Cosmic Biology: How Life Could Evolve on Other Worlds
ISBN: 1441916466
EAN13: 9781441916464
Language: English
Publication Date: Jan 3, 2011
Pages: 338
Dimensions: 0.85" H x 9.5" L x 6.62" W
Weight: 1.56 lbs.
Format: Paperback
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Cosmic Biology: How Life Could Evolve on Other Worlds

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Book Overview

Life may unfold in various forms throughout the universe, constrained by universal physical laws and consistent principles of organic evolution, but propelled to great variety in detail by local conditions and the specifics of planetary history. What is known of the chemical and physical conditions of any planetary environment and its history enables us to make educated and plausible speculations about the nature and history of life on that world.

Within our Solar System, there is an enormous diversity of planetary environments. On Earth, life evolved on a geologically complex, water-rich world, which today has an oxidizing atmosphere, although this was not always the case. On Mars, the surface is bitterly cold and dry, and the atmosphere very thin. Whether or not life ever existed on the Red Planet is a matter for speculation, but we do know that early in its history, Mars was a warmer, wetter world. Today Venus is a planet with an incredibly hot surface and a dense choking atmosphere, and it seems unlikely, although not impossible, that life could ever evolve here. On the gas giant planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn, it is possible that life might exist in the dense atmospheres of these cloud covered worlds, and might even have evolved on some of their exotic moons such as the sulphur-rich, volcanic world Io, Icy Europa with its possible sub-surface ocean, or Read More chevron_right

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