Since the first Martian “canals” were charted in 1877, space aliens have captivated skygazers, night travelers, and television-watchers worldwide. Polls show that nearly half of all Americans believe in extraterrestrials, and many are convinced they’ve visited Earth. A fair number of scientists also suspect that aliens exist, and for decades they’ve been seriously searching - using powerful antennas and computers to scan for radio waves coming from other star systems. This engaging memoir reveals the true story of the Search for ExtraterrestrialIntelligence (SETI), and discloses what we may very soon discover.
Chronicling the program’s history with insight and humor, SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak assures us that if there is sentient life in the universe, we are within decades of picking up its signal. Methodically busting urban legends about alien crash landings, crop circles, and the like, Shostak pits scientific truth against speculation and delivers important news on the state of our knowledge. He answers a host of questions about SETI, including where its antennas are aimed…how we know which frequency to monitor…what our response might be…and why, if a signal is detected, “it will be one that’s deliberately beamed into space, not the Klingon equivalent of I Love Lucy.”
Contrary to popular opinion, any aliens found by SETI will not resemble the squishy, big-eyed creatures on cinema screens. Rather, they will have already invented their successors: super smart post-biological thinking machines vastly beyond our own capabilities.
Edgy, amusing, and remarkably profound, Confessions of an Alien Hunter addresses the startling possibilities awaiting us in deep space and in humankind’s own future.
"Readable and engaging, despite the presence of some weighty scientific material." (Booklist)
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I can't get enough of this topic.
I have just recently listened to Paul Davies's book entitled "The Eerie Silence" so I can't help but make comparisons. There is a lot of overlapping information between the two books.
I have to say that I thought this one was slightly better. While this book has a lot of science in it, it didn't get as bogged down as the other book did. Seth Shostak is more up beat and seemed to get down on my level a little more. He seemed more optimistic than Davies. At no point in listening to this book did I get bored or felt like I wasn't grasping the subject matter.
There was also less speculation in this book, and it had more information on what it is SETI actually does and more importantly what they don't do. I felt like I learnt more.
If you are interested in this topic my suggestion would be to listen to this book first. However, you would be doing yourself an injustice by not also listening to the other book as well. Both are great.
- Joshua Kring