With the accelerating pace of genomic analysis and space exploration, the field of prebiotic evolution and astrobiology is poised for a century of unprecedented advances ahead, and there is a need for textbooks for students. The authors of this book, aware of the difficulty of covering the multifaceted subject by any single author, have decided to combine their efforts to provide a suitable book for beginning students from varied disciplines. The book stemmed from a meeting on Basic Questions about the Origin of Life at the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture in Erice, Sicily in October 2006, where Pier Luigi Luisi laid out a balanced program to approach the subject. The present book basically follows that program. The many authors have produced most thoughtful, authoritative and readable chapters on their areas so that the student may grasp the background, objective and progress of the major research foci in the field.