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The general topic of this book concerns the origin, evolution, distribution, and destiny of life in the Universe. 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. Advanced extraterrestrial life can be probed by means of radioastronomy in the well-established project of search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The text pays special attention to the robust growth in our capacity to search for microorganisms, as well as signals of extraterrestrial life,
Preface. Group Photograph. A Few Words of Welcome. General overview. Contemporary Radio Searches for Extraterrestrial Intelligence; F. Drake. Section 1: Introduction to Astrobiology. Origins: From the Big-Bang to Civilisation; J. Chela-Flores. Detectability of intelligent life in the universe: A search based in our knowledge of the laws of nature; G.A. Lemarchand. Cosmos and cosmology; H. Rago. New developments in astronomy relevant to astrobiology; S. Sofia. Section 2: Chemical Evolution. Cosmochemical evolution and the origin of life on Earth; J. Oro. Chemical evolution in the early Earth; A. Negron-Mendoza, S. Ramos-Bernal. Nitrogen fixation in planetary environments: A comparison between mildly reducing and neutral atmospheres; R. Navarro-Gonzalez. Section 3: Biological bases for the Study of the Evolution of Life in the Universe. Darwinian dynamics and biogenesis; J.A. Leon. Evolution of adaptive systems; H.J. Dopazo. Contemporary controversies within the framework of the revolutionary theory; A. Massarini. Molecular Biology and the reconstruction of microbial phylogenies: des liaisons dangereuses? A. Becerra, et al. Section 4: Study of Life in the Solar System. Astrobiology and the ESA Science Programme; W. Wamsteker, A. Chicarro. The chemical composition of comets; H. Campins. Section 5: Origins of cognitive systems. Information, life and brains; J.G. Roederer. The origin of the neuron: The first neuron in the phylogenetic tree of life; R. Villegas, et al. Origin of Synapses: A Scientific account or the story of a hypothesis; E. Palacios-Pru. Origins of languages: The evolution of human speech; M.E. Medina-Callarotti. Section 6: Philosophical implications of the search for extraterrestrial life. Astrophysics and Meta-Technics; E.M. Vallenilla. Deeper Questions: The search for darwinian evolution in our solar system; J. Chela-Flores. Section 7: Round-table. Report on the round-table `Music of the spheres'; J.G. Roederer. Section 8: Contributions from participants. Ultimate paradoxes of time travel; G. Romero, D.F. Torres. Do wormholes exist? D. Torres, G. Romero. Heterogeneous radiolysis of succinic acid in the presence of sodium-montmorillonite. Implications to prebiotic chemistry; M.Colin-Garcia, et al. Condensed matter surfaces in prebiotic chemistry; S. Ramos-Bernal, A. Negron-Mendoza. Irradiation of adenine adsorbed in Na-Montmorillonite. Implications to chemical evolution studies; A. Guzman-Marmolejo, et al. Accumulation of alkanes >= n-C18 on the early Earth; V. Marcano, et al. Advantages of the alkanes >= n-C18 as protectors for the synthesis and survival of critical biomolecules in the early Earth; V. Marcano, et al. Evidence of a nitrogen deficiency as a selective pressure towards the origin of biological nitrogen fixation in the early Earth; L. Calva-Alejo, et al. RNA-binding peptides as early molecular fossils; L.J. Delaye, A. Lazcano. On the role of genome duplications in the evolution of prokaryotic chromosomes; S. Islas, et al. Experimental simulation of volcanic lightning on early Mars; A. Segura, R. Navarro-Gonzalez. Tropical Alpine environments: A plausible analog for ancient and future life on Mars; I. Perez-Chavez, et al. Planetary habitable zones on Earth and Mars: Biophysical limits of life in planetry environments; A. Mendez. Quantitative study of the effects of various energy sourves on a Titan's simulated atmosphere; S.I. Ramirez, R. Navarro-Gonzalez. Life extinctions and gravitational collapse of ONeMg electron-degenerate objects; J. Guitierrez. Name Index. Subject Index. Participants.