How did life begin on Earth? Is it confined to our planet? Will humans one day be able to travel long distances in space in search of other life forms? Written by three experts in the space arena, Looking for Life, Searching the Solar System aims to answer these and other intriguing questions. Beginning with what we understand of life on Earth, it describes the latest ideas about the chemical basis of life as we know it, and how they are influencing strategies to search for life elsewhere. It considers the ability of life, from microbes to humans, to survive in space, on the surface of other planets, and be transported from one planet to another. It looks at the latest plans for missions to search for life in the Solar System, and how these are being influenced by new technologies, and current thinking about life on Earth. This fascinating and broad-ranging book is for anyone with an interest in the search for life beyond our planet.
Paul Clancy is a senior strategic planning manager in the Human Spaceflight Directorate of the European Space Agency, in Paris. Andre Brack is Director of Research Emeritus at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire, Orleans. Gerda Horneck is Head of the Radiation Biology Section, and Deputy Director of the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, at the German Aeospace Center.
Preface; Part I. The Imperative of Exploration: 1. Exploration as a metaphor; Part II. How Can We Know Life?: 2. The molecular basis of life on Earth; 3. The limits to life; 4. The transfer of life between planets; 5. What are the signatures of life?; 6. After the discovery/life as a cosmic phenomenon; Part III. The Search for Life Beyond Earth: 7. The prospects for long-duration human space-flight; 8. Human exploration and the search for life; 9. Interplanetary ethics; Part IV. The Cosmic Biological Imperative: 10. The key technologies for human planetary exploration; 11. Exploration in space; 12. Exploration in time; 13. Prediction, imagination and the role of technology; Part IV. Our Cosmic Destiny: 14. Our cosmic destiny; Appendices; Index.