The Crowded Universe

Alan Boss ( has been a key scientist with the Kepler space telescope. He believes Earth-like worlds are common in the galaxy, and hence life itself to be ubiquitous. In Crowded Universe he offers a first-hand account of the race to discover the first truly Earth-like exoplanet. The story picks up pace as more and more exoplanet discoveries are announced, with the observational astronomers forced to constantly refine their technique to stay ahead and planetary system modellers struggling to explain the new data. The high stakes of multi-million-dollar space missions and the constant political struggle to keep them funded are also well described by Boss. Of particular interest is the account of the race between American and European planet-hunting teams. European efforts discovered the first exoplanet around a main-sequence star and were first to launch a space telescope capable of detecting an Earth-mass planet, COROT.


The book offers a fascinating insight into the exoplanetary community and the thrills and disappointments of intensely competitive scientific research. Check if this book on the recent history of science research is in stock at your local library by consulting the online catalogue at



256 pages in Basic Books

First published 2009

ISBN 978-0465009367


Alan Boss

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