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Review: The Stardust Revolution

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2012 12:30:15 -0500
Archived: Sat, 10 Nov 2012 12:30:15 -0500
Subject: Review: The Stardust Revolution




Source: TheSpaceReview.Com

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2181/1

Monday, November 5, 2012


Review: The Stardust Revolution
by Jeff Foust

The Stardust Revolution: The New Story of Our Origin In The Stars
by Jacob Berkowitz
Prometheus Books, 2012
hardcover, 376 pp., illus.
ISBN 978-1-61614-549-1
US$27

A couple of decades ago, astrobiology existed on the fringes of
scientific discourse: there were some researchers interested in
it, but it was clearly not part of the mainstream. It was also a
low priority for NASA, which focused its missions on other
scientific topics; when it did support the field through a SETI
search, the High-Resolution Microwave Survey, Congress soon
stepped in to cut funding for the program, deeming it below the
agency=92s dignity to be involved in the =93Great Martian Chase,=94 in
the words of then Sen. Richard Bryan of Nevada.

Side Bar: Berkowitz argues that we=92re undergoing a scientific
revolution as profound as the Copernican Revolution four
centuries ago that shifted the Earth out of the center of the
universe and the Darwinian Revolution of the nineteenth century.

Today, by contrast, astrobiology is well in the mainstream, with
all the trappings of a modern-day scientific field: its own
conferences, journals, and academic programs. It=92s also been
fully embraced by NASA who, while not funding SETI research, has
supported a wide range of other astrobiological studies, and
whose series of Mars missions, including the latest rover,
Curiosity, have been built on studying whether Mars might once
have been=97or could still be today=97hospitable to life. The recent
report by the Mars Program Planning Group, chartered by NASA
earlier this year to revamp the agency=92s long-term Mars
exploration program, supported mission architectures that
advance the theme of =93Search for Signs of Past Life,=94 primarily
through the return to Earth of Martian samples from sites of
=93astrobiological significance.=94

That change in perceptions towards astrobiology is due in part
to the advances chronicled by Jacob Berkowitz in his book The
Stardust Revolution. In it, he argues that we=92re undergoing a
scientific revolution as profound as the Copernican Revolution
four centuries ago that shifted the Earth out of the center of
the universe and the Darwinian Revolution of the nineteenth
century that introduced revolution. This new revolution, he
argues, is the merging of the first two, combining astronomy and
biology: an argument expertly covered in the book, even if
Berkowitz is guilty of a degree of overreach.


[More at site... thanks to Diana Cammack for the lead]



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