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Updated and with a new preface, paleontologist Ward and astronomer Brownlee team up to present a synthesis of what is now known about the development of life on Earth and how this sheds light on possibilities for organic life forms elsewhere in the Universe.
Preface & Acknowledgments.- Introduction: The Astrobiology Revolution and the Rare Earth Hypothesis; Dead Zones of the Universe; Rare Earth Factors.- Why Life Might Be Widespread in the Universe.- Habitable Zones of the Universe.- Building a Habitable Earth.- Life's First Appearance on Earth.- How to Build Animals.- Snowball Earth.- The Enigma of the Cambrian Explosion.- Mass Extinctions and the Rare Earth Hypothesis.- The Surprising Importance of Plate Tectonics.- The Moon, Jupiter, and Life on Earth.- Testing the Rare Earth Hypothesis.- Assessing the Odds.- Messengers from the Stars.- References.- Index.
...likely to cause a revolution in thinking... The New York Times "...[the book] has hit the world of astrobiologists like a killer asteroid..." Newsday (New York) "...a sobering and valuable perspective..." Science "...a startling new hypothesis..." Library Journal "...Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee offer a powerful argument..." The Economist "...provocative, significant, and sweeping..." Northwest Science & Technology "...a stellar example of clear writing..." American Scientist