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Life Beyond Earth
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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. What is life and where can it exist?; 3. Terrestrial planets and their diverging evolutions; 4. Searching for habitable sites in the outer Solar System; 5. A revolution in astronomy: the exploration of extrasolar planets; 6. Extraterrestrial inhabited sites in the future; Further reading; References; Index.

About the Author

Athena Coustenis is Director of Research at the French National Research Center (CNRS) and an astrophysicist at the Laboratoire d'Etudes Spatiales et d'Instrumentation en Astrophysique (LESIA) of Paris Observatory. She is Co-Investigator of three of the instruments (CIRS, HASI, DISR) aboard the Cassini/Huygens mission. Her expertise in space missions has allowed her to Chair and to contribute in several advisory groups within ESA and NASA. Dr Coustenis is currently President of the EGU Planetary Sciences Division and President of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, as well as Secretary of the Executive committee of the Division for Planetary Sciences. She is a member of several editorial boards and has been awarded several NASA and ESA achievement awards. She is also winner of the American Astonomical Society's 2014 Harold Masursky Award for outstanding service to planetary science and exploration. Th r se Encrenaz is Senior Director of Research at CNRS and an astrophysicist at LESIA, Paris Observatory. She has been involved in many planetary space missions and has been a Mission Scientist of the European ISO (Infrared Space Observatory) mission. She has chaired the Science Advisory Committee of CNES for the exploration of the Universe. She is currently a member of the E-ELT Project Science Team and is also serving as Vice-President of the Scientific Council of the Region Ile de France. Dr Encrenaz is the author of more than 250 refereed articles, a few lecture books and a dozen of popular books. She has received several awards including the Silver Medal of CNRS and the David Bates Medal of the European Geophysical Union.

Reviews

'A thorough tour of the possible abodes of life elsewhere in the cosmos, Life Beyond Earth unifies the study of planets in a way that should be more common but is still rare. Coustenis and Encrenaz provide a clear and engaging exposition of planetary habitability, giving an authoritative picture of the wealth of information that we have on planets and the engaging mysteries that remain unsolved.' Jonathan I. Lunine, Director, Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, Cornell University, and author of Earth: Evolution of a Habitable Planet 'A lot is happening in planetary science just now, with in-depth exploration of our solar system underway, and announcements of the discovery and characterisation of new worlds around other stars happening nearly every week. This new book, by two of the world's top planetary astronomers, describes the state-of-play in accessible but authoritative terms, with an exciting focus on the habitability of remote environments and the prospects for finding life beyond Earth.' Fred Taylor, Emeritus Halley Professor of Physics, University of Oxford 'A delightful introduction to the wonderful world of astrobiology and the ongoing search for extraterrestrial life! Along with their recognised expertise in planetary science and astrophysics, the authors also exhibit a thorough understanding of the nature of life and of the techniques that are being used to try to detect it. This search will keep us busy for the next few generations.' James Kasting, Pennsylvania State University 'There's no scientific question more interesting than whether the life that carpets Earth is some sort of miracle, or merely an unremarkable example of a common, cosmic phenomenon. This book engagingly describes many fascinating missions and discoveries, explaining why today's researchers think there's something alive out there, and how they hope to find it.' Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute, USA '... [a] packed primer.' Nature 'It's hard to think of a better primer for anyone with an interest in the prospects for life in the universe.' BBC Sky at Night 'Thorough and entertaining ...' New Scientist 'Both eminent researchers in the fields of astrophysics and planetary science (the authors) here train their considerable and passion on the quest for extraterrestrial life.' The Times Higher Education Supplement 'Excellent and eye-opening ...' Fortean Times 'The question of life provides a compelling framework for the discussion. It's also of course one we often get from students and visitors. Can it exist elsewhere in the cosmos? What does contemporary astronomy research say? Encrenaz and Coustenis provide a rigorous though accessible introduction to the biochemical nature of terrestrial life and use this as a lens to examine the rest of the universe. ... the authors do a great job of explaining why these results will be so compelling for these overarching questions.' Stephen Case, Planetarian

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