Habitability of the Universe before Earth

Habitability of the Universe before Earth

Astrobiology: Exploring Life on Earth and Beyond (series)

1st Edition - December 1, 2017

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  • Editors: Richard Gordon, Alexei Sharov
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128119402
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128119419

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Habitability of the Universe before Earth: Astrobiology: Exploring Life on Earth and Beyond (series) examines the times and places—before life existed on Earth—that might have provided suitable environments for life to occur, addressing the question: Is life on Earth de novo, or derived from previous life? The universe changed considerably during the vast epoch between the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago and the first evidence of life on Earth 4.3 billion years ago, providing significant time and space to contemplate where, when and under what circumstances life might have arisen. No other book covers this cosmic time period from the point of view of its potential for life. The series covers a broad range of topics encompassing laboratory and field research into the origins and evolution of life on Earth, life in extreme environments and the search for habitable environments in our solar system and beyond, including exoplanets, exomoons and astronomical biosignatures.

Key Features

  • Provides multiple hypotheses on the origin of life and distribution of living organisms in space
  • Explores the diversity of physical environments that may support the origin and evolution of life
  • Integrates contemporary views in biology and cosmology, and provides reasons that life is far more mobile in space than most people expect
  • Includes access to a companion web site featuring supplementary information such as animated computer simulations


Researchers in many branches of both Life Sciences and Space and Planetary Sciences, including astrobiologists, biologists, evolutionary scientists, geophysicists, astronomers, geochemists, oceanographers, etc. People interested in methods of development of physical-geological models of the Earth crust, searching economic deposits and water reserves, studying environmental phenomena and archaeological target localization

Table of Contents

  • Preface: Life as a Cosmic Phenomenon
      Richard Gordon and Alexei A. Sharov

    Part I: Physical and Chemical Constraints
    1. Gravity and life
      Fernando J. Ballesteros and Bartolo Luque
    2. Radiation as a constraint for life in the universe
      Ximena C Abrevaya and Brian C. Thomas
    3. The when and where of water in the history of the universe
      Karla de Souza Torres and Othon Cabo Winter
    4. The cosmic evolution of biochemistry
      Aditya Chopra and Charles H. Lineweaver
    5. Astrophysical and cosmological constraints on life
      Paul A. Mason and Peter L. Biermann
    6. Primitive carbon: Before Earth and much before any life on it
      Chaitanya Giri

    Part II: Predicting Habitability
    7. The habitability of our evolving galaxy
      Michael Gowanlock and Ian Morrison
    8. N-body simulations and galactic habitability
      Branislav Vukotić
    9. Occupied and empty regions of the space of extremophile parameters
      Jeffrey Robinson and Jill A. Mikucki
    10. The emergence of structured, living and conscious matter in the evolution of the universe: A theory of structural evolution and interaction of matter
      Dorian Aur and Jack A. Tuszynski

    Part III: Life in the Cosmic Scale
    11. Life before Earth
      Alexei A. Sharov and Richard Gordon
    12. Earth before life
      Marzban C, Viswanathan R and Yurtsever U
    13. The time-dependent Drake equation
      Jacob Haqq-Misra Haqq-Misra and Ravikumar Kopparapu
    14. Are we the first? 10 billion years of evolution before Earth
      Pauli Erik Laine and Sohan Jheeta
    15. Life before its origin on Earth: Implications of a late emergence of terrestrial life
      Julian Chela-Flores

    Part IV: System Properties of Life
    16. Symbiosis: Why was the transition from microbial prokaryotes to eukaryotic organisms a cosmic gigayear event?
      George Eugene Mikhailovsky and Richard Gordon
    17. Coenzyme world model of the origin of life
      Alexei A. Sharov
    18. Emergence of polygonal shapes in oil droplets and living cells: The potential role of tensegrity in the origin of life
      Richard Gordon, Martin Hanczyc, Nikolai Denkov, Mary Ann Tiffany and Stoyan Smoukov
    19. Why on theoretical grounds it may be likely that ‘life’ exists throughout the universe
      Gerard A.J.M. Jagers op Akkerhuis

Product details

  • No. of pages: 576
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2017
  • Published: December 1, 2017
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128119402
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128119419

About the Series Volume Editors

Richard Gordon

Richard Gordon is a Theoretical Biologist at the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory (Panacea, FL), as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI). Dr. Gordon was Professor at the University of Manitoba until his retirement in 2011. He holds an undergraduate degree in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and a PhD in Chemical Physics from the University of Oregon under Terrell Hill. He has edited 16 academic books and special issues plus two monographs. He was summoned twice to the Canadian Parliament to testify as an expert scientific witness on the grant system. Dr. Gordon has published over 200 peer reviewed articles in mathematics, engineering, physics and chemistry. He wrote the first paper on diatom nanotechnology, founding that field. He started the field of adaptive image processing and published on algal biofuels, computed tomography, AIDS prevention, neural tube defects, embryo physics, and research and social ethics. His interest in astrobiology dates back to work on the Orgueil meteorite as an undergraduate in Edward Anders' lab at the University of Chicago. The full list of publications by Richard Gordon is available at http://tinyurl.com/DickGordon. He may be reached at DickGordonCan@gmail.com. Dr. Richard Gordon Retired from the University of Manitoba Theoretical Biologist. Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Adjunct Professor, C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth & Development Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Wayne State University

Affiliations and Expertise

Embryogenesis Center, Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory, Panacea, FL, USA

Alexei Sharov

Alexei Sharov started his career as an entomologist and ecologist, but soon realized that he had to answer more fundamental questions: what is life, how it evolves, learns, and functions. Thus he got involved in the Research Group on Theoretical Biology at Moscow State University, and started publishing theoretical papers. Later he organized a seminar and two conferences on Biosemiotics, which is a synthesis of biology and semiotics, a theory on signs and meanings. Since 2002, he has worked in molecular biology and bioinformatics, and this new field helped him to advance further in the area of theoretical biology and biosemiotics. He has published over 200 papers and edited a special issue.

Affiliations and Expertise

Staff Scientist, Laboratory of Genetics, National Institute on Aging

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