Astrobiology involves the study of the origin and history of life on Earth, planets and moons where life may have arisen, and the search for extraterrestrial life. It combines the sciences of biology, chemistry, palaeontology, geology, planetary physics and astromy. This textbook brings together world experts in each of these disciplines to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the field currently available. Topics cover the origin and evolution of life on Earth, the geological, physical and chemical conditions in which life might arise and the detection of extraterrestrial life on other planets and moons. The book also covers the history of our ideas on extraterrestrial life and the origin of life, as well as the ethical, philosophical and educational issues raised by astrobiology. Written to be accessible to students from diverse backgrounds, this text will be welcomed by advanced undergraduates and graduates who are taking astrobiology courses.
Woodruff Woody Sullivan is a professor in the Astronomy Department at the University of Washington. His interests are in astrobiology, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), and the history of astronomy. He is Chair of the Steering Group of the UW's Center for Astrobiology and Early Evolution, and is one of the leaders of the UW's interdisciplinary graduate program and related efforts in astrobiology. John Baross is a professor in the Oceanography Department at the University of Washington. His research focuses on thermophilic microorganisms from volcanic environments, the origin and evolution of life, life on other planets and moons, and microbial ecology. He is an active member of UW's Astrobiology Program.