A pair of scientists recently published The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia.

In mid-February 2016, astronomer and science writer David Darling and astrobiology professor Dirk Schulze-Makuch released this 464 page encyclopedia that is described as “an A-to-Z of the search for life in the Universe.” The book’s official description details, “Entries cover astrobiology, the origins and evolution of life, the hunt for exoplanets, SETI, and extraterrestrial life in science fiction, philosophy, and popular speculation (including UFOs). The book is written in an engaging style for the layperson and contains numerous B&W illustrations.”

In a February 16 article on the Air & Space website, Schulze-Makuch comments on the inclusion of UFOs in this book.

The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia

Cover of The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia. (Credit: First Edition Design Publishing)

Our Encyclopedia does include entries on UFOs, but views them from a critical scientific perspective. Government agencies and SETI scientists launched efforts to investigate reported sightings such as the Roswell incident, and we present the findings when available. The scientific method, which involves experimental testing and repetition, is notoriously difficult to apply to these cases. But it did help “solve” many claimed encounters with rather mundane explanations, such as natural phenomena in the upper atmosphere. The remaining unresolved cases are of great interest to science. Unfortunately, due to their controversial nature, not many scientists are willing to investigate them. It is not unscientific, of course, to hypothesize that alien intelligences have visited or are visiting us, but it would be incredibly difficult to prove. Remember Carl Sagan’s statement: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!”

Schulze-Makuch was a member of the scientific team that concluded in 2014 that the Milky Way is home to one hundred million planets that can sustain complex alien life.

This isn’t the first time this science duo has written about extraterrestrials. Darling and Schulze-Makuch teamed up back in 2011 to write We Are Not Alone: Why We Have Already Found Extraterrestrial Life.

The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia is available on Amazon.