Stardust is the second of this kind of book I have recently read (The Stardust Revolution by Berkowitz is the other). Stardust is an excellent, fascinating, and superbly written book and well worth reading. It is written for anyone interested in astrobiology. I gave it five stars because it was a real mind opener--lots of good material.
In a nutshell, the book states that the universe is teaming with complex organic molecules (PAH's, sugars, amino acids, DNA components, etc.)and non-organic silicates-these are the stardust. These molecules can be found in meteorites, in asteroids, on many other planets and on their moons in our solar system, in nebulae, molecular clouds, comets, interstellar space, the Milky Way, and other galaxies. Water has also proven to be abundant and can be found almost anywhere it is searched for. None of this is hypothetical or theoretical, but is experimentally verifiable and is a generally accept fact by astrobiologists and other scientists.
These complex organic molecules(minerals and elements as well)are being manufactured in the outer atmospheres of red giant stars (planetary nebulae-AGB's) and in novae and they are being produced in massive quantities. The author also indicates that this process has been going on for billions of years before our sun was born. Organic molecules and silicates are being circulated throughout the universe by a variety of mechanisms including meteoroids, asteroids, stellar winds, comets, and super-novae explosions. Biomolecules/organics are literally seeding earth and other planets/moons in our solar system as well as those bodies in other stellar systems.
Kwok also discusses the history and development of the astronomical tools which were used to uncover the above findings. The three most important such tools include molecular spectroscopy,radio astronomy,and infrared astronomy; there is really some good info in this section of the material. I am reading this book for the second time. By the way, the other book mentioned above is also very good.
You will have to read Stardust to get the exciting details. What Kwok has to say makes life in the universe look like a sure thing. Add to the findings in this book NASA's recent estimate of 144 billion earth-like habitable planets in our galaxy alone, and you have a recipe for numerous worlds with life.