Habitability of the Universe before Earth: Astrobiology: Exploring Life on Earth and Beyond (series) examines the times and places-before life existed on Earth-that might have provided suitable environments for life to occur, addressing the question: Is life on Earth de novo, or derived from previous life? The universe changed considerably during the vast epoch between the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago and the first evidence of life on Earth 4.3 billion years ago, providing significant time and space to contemplate where, when and under what circumstances life might have arisen. No other book covers this cosmic time period from the point of view of its potential for life.
The series covers a broad range of topics encompassing laboratory and field research into the origins and evolution of life on Earth, life in extreme environments and the search for habitable environments in our solar system and beyond, including exoplanets, exomoons and astronomical biosignatures.
- Provides multiple hypotheses on the origin of life and distribution of living organisms in space
- Explores the diversity of physical environments that may support the origin and evolution of life
- Integrates contemporary views in biology and cosmology, and provides reasons that life is far more mobile in space than most people expect
- Includes access to a companion web site featuring supplementary information such as animated computer simulations
Preface: Life as a Cosmic Phenomenon
Part I: Physical and Chemical Constraints 1. Gravity and life 2. Radiation as a constraint for life in the universe 3. The when and where of water in the history of the universe 4. The cosmic evolution of biochemistry 5. Astrophysical and cosmological constraints on life 6. Primitive carbon: Before Earth and much before any life on it
Part II: Predicting Habitability 7. The habitability of our evolving galaxy 8. N-body simulations and galactic habitability 9. Occupied and empty regions of the space of extremophile parameters 10. The emergence of structured, living and conscious matter in the evolution of the universe: A theory of structural evolution and interaction of matter
Part III: Life in the Cosmic Scale 11. Life before Earth 12. Earth before life 13. The time-dependent Drake equation 14. Are we the first? 10 billion years of evolution before Earth 15. Life before its origin on Earth: Implications of a late emergence of terrestrial life
Part IV: System Properties of Life 16. Symbiosis: Why was the transition from microbial prokaryotes to eukaryotic organisms a cosmic gigayear event? 17. Coenzyme world model of the origin of life 18. Emergence of polygonal shapes in oil droplets and living cells: The potential role of tensegrity in the origin of life 19. Why on theoretical grounds it may be likely that 'life' exists throughout the universe