Author : Joseph Seckbach
ISBN : 9781402025228
Genre : Technology & Engineering
File Size : 33.99 MB
Format : PDF, ePub
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In this book forty eminent scientists examine the astrobiological origins of life and the emergence of biodiversity in extreme environments. The coverage includes extremophiles: microbes living in hostile conditions of high temperature, psychrophilic, UV radiation, and halophilic environments. Also discussed are the origin and history of Martian water, and the possible biogeochemistry inside Titan.
Author : Ralph Pudritz
ISBN : 9781139468312
Genre : Science
File Size : 79.79 MB
Format : PDF, ePub
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Several major breakthroughs have helped contribute to the emerging field of astrobiology. Focusing on these developments, this fascinating book explores some of the most important problems in this field. It examines how planetary systems formed, and how water and the biomolecules necessary for life were produced. It then focuses on how life may have originated and evolved on Earth. Building on these two themes, the final section takes the reader on a search for life elsewhere in the Solar System. It presents the latest results of missions to Mars and Titan, and explores the possibilities of life in the ice-covered ocean of Europa. This interdisciplinary book is an enjoyable overview of this exciting field for students and researchers in astrophysics, planetary science, geosciences, biochemistry, and evolutionary biology. Colour versions of some of the figures are available at www.cambridge.org/9780521875486.
These are exciting times for exobiology. The ubiquity of organic molecules in interstellar clouds, comets and asteroids strongly supports a cosmic perspective on the origin of life. Data from both ground-based telescopes and the recently launched Infrared Space Observatory are providing new insight into the complexity of carbon-based chemistry beyond the Earth. Meteorites give us solid evidence for extraterrestrial amino acids, and putative fossil evidence for life in a 3.6 billion-year-old Martian meteorite hints that life in our system might not be the sole prerogative of the Earth. Giant planets have now been discovered orbiting other stars, and although such planets seem unlikely to be habitable themselves, their existence strongly suggests what many astronomers have long believed - that planetary systems are commonplace. All these topics are reviewed in this volume by active researchers. The level is appropriate for graduate students in astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, physics, and related disciplines. It will also provide a valuable source of reference for active researchers in these fields.
How did life begin on the early Earth? We know that life today is driven by the universal laws of chemistry and physics. By applying these laws over the past ?fty years, en- mous progress has been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms that are the foundations of the living state. For instance, just a decade ago, the ?rst human genome was published, all three billion base pairs. Using X-ray diffraction data from crystals, we can see how an enzyme molecule or a photosynthetic reaction center steps through its catalytic function. We can even visualize a ribosome, central to all life, translate - netic information into a protein. And we are just beginning to understand how molecular interactions regulate thousands of simultaneous reactions that continuously occur even in the simplest forms of life. New words have appeared that give a sense of this wealth of knowledge: The genome, the proteome, the metabolome, the interactome. But we can’t be too smug. We must avoid the mistake of the physicist who, as the twentieth century began, stated con?dently that we knew all there was to know about physics, that science just needed to clean up a few dusty corners. Then came relativity, quantum theory, the Big Bang, and now dark matter, dark energy and string theory. Similarly in the life sciences, the more we learn, the better we understand how little we really know. There remains a vast landscape to explore, with great questions remaining.
How did life on earth originate? Did replication or metabolism come first in the history of life? In this book, Freeman Dyson examines these questions and discusses the two main theories that try to explain how naturally occurring chemicals could organize themselves into living creatures. The majority view is that life began with replicating molecules, the precursors of modern genes. The minority belief is that random populations of molecules evolved metabolic activities before exact replication existed. Dyson analyzes both of these theories with reference to recent important discoveries by geologists and chemists. His main aim is to stimulate experiments that could help to decide which theory is correct. This second edition covers the enormous advances that have been made in biology and geology in the past and the impact they have had on our ideas about how life began. It is a clearly-written, fascinating book that will appeal to anyone interested in the origins of life.
Author : Aleksandr Ivanovich Oparin
ISBN : 0486495221
Genre : Science
File Size : 68.96 MB
Format : PDF, Mobi
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This classic of biochemistry offered the first detailed exposition of the theory that living tissue was preceded upon Earth by a long and gradual evolution of nitrogen and carbon compounds. "Easily the most scholarly authority on the question...it will be a landmark for discussion for a long time to come." — New York Times.
The general topic of this volume concerns the origin, evolution, distribution, and destiny of life in the Universe. Firstly, it discusses the transition from inert matter to cellular life and its evolution to fully developed intelligent beings, and also the possibility of life occurring elsewhere, particularly in other environments in our own and other solar systems. Secondly, the book explores the role that space missions may play in obtaining further insight into the question of the origin of life. Reviews are included of the research for microorganisms in the solar system and the well-established project for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The present work is much broader in its scope than in previous conferences: over one hundred leading scientists have reviewed the entire range of subjects dealt with in these sixty-nine papers. Audience: This book is aimed at advanced students, as well as researchers, in the many areas of basic, earth, and life sciences that contribute to the study of the first steps in the origin of life.
Divided into two parts, the first four chapters of Comets and their Origin refer to comets and their formation in general, describing cometary missions, comet remote observations, astrochemistry, artificial comets, and the chirality phenomenon. The second part covers the cometary ROSETTA mission, its launch, journey, scientific objectives, and instrumentations, as well as the landing scenario on a cometary nucleus. Along the way, the author presents general questions concerning the origin of terrestrial water and the molecular beginnings of life on Earth, as well as how the instruments used on a space mission like ROSETTA can help answer them. The text concludes with a chapter on what scientists expect from the ROSETTA mission and how its data will influence our life on Earth. As a result, the author elucidates highly topical and fascinating knowledge to scientists and students of various scientific backgrounds, allowing them to work with ROSETTA's data.