Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional - and What That Means for Life in the Universe

Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional - and What That Means for Life in the Universe
By David Waltham
Basic Books, 2014. 198 pgs. Nonfiction

David Waltham, an astrobiologist and geophysicist, makes the case that our planet has experienced a unique and unlikely four billion years of good weather. This stability accounts for the evolution of highly intelligent life on earth. Certainly the earth has experienced a number of dramatic events and transformations but surface temperatures have continually stayed in a range friendly to life. Many factors have made this possible: the size of the moon, the gradually increasing temperature of the sun, the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and more. Considered together the numerous factors he describes suggest that our climate history is rare in the universe and thus intelligent life is also extremely rare. This is a very interesting book for anyone interested in the geology, biology and the climate history of our planet or the search for life on other planets. SH

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