Astrobiology: A Brief Introduction / Edition 2

Astrobiology: A Brief Introduction / Edition 2

by Kevin W. Plaxco, Michael Gross
     
 

Informed by new planetary discoveries and the findings from recent robotic missions to Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, scientists are rapidly replacing centuries of speculation about potential extraterrestrial habitats with real knowledge about the possibility of life outside our own biosphere—if it exists, and where. This second edition of Kevin W. Plaxco and

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Overview

Informed by new planetary discoveries and the findings from recent robotic missions to Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, scientists are rapidly replacing centuries of speculation about potential extraterrestrial habitats with real knowledge about the possibility of life outside our own biosphere—if it exists, and where. This second edition of Kevin W. Plaxco and Michael Gross’s widely acclaimed text incorporates the latest research in astrobiology to bring readers the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and engaging introduction to the field available.

Plaxco and Gross expand their examination of the origin of chemical elements, the developments that made the Universe habitable, and how life continues to be sustained. They discuss in great detail the formation of the first galaxies and stars, the diverse chemistry of the primordial planet, the origins of metabolism, the evolution of complex organisms, and the feedback regulation of Earth's climate. They also explore life in extreme habitats, potential extraterrestrial habitats, and the current status of the search for extraterrestrial life.

Weaving together the relevant threads of astronomy, geology, chemistry, biophysics, and microbiology, this broadly accessible introductory text captures the excitement, controversy, and progress of the dynamic young field of astrobiology. New to this edition is a glossary of terms and an epilogue recapping the key unanswered questions, making Astrobiology an ideal primer for students and, indeed, for anyone curious about life and the Universe.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781421400969
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
08/25/2011
Edition description:
second edition
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
714,671
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Kevin W. Plaxco is a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Michael Gross is a science writer based in Oxford.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Table of Contents

1What is life?1
2Origins of a habitable universe14
3Origins of a habitable planet38
4Primordial soup61
5The spark of life92
6From molecules to cells117
7A concise history of life on Earth142
8Life on the edge171
9Habitable worlds in the solar system and beyond192
10The search for extraterrestrial life218

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