Life in the Universe

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1/4/2016
  • Publisher: Pearson

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For intro-level, one-semester multidisciplinary science and astronomy courses.


Encourage students to explore answers to questions about life beyond Earth and our solar system.

Life in the Universe provides an ideal starting point for non-science majors intrigued by the latest discoveries about life in the solar system and beyond. Rigorously researched and accessible to students of all backgrounds, the text introduces concepts drawn from astronomy, biology, and geology to explain natural phenomena and to explore profound scientific questions about astrobiology. The Fourth Edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to include the latest scientific discoveries and advancements, including new information regarding extrasolar planets, artificial life, and early life on Earth.


Designed for courses in astrobiology, Life in the Universe arouses students’ natural curiosity by exploring fundamental questions such as: How did life begin on Earth? What are the most extreme forms of life currently known? What do we know about the possibility of life beyond Earth?


The text encourages non-science majors to develop an understanding of the process of science through its inherently compelling subject matter as well as its wealth of engaging features, including Learning Goals, Special Topics, and connections to popular culture. Sidebars provide optional mathematical material for courses that fulfill quantitative requirements.


Also Available with MasteringAstronomy

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Mastering brings learning full circle by continuously adapting to each student and making learning more personal than ever—before and after class.


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If you would like to purchase boththe physical text and MasteringAstronomy, search for:


0134068408 / 9780134068404    Life in the Universe Plus MasteringAstronomy with eText -- Access Card Package

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  • 0134080017 / 9780134080017     MasteringAstronomy with Pearson eText -- ValuePack Access Card -- for Life in the Universe
  • 0134089081 / 9780134089089     Life in the Universe
  • 0321765184 / 9780321765185     SkyGazer 5.0 Student Access Code Card (Integrated component)


Author Biography

Jeffrey Bennett

Jeffrey Bennett, a recipient of the American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award, holds a B.A. in biophysics (UC San Diego), and an M.S. and Ph.D. in astrophysics (University of Colorado). He specializes in science and math education and has taught at every level from preschool through graduate school. Career highlights including serving 2 years as a visiting senior scientist at NASA headquarters, where he developed programs to build stronger links between research and education, and proposing and helping to develop the Voyage scale model solar system on the National Mall (Washington, DC). He is the lead author of textbooks in astronomy, astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics, and of critically acclaimed books for the public including Beyond UFOs (Princeton University Press, 2008/2011), Math for Life (Bid Kid Science, 2014), What Is Relativity? (Columbia University Press, 2014), and On Teaching Science (Big Kid Science, 2014). He is also the author of six science picture books for children, including Max Goes to the Moon, The Wizard Who Saved the World, and I, Humanity; all six have been launched to the International Space Station and read aloud by astronauts for NASA’s Story Time From Space program. Dr. Bennett lives in Boulder, CO with his wife, children, and dog. His personal website is www.jeffreybennett.com.


Seth Shostak

Seth Shostak earned his B.A. in physics from Princeton University (1965) and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology (1972). He is currently a senior astronomer and Director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, where he helps press the search for intelligent cosmic company. For much of his career, Seth conducted radio astronomy research on galaxies and investigated the fact that these massive objects contain large amounts of unseen mass. He has worked at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute in Groningen, the Netherlands (where he learned to speak bad Dutch). Seth also founded and ran a company that produced computer animation for television. He has written more than four hundred popular articles on various topics in astronomy, technology, film, and television. A frequent fixture on the lecture circuit, Seth gives approximately 70 talks annually at both educational and corporate institutions, and he is also a frequent commentator on astronomical matters for radio and television. His book Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (National Geographic, 2009) details the latest ideas, as well as the personal experience of his day job. When he’s not trying to track down aliens, Seth can often be found behind the microphone, as host of the SETI Institute’s weekly one-hour radio show about science, Big Picture Science.



Table of Contents

1 A Universe of Life?

2 The Science of Life in the Universe

3 The Universal Context of Life

4 The Habitability of Earth

5 The Nature of Life on Earth

6 The Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth

7 Searching for Life in Our Solar System

8 Mars

9 Life on Jovian Moons

10 The Nature and Evolution of Habitability

11 Extrasolar Planets: Their Nature and Potential Habitability

12 The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

13 Interstellar Travel and the Fermi Paradox

Epilogue: Contact – Implications for the Search and Discovery


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