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LIFE ON EARTH--AND BEYOND by Pamela S. Turner Kirkus Star


An Astrobiologist’s Quest

by Pamela S. Turner

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-58089-133-2
Publisher: Charlesbridge

Astrobiologists can’t travel to extraterrestrial locations for their research—yet—so they make do with extreme environments on Earth. To learn how life might survive on Mars and beyond, NASA scientist Chris McKay travels to remote areas—Antarctica, western Chile, north Africa and Siberia—searching inside frozen rocks, under baking sand, under the ice of a frozen lake, through cores of permafrost and high in the atmosphere for living organisms here on Earth. Turner expertly weaves background into her text, adding sidebars when necessary for the reader’s understanding, and includes a chapter on McKay’s background and training and relevant maps. With humor and attention-getting details, she makes clear the difficulties of scientific work in the field and the way researchers cooperate. Well-reproduced photographs, many credited to McKay himself, document his work, showing the harsh environments, the living arrangements and scientists on the job. Turner (Gorilla Doctors, 2005) has provided a perspective on space exploration that is both down to earth and out of this world. (resources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)