Astrobiology: An Evolutionary Approach provides a full course in astrobiology with an emphasis on abiogenesis and evolution. The book presents astrobiology both as a developing science and as the science of the future.
The origins of life and the possibility of life elsewhere continues to be a subject of scientific and philosophical examination. These topics evolve with time as our understanding of life itself and the laws of chemical and biological evolution evolve. Astrobiology: An Evolutionary Approach aims both to provide a foundation in astrobiology and to describe the most challenging questions and problems in the field.
The book begins with an overview of astrobiology, the origin of elements, and the formation of the solar system, planets, and exoplanets. Other topics covered include prebiotic synthesis of biochemical compounds, transition from abiotic to biotic, microorganisms in space, the roles of silicon in life, encapsulation of organic materials in protocells, cold and dry limits of life, virolution, and more.
The contributors explore different aspects of astrobiology, reflecting the exciting journeys of their own research. This book will inspire students to explore the endless possibilities in astrobiology. The book includes end-of-chapter questions, a glossary of terms, and recommended references, making it ideal for use as a classroom text.
Table of Contents
Astrobiology: An Overview; Aaron David Goldman
Origin of Elements and Formation of Solar System, Planets, and Exoplanets; Ken Rice
Astrobiology Education and Public Outreach; Timothy F. Slater
Analysis of Extraterrestrial Organic Matter in Murchison Meteorite: A Progress Report; Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin, Mourad Harir, Basem Kanawati, Régis Gougeon, Franco Moritz, Norbert Hertkorn, Sonny Clary, Istvan Gebefügi,and Zelimir Gabelica
Prebiotic Synthesis of Biochemical Compounds: An Overview; Henderson James (Jim) Cleaves
Biochemical Pathways as Evidence for Prebiotic Syntheses; Gene D. McDonald
Roles of Silicon in Life on Earth and Elsewhere; Joseph B. Lambert and Senthil Andavan Gurusamy-Thangavelu
Fossil Records for Early Life on Earth; David Wacey
Prebiotic Chemistry: In Water and in the Solid State; Vera M. Kolb
Encapsulation of Organic Materials in Protocells; Erica A. Frankel, Daniel C. Dewey, and Christine D. Keating
Role of Phosphorus in Prebiotic Chemistry; Matthew Pasek
Cold and Dry Limits of Life; Christopher P. McKay, Alfonso F. Davila, and Henry J. Sun
Microorganisms in Space; Gerda Horneck and Ralf Moeller
Search for Life on Mars: An Astrogeological Approach; Jesús Martínez-Frías
Elusive Definition of Life: A Survey of Main Ideas; Radu Popa
Language and Communication as Universal Requirements for Life; Guenther Witzany
Transition from Abiotic to Biotic: Is There an Algorithm for It?; Sara Imari Walker
Extraterrestrial Life: What Are We Looking For?; Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin, and Alberto G. Fairén
Evolutionary Approach to Viruses in Astrobiology; Matti Jalasvuori and Jaana K.H. Bamford
Virolution Can Help Us Understand the Origin of Life; Luis P. Villarreal
Can Virolution Help Us Understand Recent Human Evolution?; Luis P. Villarreal
Vera M. Kolb is a chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside. She earned an MS in organic chemistry from Belgrade University and a PhD in organic chemistry from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Dr. Kolb received her training in exobiology (now known as astrobiology) at the NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training in San Diego. She has received the Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Educator Award and has also been inducted into the Southeastern Wisconsin Educators’ Hall of Fame. Dr. Kolb is a recipient of numerous grants from the Wisconsin Space Consortium/NASA and has published more than 150 articles in organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, and astrobiology.
"Professor Kolb brings us a refreshing set of chapters that provide an update on some of the most fascinating areas of astrobiology, including the origin of life, the search for habitable exoplanets, extremophiles, and the place of viruses in astrobiology. The diversity of chapters and information makes this an excellent read for those new to the field or those seeking new ideas."
—Charles Cockell, The University of Edinburgh
"A broad-ranging volume covering many different aspects of astrobiology, with engaging chapters containing up-to-date reviews by leading authors. Very accessibly written, suitable for senior undergraduate and graduate students. Each chapter finishes with a helpful glossary of terms, reflecting the strongly interdisciplinary subject matter, and useful review questions that could be used in seminar-based teaching. Overall a great astrobiology education resource."
—Nicola McLoughlin, University of Bergen, Norway
"A really comprehensive and unifying book, which will prove useful and enlightening not only to astrobiologists and evolutionary biologists, but also to anyone interested in life emergence and evolution in the Universe."
—Professor Rolando Cardenas, Head of Planetary Science Laboratory, Universidad Central "Marta Abreu" de Las Villas