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Donald Brownlee, Peter D. Ward
Rare Earth
Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe

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The sweeping diversity of complex life on Earth, Ward and Brownlee argue, evolved out of an extraordinary set of physical conditions and chance events that would be extremely hard to duplicate - though not impossible. Many planets throughout the vastness of the Universe may be teeming with microbial life, but advancement beyond this stage is very rare.

Everyone with an interest in the possible extent of life in the Universe and the nature of life's evolution on our own planet will be fascinated by RARE EARTH.

  • Preface & Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: The Astrobiology Revolution and the Rare Earth Hypothesis/Dead Zones of the Universe/Rare Earth Factors
  • Ch01: Why Life Might Be Widespread in the Universe
  • Ch02: Habitable Zones of the Universe
  • Ch03: Building a Habitable Earth
  • Ch04: Life's First Appearance on Earth
  • Ch05: How to Build Animals
  • Ch06: Snowball Earth
  • Ch07: The Enigma of the Cambrian Explosion
  • Ch08: Mass Extinctions and the Rare Earth Hypothesis
  • Ch09: The Surprising Importance of Plate Tectonics
  • Ch10: The Moon, Jupiter, and Life on Earth
  • Ch11: Testing the Rare Earth Hypothesis
  • Ch12: Assessing the Odds
  • Ch13: Messengers from the Stars
  • References
  • Index

Lay readers, earth scientists, astronomers

Der Autor
Donald Brownlee is a professor of astronomy at the University of Washington and also a member of the Astrobiology program. He specializes in the study of extraterrestrial samples, comets and the early solar system. He is the principal investigator of the NASA Stardust mission that will collect comet samples and return them to Earth.

Der Autor
Peter Ward is a professor of geology at the University of Washington and a member of the Astrobiology program. He is a paleontologist by trade, he has does extensive studies on ammonites and global mass extinctions.


"...likely to cause a revolution in thinking..."
(The New York Times)

"...[the book] has hit the world of astrobiologists like a killer asteroid..."
(Newsday (New York))

"...a sobering and valuable perspective..."

"...a startling new hypothesis..."
(Library Journal)

"...Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee offer a powerful argument..."
(The Economist)

"...provocative, significant, and sweeping..."
(Northwest Science & Technology)

"...a stellar example of clear writing..."
(American Scientist)

Springer Berlin, 2004
16,00 Euro
Taschenbuch, w. 26 figs.
ISBN: 978-0-387-95289-5

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