A Brief Introduction to the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life  book cover
1st Edition

A Brief Introduction to the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life

ISBN 9780367788032
Published March 31, 2021 by CRC Press
148 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides an introduction, from the astronomical point of view of the author, to the exciting search for extra-terrestrial life, and an overview of the current status of research into ‘alien’ life in the Solar System and beyond. It also explores the potential future human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and accompanied by key references for further study, it is a fantastic introduction to the field of astrobiology for non-science majors taking an elective module, in addition to undergraduates studying physics with an interest in this area.


  • Contains the latest groundbreaking research in the hunt for life outside of Earth

  • Discusses the identification of biosignatures in exo-planets

  • Reviews future options for human outposts on the Moon and Mars

Table of Contents

1. Introduction. 2. Cosmological Process leading to life on Earth. 3. Events in the Milky Way and Solar System. 4. Main Characteristics of Living Organisms. 5. Water and Life. 6. Human Outposts on the Moon and Mars. 7. Comets, Asteroids, Meteorites .8. The Cometary Mission ROSETTA. 9. Planets of Nearby Dtars. 10. Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, SETI. 11. Conclusions.

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Cesare Barbieri is Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at the University of Padova, Italy. He is one of Europe’s leading scientists in astronomical science. His team was involved in the construction of the Halley Multicolour Camera for GIOTTO and the OSIRIS camera for Rosetta, two history-making European cometary space missions. He also directed the design and construction of the 3.5m Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, Italy’s largest telescope on the Canary Islands. Dr. Barbieri is also renowned for his research into the tenuous atmosphere of the Moon and Mercury with high resolution spectroscopy. He pioneered the application to astronomy of fundamental aspects of quantum optics, building single photon photometers that obtain light curves of optical pulsars of the highest quality.