Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe / Edition 1

Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe / Edition 1

4.1 9
by Peter D. Ward, Donald Brownlee
     
 

The sweeping diversity of complex life on Earth, Ward and Brownlee argue, evolved out of an extraordinary set of physical conditions and chance events that would be extremely hard to duplicate––though not impossible. Many planets throughout the vastness of the Universe may be teeming with microbial life, but advancement beyond this stage is very rare.

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Overview

The sweeping diversity of complex life on Earth, Ward and Brownlee argue, evolved out of an extraordinary set of physical conditions and chance events that would be extremely hard to duplicate––though not impossible. Many planets throughout the vastness of the Universe may be teeming with microbial life, but advancement beyond this stage is very rare. Everyone with an interest in the possible extent of life in the Universe and the nature of life's evolution on our own planet will be fascinated by Rare Earth. "...likely to cause a revolution in thinking..." The New York Times "...[the book] has hit the world of astrobiologists like a killer asteroid..." Newsday (New York) "...a sobering and valuable perspective..." Science "...a startling new hypothesis..." Library Journal "...Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee offer a powerful argument..." The Economist "...provocative, significant, and sweeping..." Northwest Science & Technology "...a stellar example of clear writing..." American Scientist

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780387952895
Publisher:
Springer New York
Publication date:
12/10/2003
Edition description:
1st ed. 2000. 1st softcover printing
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
148,982
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Contents Preface to the Paperback Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Introduction: The Astrobiology Revolution and the Rare Earth Hypothesis
Dead Zones of the Universe
Rare Earth Factors 1 Why Life Might Be Widespread in the Universe
2 Habitable Zones of the Universe
3 Building a Habitable Earth
4 Life’s First Appearance on Earth
5 How to Build Animals
6 Snowball Earth
7 The Enigma of the Cambrian Explosion
8 Mass Extinctions and the Rare Earth Hypothesis
9 The Surprising Importance of Plate Tectonics
10 The Moon, Jupiter, and Life on Earth
11 Testing the Rare Earth Hypotheses
12 Assessing the Odds
13 Messengers from the Stars References
Index

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