Peter Ward's "Life" Books

"Life as We Do Not Know It", Beaverton Library 576.839 WAR 2009, Viking

The NASA Search for (and Synthesis of) Alien Life

"A New History of Life" with Joe Kirschvink, Beaverton Library 576.82 WAR, 2015, Bloomsbury

The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth

Peter Ward (co-author of "Rare Earth" with Don Brownlee) is an optimist about extraterrestrial life, and a pessimist about life elsewhere resembling current Earth life.

Ward is hyperoptimistic about sending scientists to look for life on Mars and Titan. But resources are limited, and resources allocated for manned missions cannot also be spent for robotic missions - we must choose. Between 1972 (Apollo 17) and 2016, robots have gotten exponentially better; even resource-challenged India can afford to send one to Mars. As I write this, the world has only two human capable space vehicles - the International Space Station, and the Soyuz spacecraft. New vehicles are promised Real Soon Now, but they will at best be shuttlecraft, not multiyear habitats capable of independent operation for the 13 year round trio journey to Titan and back (presuming Cassini-Huygens travel times). Humans will go there sometime - to robot-prepared habitats on an already-explored Titan. That said ...

Life as We Do Not Know It

Timeline MA




65 tp present


large mammals

250 to 65




543 to 250


1st skeletons


2500 to 543


1st eukaryotic cells

3800 to 2500


1st life

4600 to 3800



My take: Reliable complex parts requires DNA, DNA requires complex parts.

A New History of Life

Harder to read - a catalog, not a story, many errors, reference number errors, poorly organized and edited. Sophorific; skimmed after page 80. Still, isolated gems of brilliance. Oh, how I wish they had a diligent editor!

Out of Thin Air

Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere

Peter Ward, Central, 567.9 W262o 2006


The Flooded Earth

Our Future in a World without Ice Caps

Peter Ward, Central, 363.3492 W262f 2010

Skimmed to get information about hydrogen sulfide extinctions in the past.

I don't think we should break the oceans either. The best solutions are efficiency improvements brought by advanced technology, and integral fast reactor nuclear power. Both are more likely to occur outside of the television-stupified United States.

WardLife (last edited 2017-12-15 22:42:22 by KeithLofstrom)