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Life in the Universe

Expectations and Constraints

  • Dirk Schulze-Makuch
  • Louis N. Irwin

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Also part of the Astronomy and Planetary Sciences book sub series (ASTRONOMY)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 1-5
  3. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 7-26
  4. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 27-50
  5. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 51-73
  6. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 75-100
  7. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 101-121
  8. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 123-147
  9. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 149-164
  10. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 165-181
  11. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 183-202
  12. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 203-228
  13. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 229-246
  14. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 247-253
  15. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 255-264
  16. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 265-273
  17. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin
    Pages 275-286
  18. Back Matter
    Pages 287-343

About this book

Introduction

This class-tested textbook examines the basic elements of living systems: energy, chemistry, solvents, and habitats in crucial depth. These elements define the opportunities and limitations for life on other worlds. The book argues that life forms we would recognize may be more common in our solar system than many assume. It also considers, however, the possibility of exotic forms of life based on backbones other than carbon, liquids other than water, and energy other than light. The authors offer an operational definition of life and summarize prevailing thoughts on plausible pathways for the origin of life on Earth and other worlds. They discuss remarkable adaptations to extreme environments, the nature and detection of geo- and biosignatures, the future and fate of living systems, and suggestions for the optimization of future exploratory space missions.

The entire text has been thoroughly updated in this third edition, with new sections added on exoplanets, synthetic life, the search for extraterrestrial life, and a tour of the bodies in our Solar System for signs of conditions conducive for life. While informed speculation in this emerging field cannot be avoided, the authors have clearly distinguished between what is known as fact and what are reasonable expectations. They present an objective assessment of the plausibility of life on other worlds that is broad and deep enough for the expert and for use as an advanced text in astrobiology, while avoiding scientific jargon as much as possible to make this intrinsically interdisciplinary subject understandable to a broad range of readers.

Keywords

Adaptation to envirnoment exraterrestrial life astrobiology textbook biosignatures of life exobiology book origin of life synthetic life search for extraterrestrial life

Authors and affiliations

  • Dirk Schulze-Makuch
    • 1
  • Louis N. Irwin
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Astronomy and AstrophysicsTechnical University BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

Bibliographic information

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