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A journey through the universe in search of water, demonstrating clearly why it has been an essential factor in the emergence and continuation of life on earth. Therese Encrenaz describes in simple terms the properties of water and how we detect its presence throughout the universe. Visiting a range of locations in the cosmos, she explains how the water molecule played a major part in the solar system's formation. Spanning a variety of scientific disciplines, from observational astronomy to astrobiology, this book for practical astronomers and science enthusiasts concludes by looking at water's key role in studies of habitable exoplanets.
Introduction: Why Water?- A Very Simple Molecule.- The Quest for Cosmic Water.- The Ice Frontier and the Birth of the Planets.- Comets and Water.- Water in the Outer Solar System.- At the Ice Frontier: the Asteroids.- Water and the Terrestrial Planets.- The Search for Other Earths.- Glossary.- Bibliography.- Index.
From the reviews: "Professor Encrenaz, from the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, is a very well-known Solar System research astronomer and the author of many excellent books on Solar System topics. This, her latest book, is first class, well written, beautifully illustrated, and accurately aimed at a young university/advanced amateur-astronomy readership. ! I highly recommend this thorough introduction to a vital component of the Universe and life." (David W. Hughes, The Observatory, Vol. 127 (1199), 2007) "This visually beautiful book features photographs, diagrams, and explanations in colored boxes that cover past and future measurements of amounts of water from Earth observatories, orbiting satellites, and robot spacecraft. The artistic charm contributes hugely to clarify even the most difficult concepts as Encrenaz (Paris Observatory) describes the chemistry of this three-atom molecule and carries the reader off Earth and into the solar system and beyond on her search for water. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels." (P. R. Douville, Choice, Vol. 45 (1), 2007) "The author takes us on a journey through the various locations from the nearest to the furthest planets where water has been observed. ! This book belongs to the Popular Astronomy series and is therefore easy readable by a large public. It is well illustrated ! and contains many text frames elucidating the encountered concepts of interest. ! this basic comprehensible work is strongly recommended to all those who shows at least some interest in the ongoing search of water (and life) in the universe." (Robert Vandenberghe, Physicalia Magazine, Vol. 29 (4), 2007)