Space, Time, and Aliens

Collected Works on Cosmos and Culture

In this comprehensive and interdisciplinary volume, former NASA Chief Historian Steven Dick reflects on the exploration of space, astrobiology and its implications, cosmic evolution, astronomical institutions, discovering and classifying the cosmos, and the philosophy of astronomy. Les mer
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Om boka

In this comprehensive and interdisciplinary volume, former NASA Chief Historian Steven Dick reflects on the exploration of space, astrobiology and its implications, cosmic evolution, astronomical institutions, discovering and classifying the cosmos, and the philosophy of astronomy. The unifying theme of the book is the connection between cosmos and culture, or what Carl Sagan many years ago called the "cosmic connection."

As both an astronomer and historian of science, Dr. Dick has been both a witness to and a participant in many of the astronomical events of the last half century. This collection of papers presents his reflections over the last forty years in a way accessible to historians, philosophers, and scientists alike. From the search for alien life to ongoing space exploration efforts, readers will find this volume full of engaging topics relevant to science, society, and our collective future on planet Earth and beyond.

Fakta

Innholdsfortegnelse

Epigraph



Dedication



Preface: Cosmos and Culture



Part I. The Biological Universe



Introduction



1. Plurality of Worlds: A Persistent Theme in Western Civilization



2. The Twentieth Century History of the Extraterrestrial Life Debate: Major Themes



3. From the Physical World to the Biological Universe: Historical Developments Underlying the Search for



Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)



4. The Biophysical Cosmology: The Place of Bioastronomy in the History of Science



5. The Biological Universe Revisited



6. Back to the Future: SETI Before the Space Age



7. The Drake Equation in Context



Part II. Cosmic Evolution and Implications of Alien Life



Introduction



8. Cosmic Evolution: History, Culture, and Human Destiny



9. Consequences of Success in SETI: Lessons from the History of Science



10. Cultural Aspects of Astrobiology: A Preliminary Reconnaissance at the Turn of the Millennium



11. The Role of Anthropology in SETI: An Historical View



12. Bringing Culture to Cosmos: Cultural Evolution, the Postbiological Universe, and SETI



13. Toward a Constructive Naturalistic Cosmotheology



14. Astroethics and Cosmocentrism



15. Should We Message ET and Is an Asilomar Consultation Process Possible



16. Astrobiology and Society: An Overview at the Beginning of the 21st Century



Part III. The Exploration of Space



Introduction



17. Exploring the Unknown: 50 Years of NASA History



18. Exploration, Discovery and Culture: NASA's Role in History



19. Space, Time and Aliens: The Role of Imagination in Outer Space



20. The Impact of the Hubble Space Telescope



21. The Decision to Cancel the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission (SM4) and its Reversal



22. Reflections on French-American Relations in Space, 1957-1975



Part IV. Measuring the Universe: Goals, Institutions, Techniques



Introduction



23. Measuring the Universe: A Brief History of Astrometry



24. Pulkovo Observatory and the National Observatory Movement



25. John Quincy Adams, the Smithsonian Bequest, and the Origins of the U. S. Naval Observatory



26. The First Time Balls, the First North American Time Ball



27. The U. S. Naval Astronomical Expedition of James Melville Gilliss in the Southern Hemisphere, 1849-1852



28. Measuring the Astronomical Unit: The American Transit of Venus Expeditions of 1874 and 1882



29. Geodesy, Time, and the Markowitz Moon Camera: An Interwoven International Geophysical Year



Story



Part V. Discovering, Classifying, and Understanding the Cosmos



Introduction



30. Pluto, Discovery, and Classification in Astronomy



31. Astronomy's Three Kingdoms: A Comprehensive Classification System for Astronomy




32. The Discovery of Polar Motion and its Importance



33. Observation and Interpretation of the Leonid Meteors over the Last Millennium



34. The Discovery and Exploration of the Moons of Mars



35. The Universe and Alfred Russel Wallace



36. Discovering a New Realm of the Universe: Hubble, Galaxies, and Classification



Part VI The Philosophy of Astronomy, Cosmology, and Astrobiology



Introduction



37. The Philosophy of Astronomy, Cosmology, and Astrobiology: A Preliminary Reconnaissance



38. Critical Issues in the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Astrobiology



39. Lessons Learned from the Twentieth-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate



40. Cosmology and Biology, an Entangled Web?



Part VII Envoi: Reflections on Humanity and the Cosmos



41. Interstellar Humanity



42. The Consolations of Astronomy and the Cosmic Perspective



Appendix 1 Testimony Before the United States Congress



Appendix 2 Sources and Permissions



Om forfatteren

Steven J. Dick served as the NASA Chief Historian and Director of the NASA History Office from 2003 to 2009. He was the 2014 Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology at the Library of Congress's John W. Kluge Center. In 2013 he testified before the United States Congress on the subject of astrobiology. From 2011 to 2012 he held the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History at the National Air and Space Museum. For 25 years he worked as an astronomer and historian of science at the U. S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. He is the author or editor of 23 books, including Discovery and Classification in Astronomy: Controversy and Consensus (Cambridge, 2013), The Impact of Discovering Life Beyond Earth (Cambridge, 2015), Astrobiology, Discovery, and Societal Impact (Cambridge, 2018, winner of the PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers), and Classifying the Cosmos: How We Can Make Sense of the Celestial Landscape (Springer, 2019). In 2006, Dick received the LeRoy E. Doggett Prize from the American Astronomical Society for a career that has significantly influenced the field of the history of astronomy. In 2009, minor planet 6544 Stevendick was named in his honor.