New Frontiers in Astrobiology

New Frontiers in Astrobiology

1st Edition - June 18, 2022

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  • Editors: Rebecca Thombre, Parag Vaishampayan
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128241622
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323859271

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Description

New Frontiers in Astrobiology presents a simple and concise overview of the emerging field of astrobiology. Astrobiology studies the evolution, origin, and future of life on Earth and beyond. This book provides a brief overview of the current research and future status of this fascinating field. The book covers a wide range of topics from the history of astrobiology, the big bang, prebiotic chemistry, theories of the origin of life, extreme environments on Earth, and the quest for intelligent life in space. Currently, there is a critical gap in knowledge related to the future scope of astrobiology and its applications in science and society. The hallmark of the book is that it takes critical perspectives to analyze the new frontiers in astrobiology post Mars 2020/ExoMars missions that encompass the latestdevelopments in the detection of biosignatures and habitability beyond our Solar System (exomoons, exoplanets). The book will be a valuable resource for students, researchers, and scientists who seek greater insights into understanding the current status and future of astrobiology.  

Key Features

  • Explores the background and historical developments in astrobiology
  • Provides concise cutting-edge reviews on fundamental questions on origin and distribution of life on Earth, habitability beyond Earth, and future of life on Earth
  • Integrates contemporary and critical views in new frontiers in astrobiology

Readership

Researchers, scientists, and graduate students in the fields of astrobiology. Astrophysicists, astrochemists, astronomers, geologists, engineers

Table of Contents

  • Cover image
  • Title page
  • Table of Contents
  • Copyright
  • Contributors
  • Chapter 1: Standards of evidence in the search for extraterrestrial life
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: Astrobiology is not only about life beyond Earth
  • 3: Standards of evidence required in searching for life beyond Earth
  • 4: Astrobiologists are not “hunting” for alien life
  • 5: Hypotheses about extraterrestrial life are not a betting game
  • 6: Good scientific hypotheses are falsifiable, but not all falsifiable hypotheses are good
  • 7: Conclusion
  • Postscript
  • References
  • Chapter 2: Prebiotic chemistry: From dust to molecules and beyond
  • Abstract
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: The origins of key biomolecules
  • 3: Chirality
  • 4: Beyond molecules: How functions relevant to life may emerge
  • 5: Conclusions and future trends
  • References
  • Chapter 3: Astrochemistry: Ingredients of life in space
  • Abstract
  • 1: Setting the stage
  • 2: Elemental ingredients
  • 3: Interstellar molecules
  • 4: Prebiotic ingredients
  • 5: Future trends in astrochemistry
  • References
  • Chapter 4: Water and organics in meteorites
  • Abstract
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: Water in meteorites
  • 3: Liquid water inclusions
  • 4: Aqueous alteration on asteroid parent bodies
  • 5: Organic matter in meteorites
  • 6: Delivery of meteorites
  • 7: Terrestrial modification of meteorites
  • 8: Terrestrial vs extraterrestrial origin
  • 9: Challenges in meteoritic analyses and how that can be overcome by modern technology
  • 10: Sample return space missions
  • 11: Conclusions
  • References
  • Further reading
  • Chapter 5: From building blocks to cells
  • Abstract
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: Coming together: From building blocks to protocells
  • 3: The path to LUCA: From protocells to cells
  • 4: Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter 6: Microbial life in space
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: Space and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) environment
  • 3: Microbial Experiments conducted in LEO
  • 4: Microbial life in stratosphere
  • 5: Effects of microgravity on microorganisms in space
  • 6: Microbial diversity in the International Space Station (ISS)
  • 7: Applications of microorganisms in space
  • 8: Conclusion
  • References
  • Further reading
  • Chapter 7: Habitability in the Solar System beyond the Earth and the search for life
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1: Habitability
  • 2: Habitability of target locations for life detection missions
  • 3: Other candidates for habitable worlds
  • 4: Searching habitable worlds for a second genesis of life
  • 5: Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter 8: Habitable exoplanets
  • Abstract
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: Measuring planetary habitability
  • 3: Potentially habitable exoplanets
  • 4: Searching for habitable worlds
  • 5: A catalog of potentially habitable exoplanets
  • 6: The nearest potentially habitable exoplanet
  • 7: Searching for intelligence life
  • References
  • Chapter 9: Applications of omics in life detection beyond Earth
  • Abstract
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: Nucleic acids sequencing
  • 3: Proteomics
  • 4: Metabolomics and lipidomics
  • 5: Omics techniques and future missions
  • 6: Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter 10: Life detection in space: Current methods and future technologies
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgment
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: Biosignatures for life detection
  • 3: Where to look for life in the solar system?
  • 4: Mars missions in search of life and biosignatures
  • 5: Signatures of life and how to detect them
  • 6: Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 11: Future of life in the Solar System and beyond
  • Abstract
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: Futures studies and space exploration
  • 3: A brief history of human spaceflight
  • 4: Permanent space settlements
  • 5: Terraforming
  • 6: World ships and interstellar travel
  • 7: Conclusion
  • References
  • Chapter 12: Planetary protection: Scope and future challenges
  • Abstract
  • 1: Planetary protection in practice
  • 2: Leveraging science to enable missions
  • 3: Planetary protection future challenges
  • References
  • Chapter 13: Universal constraints to life derived from artificial agents and games
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgment
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: Application of evolutionary game theory
  • 3: Models and simulation methods
  • 4: Simulation experiments
  • 5: Application to astrobiology
  • 6: Conclusions
  • References
  • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 342
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2022
  • Published: June 18, 2022
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128241622
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323859271

