Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

[REVIEW] Clancy, Brack, and Horneck, Looking for Life: Searching the Solar System

The problem with Paul Clancy, André Brack, and Gerda Horneck's Look for Life: Searching the Solar System (New York: Cambridge UP, 2005) is that it is two books in one, merging a useful survey of the potential scope of exobiology that identifies likely origins, habitats, and defining characteristics for life in the Solar System with a tract arguing in favour of extensive manned exploration of space in the 21st century. This fusion is justified, barely, by the authors' convincing case that adequate in-depth field research will necessarily have to be manned. The authors' distinctly European perspective on humans in space brings interesting facts and perspectives that the casual reader doesn't hear from American commentators to the forefront. I only learned of the ESA's use of the Franco-Italian Concordia base in Antarctica via Looking for Life</a>, and the argument that multinational bodies may be better placed to undertake high-risk ventures based on the precedents of the European Commission and NASA is original. Even so, I can't help but feel that the authors should have aimed for a two-book contract. If nothing else, it would have been neater.
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