Planets and Life The Emerging Science of Astrobiology

ISBN-10: 0521531020
ISBN-13: 9780521531023
Edition: 2007
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Description: Astrobiology combines the sciences of biology, chemistry, palaeontology, geology, planetary physics and astronomy, in the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. This textbook brings together world experts in each of  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 9/13/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 628
Size: 7.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 3.036

Astrobiology combines the sciences of biology, chemistry, palaeontology, geology, planetary physics and astronomy, in the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe. This textbook brings together world experts in each of these disciplines to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date coverage of the field currently available. Topics cover the origin and evolution of life on Earth, the geological, physical and chemical conditions in which life might arise and the detection of extraterrestrial life on other planets and moons. Written to be accessible to students from diverse backgrounds, this text will be welcomed by advanced undergraduates and graduates who are taking astrobiology courses.

Woodruff T. Sullivan III is Professor of Astronomy and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Washington, Seattle. Trained as a radio astronomer, his research has included radio studies of the interstellar medium in our own and other galaxies, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and astrobiology.

John Baross is a professor in the School of Oceanography, UW. His research focuses on thermophilic micro-organisms from volcanic environments, the origin and evolution of life, life on other planets and moons, and microbial ecology. He is a founding member of UW's Astrobiology Program.

Foreword
Preface
Contributors
Prologue
History
History of astrobiological ideas
From exobiology to astrobiology
The Physical Stage
Formation of Earth-like habitable planets
Planetary atmospheres and life
The Origin of Life on Earth
Does 'life' have a definition?
Origin of life: crucial issues
Origin of proteins and nucleic acids
The roots of metabolism
Origin of cellular life
Life on Earth
Evolution: a defining feature of life
Evolution of metabolism and early microbial communities
The earliest records of life on Earth
The origin and diversification of eukaryotes
Limits of carbon life on Earth and elsewhere
Life in ice
The evolution and diversification of life
Mass extinctions
Potentially Habitable Worlds
Extrasolar planets
Searching for Extraterrestrial Life
How to search for life on other worlds
Instruments and strategies for detecting extraterrestrial life
Societial and ethical concerns
Planetary protection
Searching for extraterrestrial intelligence
Alien biochemistries
Future of the Field
Disciplinary and educational opportunities
Appendixes
Units and usages Epilogue
Planetary properties
The geological time scale
Astrobiological destinations on planet Earth
Microscope web tool
Index

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