Copernicus Books, USA, 2009. – 271 p. – ISBN: 0387952896What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? Questions such as these are investigated in this groundbreaking book. In doing so, the authors synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the universe. Everyone who has been thrilled by the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and the indications of life on Mars and the Jovian moon Europa will be fascinated by Rare Earth, and its implications for those who look to the heavens for companionship. Contents 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 Hypotheses Assessing the Odds Messengers from the Stars
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