9780521173841

The Living Cosmos: Our Search for Life in the Universe

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780521173841

  • ISBN10:

    0521173841

  • Edition: Revised
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 6/30/2011
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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Summary

Considering the development of life on Earth, the existence of life in extreme environments and the potential for life elsewhere in the Universe, this book gives a fascinating insight into our place in the Universe. Chris Impey leads the reader through the history, from the Copernican revolution to the emergence of the field of astrobiology the study of life in the cosmos. He examines how life on Earth began, exploring its incredible variety and the extreme environments in which it can survive. Finally, Impey turns his attention to our Solar System and the planets beyond, discussing whether there may be life elsewhere in the Universe. Written in non-technical language, this book is ideal for anyone wanting to know more about astrobiology and how it is changing our views of life and the Universe. An accompanying website available at www.cambridge.org/9780521173841 features podcasts, articles and news stories on astrobiology.

Table of Contents

Preface To The Paper Back Editionp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
The Unfinished Revolutionp. 3
The Audacity of The Greeksp. 4
Thinking Deeply about Nature
From Atoms to Worlds
The Man Who Displaced the Earth
Witnessing the Birth of Science
How We Know What We Knowp. 9
We Are All Scientists
From Patterns to Understanding
The Toolkit of Science
Better Living Through Logic
Does Science Have Limits?
The Copernican Revolutionp. 15
The Reluctant Revolutionary
The Mystic of Many Worlds
Cementing the Heliocentric Model
Worlds in Collision
Master of the Universe
Modern Cosmologyp. 24
Herschel Scans the Skies
Better Telescopes, Better Technology
Bubble and the Nature of the Nebulae
Welcome to the Expanding Universe
Einstein Gives Shape to Gravity
Big Bang
Enigmas of the Universe
Enhancing Our Sensesp. 35
Extending the Reach of the Eye
Detecting Invisible Waves
Exotic Messengers
Our Place In The Universep. 41
Space: A Toy Model
Time: A Toy Model
The Emergence Of Astrobiologyp. 44
Chemistry Is Cosmic
The Nature and Evolution of Life
Astronomy and the Vastness of Space
Astrobiology Grows Up
Life's Originsp. 51
Cosmic Chemistryp. 53
Helium and the Big Bang
The Stuff of the Universe
Cauldron of the Elements-Cycles of Life and Death
Deep Timep. 58
Everyday Time
Time Using Gravity
Atoms and Time
The Clocks in the Rocks
First Traces Of Lifep. 65
The Art of Reading Rocks
Finding the Oldest Rocks
A Time Capsule of Life
Body Fossils
Trace Fossils
Molecular Fossils
Life's Early Frontier
Life In A Bottlep. 73
The Miller-Urey Experiment
Ingredients from Space
The Nature Of Lifep. 75
Life Uses Energy
Life Battles Disorder
Life Stores Information
The Mechanism of Evolution
How Did Life Start?p. 81
An Intelligent Designer?
From Atoms to Molecules
RNA Is Special
The First Replicator
The First Cell
The Birth of Evolution
One Earthp. 90
Gaia
An Intricate Dance
Extreme Lifep. 93
The Tree Of Lifep. 95
Appearances Can Be Deceiving
Phylogenetic Trees
Intimate Strangers
The Unity of Life
A Genetic Bazaar
Our Distant Ancestorsp. 104
Protists Are Neat
The Father of Extreme Life
Champion Extremophilesp. 106
Almost Invulnerable
Cute but Tough
Redefining Normal
Some Like It Hot
Living that the Edge
Lost Worlds
Meet the Titans of Toxicity
Strategies for Survival
Extreme Industriesp. 116
Miniature Industrialists
The Midas Touch
Photocopying DNA
Tiny Superheroes to the Rescue
A Conspiracy of Germs
Cosmic HitChhikersp. 121
Riding the Interplanetary Shuttle
