How did the Sun come into existence? How was the Earth formed? How long has Earth been the way it is now, with its combination of oceans and continents? How do you define "life"? How did the first life forms emerge? What conditions made it possible for living things to evolve? All these questions are answered in this colourful textbook addressing undergraduate students in "Origins of Life" courses and the scientifically interested public.
The authors take the reader on an amazing voyage through time, beginning five thousand million years ago in a cloud of interstellar dust and ending five hundred million years ago, when the living world that we see today was finally formed. A chapter on exoplanets provides an overview of the search for planets outside the solar system, especially for habitable ones. The appendix closes the book with a glossary, a bibliography of further readings and a summary of the Origins of the Earth and life in 7 boxes.
- Formation of the Sun and the planets
- Formation and Early Childhood of the Earth
- Water, Continents and Organic Matter
- Intermezzo: Gestation of Life and its First Steps
- Late Bombardment
- Messages from the Most Ancient Terrestrial Rocks
- Diversification of Life on Planet Earth
- Exoplanets and habitability of planets
- Classification of Rocks
Muriel Gargaud is an astrophysicist at the University of Bordeaux and at the CNRS. She is an experience editor and author in the field of astrobiology. Purificacion Lopez-Garcia is a biologist and research director at the CNRS. Herve Martin is a geologist and teaches at the University of Clermond-Ferrand. Thierry Montmerle is professor at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris. Robert Pascal is a chemist at the CNRS and at the University of Montpellier.