When a new NASA satellite detects evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory?a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election.
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On political contribution: Sexton obeyed, tolerating the man's gruffness graciously. After all, this man represented men who controlled enormous sums of money, much of which had been pooled recently to poise Sedgewick Sexton on the threshold of the most powerful office in the world. These meetings, Sexton had come to understand, were less strategy sessions than they were monthly reminders of just how beholden the senator had become to his benefactors. These men were expecting a serious return on their investment. The "return," Sexton had to admit, was a shockingly bold demand; and yet, almost more incredibly, it was something that would be within Sexton's sphere of influence once he took the Oval Office.
Example of science in book: "We've got flagellates," Tolland said, staring into the luminescent water. "Flatulence?" Corky scowled. "Speak for yourself." Rachel sensed Michael Tolland was in no joking mood. "I don't know how it could have happened," Tolland said, "but somehow this water contains bioluminescent dinoflagellates." "Bioluminescent what?" Rachel said. Speak English. "Monocelled plankton capable of oxidizing a luminescent catalyst called luceferin." That was English? Tolland exhaled and turned to his friend. "Corky, there any chance the meteorite we pulled out of that hole had living organisms on it?"
"Panspermia," Rachel said, now understanding what they were talking about. She had heard the panspermia theory before but didn't know its name. "The theory that a meteorite splashed into the primordial soup, bringing the first seeds of microbial life to earth."
"Triple bingo." Corky flashed her an enthusiastic nod. "Technically, we may all be extraterrestrials." He put his fingers over his head like two antennas, crossed his eyes, and wagged his tongue like some kind of insect. Tolland looked at Rachel with a pathetic grin. "And this guy's the pinnacle of our evolution."
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