Origins and Evolution of Life: An Astrobiological Perspective

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Muriel Gargaud, Purificación López-Garcìa, Hervé Martin
Cambridge University Press, Jan 6, 2011 - Science
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Devoted to exploring questions about the origin and evolution of life in our Universe, this highly interdisciplinary book brings together a broad array of scientists. Thirty chapters assembled in eight major sections convey the knowledge accumulated and the richness of the debates generated by this challenging theme. The text explores the latest research on the conditions and processes that led to the emergence of life on Earth and, by extension, perhaps on other planetary bodies. Diverse sources of knowledge are integrated, from astronomical and geophysical data, to the role of water, the origin of minimal life properties and the oldest traces of biological activity on our planet. This text will not only appeal to graduate students but to the large body of scientists interested in the challenges presented by the origin of life, its evolution, and its possible existence beyond Earth.

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Part II Astronomical and geophysical context of the emergence of life
Part III The role of water in the emergence of life
Part IV From nonliving systems to life
Part V Mechanisms for life evolution
Part VI Life in extreme conditions
Part VII Traces of life and biosignatures
Part VIII Life elsewhere?

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About the author (2011)

Muriel Gargaud is a research scientist at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux, CNRS-Université Bordeaux 1, and is vice-president of the Société Française d'Exobiologie, which is associated with the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

Purificación López-García is a research director at the CNRS, Université Paris-Sud, and leads a research team exploring microbial diversity and evolution in different ecosystems, including extreme environments.

Hervé Martin is Professor at the Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans at the Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand. He has been in charge of several international research programs on the geochemistry and geodynamic processes on early Earth.

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