About the Editors

Rebecca Thombre

Dr. Rebecca Thombre has worked as Research Scientist at Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, Washington, USA, Visiting Researcher at University of Kent, UK and an Assistant Professor in Biotechnology at Modern College, Pune, India. She has an experience of more than 18 years in Microbiology, Space microbiology and Molecular Biology. She has an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Microbiology from University of Mumbai. Her doctoral research focused on studying the extremozyme CGTase from alkaliphiles isolated from Lonar lake, a meteorite impact crater. Her postdoctoral research was on Astrobiology studies related to the physiology and response of extremophiles to space-related stress and simulated Mars conditions like perchlorate, salinity, hypergravity, microgravity and impact stress. She received the European Union - Europlanet Transnational Access (TA) travel award for studying extremophiles from salt lagoons in Spain. She was the Principal Scientific Investigator for projects on Astrobiology funded by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) - SPPU Space Technology cell. She has published more than 50 papers, 12 book chapters, 3 books and worked as an Editor and Reviewer for many journals published by Frontiers, Springer, Taylor and Francis CRC Press and Elsevier.

Affiliations and Expertise

Healthcare Scientist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), United Kingdom.

Parag Vaishampayan

Parag Vaishampayan is the Space Biology Portfolio Scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. He provides overall scientific leadership and direction to maintain the scientific integrity of projects within the ARC Space Biology Portfolio. He supports more than 70 active space biology projects to better understand how spaceflight affects living systems in simulated groundbased experiments, the International Space Station (ISS), and preparing future human exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit (BLO). Before joining Ames, he worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) since 2008. He has successfully managed several multi-year, multi-institutional research projects. He has supported planetary protection implementation for several NASA missions, including Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity rover), InSight, Mars2020 (Perseverance rover), Mars Cube One or MarCO, and Psyche. His research work has appeared in more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and more than 50 presentations. He was instrumental in developing and implementing several novel molecular approaches, instruments, and bioinformatics analysis tools widely used by microbial ecologists. He is a leading microbial ecologist and bioinformatician working in the field of space biology, astrobiology, and planetary protection. He is the recipient of several prestigious honors and awards, such as the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal (2017), JPL Explorer Award (2016), Voyager Award (2015, 2016), and Mariner Award (2012).

Affiliations and Expertise

Space Biology Portfolio Scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, USA.

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