New Book “Goldilocks and the Water Bears: The Search for Life in the Universe”

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Louisa Preston bookI need a reviewer of this for Space Policy! If you are interested, please email me through the contact form, or at [email protected]

I was on a panel at the Edinburgh Science Festival on Terraforming Mars with the author of this book, the brilliant Dr Lousia Preston. She is a TED Fellow and was recently awarded the UK Space Agency Aurora Fellowship.

Forthcoming June 2016

“Goldilocks and the Water Bears: The Search for Life in the Universe” 
Bloomsbury, hardcover £16.99

Today we know of only a single planet that hosts life: the Earth. But across a Universe of at least 100 billion possibly habitable worlds, surely our planet isn’t the only one that is just right for life? As Goldilocks was searching for the perfect bowl of porridge, Astrobiologists are searching for conditions throughout the Universe that are just right for life as we currently know it to exist.

With the Earth as our guide the search has begun for similar worlds sitting at the perfect distance from their Sun – within the aptly named Goldilocks Zone – that would enable them to keep water as a liquid on their surface and therefore support a thriving biosphere. The Earth is littered with carbon and pulses with energy, which combined with its flowing water allows life to exist beneath our thick protective atmosphere. In just over four billion years, life on Earth has evolved from a single-celled organism to an upright humanoid with the capacity to understand its place in the Universe and undertake missions to other worlds searching for a biological neighbour.

What might life look like on these other worlds? It is possible to make best-guesses using facts rooted in biology, physics and chemistry, and by studying ‘extremophiles’ on Earth, organisms such as the near-indestructible water bears that can survive in the harshest conditions that Earth, and even space, can offer. In this book, we’ll take a tour of the astrobiological Universe, exploring what life is made of, what it needs to originate and thrive, how resilient and adaptable it can be and what is next for humanity as it steps off the Earth and into the realms of the unknown. Goldilocks and the Water Bears is a tale of the origins and evolution of life, and the quest to find it on other planets, on moons, in other galaxies, and throughout the Universe.

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Dr Jill Stuart is an academic based at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an expert in the politics, ethics and law of outer space exploration and exploitation. She is a frequent presence in the global media (print, radio, television, documentary) and regularly gives lectures around the world. From 2013-2017 she was Editor in Chief of the Elsevier journal Space Policy where she remains on the Editorial Board. She is also on the Board of Advisors of METI International, conducting scientific research into messaging potential extraterrestrial intelligence. She is one of an elite number of people to be endorsed by the UK Home Office as an Exceptional Talent Migrant/ World Leader in her Field. In 2015 she was awarded the prestigious Margaret Mead Award Lecture by the British Science Association in recognition of her cutting edge research. She is trained in both domestic and international mediation and has done consultancy work for the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. She has a sub-specialism in women, peace and security and gender based violence. She is a Trustee of Luton All Women’s Centre.