approved four action items, including the university’s 2025–27 Biennial Operating Budget Request from the state.

Hot but not bothered

WSU’s new Perennial Grass Breeding and Ecology Farm is developing resilient combinations of grasses that could better withstand hot temperatures.