Vera M. Kolb
December 18, 2018 Forthcoming
Reference - 846 Pages - 50 Color & 450 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781138065123 - CAT# K33392
SAVE ~$79.99 on each
Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life on Earth. This exciting and significant field of research also investigates the potential existence and search for extra-terrestrial life in the Solar System and beyond.
This is the first handbook in this burgeoning and interdisciplinary field. Edited by Vera Kolb, a highly respected astrobiologist, this comprehensive resource captures the history and current state of the field. Rich in information and easy to use, it assumes basic knowledge and provides answers to questions from practitioners and specialists in the field, as well as providing key references for further study.
Part 1. Astrobiology: Definition, scope, and education
Chapter 1.1 Astrobiology: Definition and scope
Chapter 1.2 Astrobiology goals: NASA Strategy and European roadmap
Chapter 1.3 Online, classroom and wilderness teaching environments: Reaching astrobiology learners of all ages around the world
Chapter 1.4 Astrobiology as a medium for science education
Chapter 1.5 Astrobiology as Origins Story: Education and inspiration across cultures
Part 2. Definition and nature of life
Chapter 2.1 Definition of life: Multiple perspectives
Chapter 2.2 A generalized and universalized definition of life applicable to extraterrestrial environments
Chapter 2.3 Synthetic life and minimal cell
Chapter 2.4 Communication as the main characteristic of life
Part 3. Origin of life: History, philosophical aspects, and major developments
Chapter 3.1 Philosophical aspects of the origin-of-life question: Neither by chance nor by design
Chapter 3.2 Charles Darwin and the Plurality of Worlds: Are we Alone?
Chapter 3.3 Origins of life: Early history, from Buffon to Oparin
Chapter 3.4 Think life by studying its origins. A look on the second part of the 20th century
Part 4. Chemical origins of life: Chemicals in the universe and their delivery on the early Earth. Geology and atmosphere on the early Earth.
Chapter 4.1 Interstellar molecules and their prebiotic potential
Chapter 4.2 Formation and delivery of complex organic molecules to the Solar System and early Earth
Chapter 4.3 Organic molecules in meteorites and their astrobiological significance
Chapter 4.4 Ancient life and crust and mantle evolution
Chapter 4.5 Atmosphere on early Earth and its evolution as it impacted life
Part 5. Chemical origin of life: Prebiotic chemistry.
Chapter 5.1 Prebiotic chemistry that led to life
Chapter 5.2 Prebiotic chemical pathways to RNA and the importance of its compartmentation
Chapter 5.3 The hydrothermal impact crater-lakes: The crucibles of life’s origin
Chapter 5.4 Prebiotic chemistry in hydrothermal vent systems
Chapter 5.5 Prebiotic reactions in water, on water, in supercritical water, solventless, and in the solid state
Chapter 5.6 The origin and amplification of chirality leading to biological homochirality
Chapter 5.7 Phosphorus in prebiotic chemistry – An update and a note on plausibility
Chapter 5.8 Phosphorylation on the Early Earth
Chapter 5.9 Silicon and life
Part 6. RNA and RNA world. Complexity of life’s origins.
Chapter 6.1 Transitions: RNA and ribozymes in the development of life
Chapter 6.2 Three ways to make an RNA sequence: Steps from chemistry to the RNA world
Chapter 6.3 Coevolution of RNA and peptides
Chapter 6.4 Role of ions in RNA folding and function
Chapter 6.5 The origin of life as an evolutionary process: Representative case studies
Chapter 6.6 The complexity of life’s origins: a physicochemical view
Part 7. Origin of life: Early compartmentalization. Coacervates and protocells
Chapter 7.1 Oparin’s coacervates
Chapter 7.2 Protocell evolution
Part 8. Origin of life and its diversification. Universal tree of life. Early primitive life on Earth. Fossils of ancient microorganisms. Biomarkers and detection of life.
Chapter 8.1 The progenote, LUCA, and the root of the cellular tree of life
Chapter 8.2 Horizontal gene transfer in microbial evolution
Chapter 8.3 Viruses in the origin of life and its subsequent diversification
Chapter 8.4 Carl R. Woese and the journey toward a universal tree of life
Chapter 8.5 Fossils of ancient microorganisms
Chapter 8.6 Biomarkers and their Raman spectral signatures: An analytical challenge in astrobiology
Chapter 8.7 Fossilization of bacteria and the implications for the search for early life forms. Biosignatures in astrobiology missions to Mars
Part 9. Life under extreme conditions. Microbes in space.
Chapter 9.1 Extremophiles and their natural niches on Earth
Chapter 9.2 Microbes in space
Chapter 9.3 Virus evolution and ecology. Role of viruses in adaptation of life to extreme environments
Part 10. Habitability: Characteristics of habitable planets.
Chapter10.1 The evolution of habitability: Characteristics of habitable planets
Part 11. Intelligent life in space: History, philosophy, and SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).
Chapter 11.1 Mind in universe: On the origin, evolution, and distribution of intelligent life in space
Chapter 11.2 Where are they? Implications of the Drake equation and the Fermi paradox
Chapter 11.3 SETI, its goals and accomplishments
Chapter 11.4 Humanistic implications of discovering life beyond Earth
Part 12. Exoplanets. Exploration of Solar System. Search for extraterrestrial life in our Solar System. Planetary protection.
Chapter 12.1 Exoplanets: Methods for their detection and their habitability potential
Chapter 12.2 Solar System exploration: Small bodies and their chemical and physical conditions
Chapter 12.3 Solar System exploration: Icy Moons and their habitability
Chapter 12.4 Searching for extraterrestrial life in our Solar System
Chapter 12.5 Planetary protection