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Looking for Life, Searching the Solar System

By: Paul Clancy, Andre Brack and Gerda Horneck

384 pages, 76 b/w & 26 col illus

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Dec 2009 | #186796 | ISBN-13: 9780521124546
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £30.99 $40/€35 approx

About this book

How did life begin on Earth? Is it confined to our planet? Will humans one day be able to travel long distances in space in search of other life forms? Written by three experts in the space arena, this book aims to answer these and other intriguing questions. It describes the latest ideas about the chemical basis of life and how they are influencing strategies to search for life elsewhere. It considers the ability of life, from microbes to humans, to survive in space, on the surface of other planets, and be transported from one planet to another.

Review of the hardback: 'The authors of Looking for Life, Searching the Solar System have pooled their expertise to produce an accurate, up-to-date and highly readable survey of the field.' New Scientist Review of the hardback: '... serious students will find it very useful indeed.' Sky at Night Review of the hardback: 'The information within - the whole sweet mystery of life in the solar system - is enough to make you want to go into orbit with them.' The Guardian Review of the hardback: '...a fascinating and thorough round-up of present research and future hopes for one of humankind's most fundamental quests.' Astronomy Now Review of the hardback: '... when I read the book, I was very pleased to find that it tackled the subject from a different angle, giving a new perspective on the material, and hence is a valuable addition to the astrobiology canon ... the book is an informative and well-written account of astrobiology from the perspective of a contribution from human exploration of the Solar System.' The Observatory Review of the hardback: '... on the essentials of space exploration, Looking for Life couldn't be better ... Perhaps most interesting for those of us sitting on a decaying planet Earth and wondering how humanity might ever escape from it, is the section on "The cosmic biological imperative'. Its chapters outline the sort of spacecraft we might need to embark on our exploration, how many crew, their physical and psychological needs.' Cosmos Review of the hardback: '...the book is an informative and well written account of astrobiology from the the perspective of a contribution from human exploration of the solar system.' The Observatory


Preface; Part I. The Imperative of Exploration: 1. Exploration as a metaphor; Part II. How Can We Know Life?: 2. The molecular basis of life on Earth; 3. The limits to life; 4. The transfer of life between planets; 5. What are the signatures of life?; 6. After the discovery/life as a cosmic phenomenon; Part III. The Search for Life Beyond Earth: 7. The prospects for long-duration human space-flight; 8. Human exploration and the search for life; 9. Interplanetary ethics; Part IV. The Cosmic Biological Imperative: 10. The key technologies for human planetary exploration; 11. Exploration in space; 12. Exploration in time; 13. Prediction, imagination and the role of technology; Part IV. Our Cosmic Destiny: 14. Our cosmic destiny; Appendices; Index.

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Paul Clancy is a senior strategic planning manager in the Human Spaceflight Directorate of the European Space Agency, in Paris. Andre Brack is Director of Research Emeritus at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire, Orleans. Gerda Horneck is Head of the Radiation Biology Section, and Deputy Director of the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, at the German Aeospace Center.

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