Are we alone in the universe? How did life really start here on Earth? Are humans unique, or are we part of a cosmic society? What is the future of life on our planet, and beyond? These are the questions that have inspired and intrigued us since humankind looked at the stars. ""Science, Society, and the Search for Life in the Universe"" is a fascinating and intelligent introduction to a new, but fast growing scientific discipline - astrobiology. This new field involves trying to understand the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe, as well as attempting to address some of the 'big questions' about our existence, the possibility of making contact with alien lifeforms, and the potential impact on our understanding of religion, history, and ourselves. This extremely accessible volume will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about how the human race is trying to understand the mysteries of the universe.