Searching for Water in the Universe / Edition 1

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Overview

In Searching for Water in the Solar System, Thérèse Encrenaz takes the reader on a journey through the Universe in search of water. She begins by introducing the most well-known of molecule H2O, its physical and chemical characteristics and its cosmic Formation and abundance. She examines the methods by which the presence of water is detected, both within the solar system and beyond. One by one she visits a diversity of locations in the cosmos, from the nearest planets to the furthest galaxies, where water has been discovered. In the formation of the solar system, she explains how the water molecule played a major part, with the so-called ‘ice frontier’ determining the natures of the terrestrial and giant planets.

The book explores the presence of water in the various bodies of the Solar System: in the giant planets, with their rings and systems of satellites, in comets, asteroids and in the terrestrial planets. By tracing the history of water in the atmospheres of Mars, Venus and the Earth, the author explains how small differences in temperatures, causing water to exist in different states on different planets – vapour on Venus, liquid on Earth and solid ice on Mars – have led to a great divergence in the evolutions of the three planets. The story of water on Mars, an aspect of great topical interest, offers an insight into the possibility (still only a theory) that there was once life on that planet. The book concludes by looking at the important role played by water in studies of habitable exoplanets.

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Editorial Reviews

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From the reviews:

"Professor Encrenaz, from the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, is a very well-known Solar System research astronomer and the author of many excellent books on Solar System topics. This, her latest book, is first class, well written, beautifully illustrated, and accurately aimed at a young university/advanced amateur-astronomy readership. … I highly recommend this thorough introduction to a vital component of the Universe and life." (David W. Hughes, The Observatory, Vol. 127 (1199), 2007)

"This visually beautiful book features photographs, diagrams, and explanations in colored boxes that cover past and future measurements of amounts of water from Earth observatories, orbiting satellites, and robot spacecraft. The artistic charm contributes hugely to clarify even the most difficult concepts as Encrenaz (Paris Observatory) describes the chemistry of this three-atom molecule and carries the reader off Earth and into the solar system and beyond on her search for water. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels." (P. R. Douville, Choice, Vol. 45 (1), 2007)

"The author takes us on a journey through the various locations from the nearest to the furthest planets where water has been observed. … This book belongs to the Popular Astronomy series and is therefore easy readable by a large public. It is well illustrated … and contains many text frames elucidating the encountered concepts of interest. … this basic comprehensible work is strongly recommended to all those who shows at least some interest in the ongoing search of water (and life) in the universe." (Robert Vandenberghe, Physicalia Magazine, Vol. 29 (4), 2007)

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Water?- A Very Simple Molecule.- The Quest for Cosmic Water.- The Ice Frontier and the Birth of the Planets.- Comets and Water.- Water in the Outer Solar System.- At the Ice Frontier: the Asteroids.- Water and the Terrestrial Planets.- The Search for Other Earths.- Glossary.- Bibliography.- Index.

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