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Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

on 9 September 2013
Probably the ultimate academic intro to Astrobiology, a fascinating topic and far more than "little green men"!
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.
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on 23 July 2013
Dave Rothery was Teacher to me of a course I did in Astronomy in the mid 90s. A good bloke and a great teacher. Very knowledgeable in his field. This is a gem of a book on the subject of Astrobiology that he has co-written. It truely is a riveting page turner. I came away from it in awe at having gained true scientiific insight into the requirements for the existence of life on other planets, evidence for its existence in extreme environments on our own planet, the most likely place for it to be found in our own solar system and a glimpse into the new science of locating transiting exoplanets and ways to establish the conditions on their surface.

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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on 23 December 2012
brilliant book full of information. great for someone stuyding astrobiology. includes plenty of useful info on differing chlaritys and other alternative biochems tooo
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on 13 August 2014
bad very bad
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