Considering the development of life on Earth, the existence of life in extreme environments and the potential for life elsewhere in the Universe, this book gives a fascinating insight into our place in the Universe. Chris Impey leads the reader through the history, from the Copernican revolution to the emergence of the field of astrobiology - the study of life in the cosmos. He examines how life on Earth began, exploring its incredible variety and the extreme environments in which it can survive. Finally, Impey turns his attention to our Solar System and the planets beyond, discussing whether there may be life elsewhere in the Universe. Written in non-technical language, this book is ideal for anyone wanting to know more about astrobiology and how it is changing our views of life and the Universe. An accompanying website available at www.cambridge.org/9780521173841 features podcasts, articles and news stories on astrobiology.
Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He wrote the well-received astrobiology book The Living Cosmos (Random House, 2007), the popular science book How It Ends (Norton, 2010) and Talking about Life (Cambridge University Press, 2010), a collection of interviews with astronomers, geologists, biologists and writers.
Preface; 1. The unfinished revolution; 2. Life's origins; 3. Extreme life; 4. Shaping evolution; 5. Living in the Solar System; 6. Distant worlds; 7. Are we alone?; Notes; Glossary; Reading list; Media resources; Illustration credits; Index.