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] Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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