A Thimbleful of Stardust
Living Among the Stars
How Strange Can Life Be?p. 124
Chance and Necessity
Life 1.1
Life 2.0
Exploring thé Biological Landscape
Artificial Lifep. 130
Life in a Computer
A-Life
Life Beyond Biology
Welcome to the Singularity
Shaping Evolutionp. 138
Birth Of The Earthp. 140
Clues from the Crime Scene
Collapse of the Solar Nebula
From Dust Bunnies to Planets
Collisions and Catastrophes
The Primeval Earth
Impactsp. 146
Weighing the Odds
Tunguska
The Big One
Hunting Space Junkp. 153
Rocks from the Sky
Meteorites for the Masses
Cosmic Influences On Lifep. 155
The Fickleness of Stars
Star Death
The Ultimate Cataclysm
Living with Radiation
Life in Other Neighborhoods
The Evolving Biospherep. 162
Changing Sun and Atmosphere
Carbon and the Earth's Crust
Snowball Earth
Violent Change Is Normal
Shaping Life On Earthp. 170
The Evolving Planet
Darwin's Brilliant Idea
Variation and Evolution
The Role of Chance
Life's Common Solutions
Tolerating Imperfection
Landmarks In Evolutionp. 175
The Power of Networking
Life Surges
The Emergence of Brains
Living In The Solar Systemp. 182
How Special Is The Earth?p. 184
The Rare Earth Hypothesis
Habitable Zones
What We Mean by "Habitable"
Rare or Inevitable?
Mythic Marsp. 190
The Mars in Each of Us
Mars Attacks
Canals on Mars
Exploring The Red Planetp. 193
Mars Up Close
A Kinder, Gentler Mars
The Little Rovers That Could
Life On Marsp. 199
Where the Water Went
Martian Microbes?
Wanted, Dead or Alive
Greening the Red Planet
The Value of Planets
Earth's Evil Twinp. 206
The Goddess of Love Welcomes You
Greenhouse
Life at the Edge
Mysteries Of Titanp. 209
Sirens of Titan
Patience and Romance
Cassini and Huygens Pay a Visit
What We. Saw on Titan
Could There Be Life on Titan?
Water Worldp. 215
The Ice Floes of Europa
Voyages to Europa
Signs Of Lifep. 218
Biomarkers
Living in the Neighborhood
Distant Worldsp. 222
Wobbling Starsp. 225
Why Finding Planets Is Hard
The Man Who Harvests Planets
Hot Jupiters
Strange New Worlds
Copernicus Redux
Needle In A Haystackp. 232
Transiting Planets
Gravity Lends a Hand
Playing the Odds
Growing Planetsp. 238
Complexity and Chaos
Forging Exoplanets
Following the Water
Detecting Earthsp. 243
How to Find Clones of Home
Big Glass
Cheating the Atmosphere
A Plethora Of Planetsp. 247
Upcoming Missions
The Promise of TPF
Cutting to the Chase
Travel To The Starsp. 251
The Fastest Thing There Is
Bigger and Bigger Fireworks
New Technologies
Between Science and Science Fiction
Our Future In Spacep. 257
NASA Goes on a Diet
Bring on the Robots
The Experience of Space
Your Next Vacation?
Dreams of Other Worlds
Are We Alone?p. 264
Where Are They?p. 266
Fermi's Provocative Question
Maybe the Question Is Moot
Belief Systems and Conspiracies
The Absence of Space Tourists
Opening Pandora's Box
Cosmic Coincidencesp. 272
Fine-tuning in Nature
Is Life Surprising?
Enter the Multiverse
The Drake Equationp. 277
Motivating the Search
The Boy or Girl of Your Dreams
The Optimists Weigh In
Lost in Space
Potentially Living Worldsp. 281
Counting Stars with Planet Stuff
Potentially Life-bearing Rocks
Intelligence And Technologyp. 284
Defining Intelligence
How We Got So Smart
Is Intelligence Inevitable?
The Aliens Among Us
The Role of Technology
Timing Is Everythingp. 291
The Doomsday Hypothesis
Room at the Bottom
The Number of Companions
Communicating In The Cosmosp. 295
SETI Pioneers
Beating the Odds
Current Searches
The Medium Is the Message
Why Are We So Lonely?p. 301
Our Postbiological Future
Supercivilizations
Reality and Simulation At One with the Cosmos-Companionship or loneliness?
The Search for Meaning
Notesp. 311
Glossaryp. 341
Reading Listp. 353
Media Resourcesp. 361
Illustration Creditsp. 363
Indexp. 369
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