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An Introduction to Astrobiology Paperback – 11 Aug 2011
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'Finally, an undergraduate level textbook on astrobiology that provides the perfect entry for students interested in this burgeoning field. The profuse and well-chosen illustrations, charts and tables, the clearly written text, and the comprehensive and balanced coverage make An Introduction to Astrobiology stand out. After twenty five years of teaching an undergraduate course in astrobiology, I finally will be able to use a single book that is authoritative and yet will captivate the student readers. Beautifully written and produced, this is certain to become the gold standard for introductory astrobiology textbooks.' Professor John Scalo, University of Texas, Austin
'The authors of this book are to be congratulated on bringing scientific rigour to the concept of 'astrobiology' … The text is always clear, there are definitions in the margins; there are many questions and answers (indeed, some of the most interesting discussions are in the answers at the back); and all mathematics is confined to separate boxes or exercises. There are plenty of clear and colourful diagrams, and excellent images with preference for the most illuminating rather than the most familiar ones.' Dr John Rogers, University of Cambridge
'I find the organization and flow of ideas in An Introduction to Astrobiology to be appealing in their logic and simplicity. In summary, it lives up to its title by providing an interesting overview of this developing field. I recommend it both as a primary text for upper division courses that aim to introduce undergraduate students to science and as a supplementary text for graduate level courses that explore more focused themes of this fascinating field of science.' Professor Jack D. Farmer, Arizona State University
'… serves perfectly for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as more established researchers looking to read up on other fields, and is equally approachable for non-scientists interested in finding out a bit more about this young field. I've already recommended this book to a new student!' The Observatory
Providing an introduction to the origin of life, the habitable environments in our Solar System and the search for exoplanets, this new edition has been updated to take in the latest developments. There are questions and answers throughout the text, exercises with full solutions, and additional resources available online.See all Product Description
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The book starts off asking elementary questions about the origins of life and how life is to be defined. This is a fascinating topic in its own right and very well explained. From there it moves on to the geology and environment of habitable worlds, and then really exciting stuff: exploration of planets in our solar system. The authors expertise shines through (Patel, Zarnecki and Rothery are scientists involved in the Curiosity, Cassini-Huygens and Messenger missions to Mars, Saturn/Titan and Mercury, respectively) and the depth of the material is fantastic. The photos are first rate and explanations and examples are logical, and rewarding to work through.
The last third or so of the book deals with exoplanets and SETI, very interesting and is also of a high standard.
Whilst aimed at undergrad level, I'd recommend the book to anyone interested - the maths is modest (GCSE level or so), and the assumed knowledge of background science is pitched at a similar level. That being said, interested undergrad level chemists, biologists and geologists will get much more out of this.
This book also blows away the myths we all (embarrassingly!!) harbour in our sub-conscious, brought about by popular culture and science fiction, of the prospect of finding Little Green Men on Mars!!! However there is a chapter towards the end of the book on the colonisation by humans of earth-like planets in our galaxy in a manner not that dissimilar to how Captain Kirk discovered Khan Singh, cryonically frozen, in the Star Trek the Original Series episode "Space Seed", as a perfectly reasonable way for inter-stellar travel, since in reality Physics does not permit Warp speeds.
Buy this book. You will love it. It's probably the best one out there on the subject at present.
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