Systems Approach to Astrobiology  book cover
1st Edition

Systems Approach to Astrobiology

  • Available for pre-order on April 14, 2023. Item will ship after May 5, 2023
ISBN 9781032116280
May 5, 2023 Forthcoming by CRC Press
168 Pages 18 Color & 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Systems thinking/analysis is widely applied for solving complex problems in engineering and certain other fields. Astrobiology, which inherently involves complex problems, can benefit from such an approach. This book provides background and methodology of this approach for professionals, upper-level undergraduate students, and others with an interest in astrobiology topics.

In addition, this book constitutes a valuable resource not only for astrobiology, but also for its foundational disciplines, e.g., chemistry, physics, astronomy, biology, biochemistry, geology, and planetary geology.

Key Features

  • Surveys of the systems approach to analysing and understanding multifaceted, complex problems in astrobiology, written by two scientists who also have engineering backgrounds.
  • Systems applications to areas important to astrobiology, such as chemical evolution, prebiotic chemistry, geochemical/geophysical settings conducive to emergence of life, robotic space exploration, and much more.
  • Wide appeal for all readers interested in the origin and occurrence of life in our Solar System and beyond.

Table of Contents

1. What is Astrobiology? 2. Examples of Complex Problems in Astrobiology. 3. An Overview of the Systems Approach to the Understanding and Solving Complex Problem as Relevant to Astrobiology. 4. Application of Systems Analysis to Defining Life. 5. Systems Chemistry. 6. Prebiotic Chemistry. 7. Systems Approach to Prebiotic Chemical Evolution that led to Life. 8. Systems Approach to the Origin of Life, including Abiotic-to-Botic (a-2-b) Transition. 9. Systems Biology and its Relevance to Prebiotic Chemical Systems that led to Life. 10 Application of Systems Analysis to Additional Complex Astrobiology Problems. 11. Transport of Life Between Planets. 12. Retrospective on the General Applicability of Our Block Diagram. Bibliography.

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Vera M. Kolb earned her BS in Chemical Engineering and MS in organic chemistry from Belgrade University, and PhD in organic chemistry from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She is Professor Emerita of Chemistry at University of Wisconsin-Parkside (UW-P). During her research at the NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT), she collaborated with Leslie Orgel (Salk Institute) and Stanley Miller (UCSD). In 1992, she received the UW-P Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity. She later researched sugar-silicates in a prebiotic context with Joseph Lambert (Northwestern University). In 2002, she was inducted into the Southeastern Wisconsin Educators’ Hall of Fame. She has over 150 publications, patents, and books, and has received numerous research awards from the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium/NASA. Prof. Kolb is editor/contributor for several books, including "Astrobiology, An Evolutionary Approach" (CRC, 2015), the 54-chapter "Handbook of Astrobiology" (CRC, 2019, and co-authored with Benton Clark "Astrobiology for a General Reader: A Questions and Answers Approach" (CSP, 2020).

Benton Clark earned his PhD in Biophysics from Columbia University and a Masters in Nuclear Physics and Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently Senior Scientist at the Space Science Institute. In 1976, the XRFS instrument he designed for the Viking missions discovered the element composition and high salt content of martian soils. His 40-plus years of experience formerly working with engineers at Lockheed Martin aerospace spanned development of more than a dozen spacecraft, including Mars orbiters and landers, missions to Venus, Jupiter, the Moon, and sample return missions to comet Wild-2, L1 solar wind, and asteroid Bennu (for which he led design of the sampling system). He is also on the science teams for all four NASA rover missions to Mars (Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, Perseverance). His extensive publications include over two dozen in the journals Science and Nature.