Join Brandon Hollingsworth for a discussion of All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life by Jon Willis on Wednesday, October 18 at noon in the East Tennessee History Center, 601 South Gay Street.
Describing the most recent discoveries by space exploration missions—including the Kepler space telescope, the Mars Curiosity rover, and the New Horizons probe—Willis asks readers to imagine and choose among five scenarios for finding life. He encourages us to wonder whether life might exist within Mars’s subsoil ice. He reveals the vital possibilities on the water-ice moons Europa and Enceladus. He views Saturn’s moon Titan through the lens of our own planet’s ancient past. He also looks beyond our solar system, investigating the top candidates for a "second Earth" in a myriad of exoplanets and imagining the case of a radio signal arriving from deep space.
"As pervasive as the idea of extraterrestrial life (especially of the intelligent variety) is in our popular culture, it's important to remember that just half a century ago, the very idea was laughable," Hollingsworth said. "Once considered a fringe field, what we now call astrobiology is a credible scientific avenue for testing what we know—or think we know—about biology, cosmology and philosophy. In All These World Are Yours, Jon Willis traces the development of astrobiology and asks the reader to consider the possibilities and probabilities of life beyond our own world."
Hollingsworth is the interim news director at Knoxville's National Public Radio station WUOT-FM. He has hosted the network's afternoon newsmagazine All Things Considered since 2010. An Alabama native, Hollingsworth and his husband reside in Knoxville.