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Astronomy - Extraterrestrial Physics, Space Sciences | Geology and Habitability of Terrestrial Planets

Geology and Habitability of Terrestrial Planets

Fishbaugh, K.E., Lognonné, P., Raulin, F., Des Marais, D.J., Korablev, O. (Eds.)

Reprint from Space Science Reviews Volume 129 Issues 1-3, 2007

2007, V, 306 p.

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  • Presents the combined scientific expertise of researchers studying the conditions of life on other planets

Given the fundamental importance of and universal interest in whether extraterrestrial life has developed or could eventually develop in our solar system and beyond, it is vital that an examination of planetary habitability goes beyond simple assumptions such as, "Where there is water, there is life." This book has resulted from a workshop at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern, Switzerland (5-9 September 2005) that brought together planetary geologists, geophysicists, atmospheric scientists, and biologists to discuss the multi-faceted problem of how the habitability of a planet co-evolves with the geology of the surface and interior, the atmosphere, and the magnetosphere.

Each of the six chapters has been written by authors with a range of expertise so that each chapter is itself multi-disciplinary, comprehensive, and accessible to scientists in all disciplines. These chapters delve into what life needs to exist and ultimately to thrive, the early environments of the young terrestrial planets, the role of volatiles in habitability, currently habitable (but possibly not inhabited) geologic environments, the connection between a planet's inner workings and the habitability of its surface, and the effects on planetary atmospheres of solar evolution and the presence or absence of a magnetosphere.

This book serves as a useful reference for those who plan missions that will hunt for biomarkers (especially on Mars), for biologists and geoscientists who seek a broader view of the story, and for researchers and upper level students interested in an in-depth review of the geologic evolution of terrestrial planets, from their cores to their magnetospheres, and how that evolution shapes the habitability of the planetary surface.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Extraterrestrial life - Planet - Solar System - biomarkers - conditions for life - earth - evolution - habitable zones - life on other planets - magnetosphere - planetary geology - planetary habitability - solar - space science

Related subjects » Astrobiology - Extraterrestrial Physics, Space Sciences - Geophysics & Geodesy

Table of contents 

Introduction: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Habitability.- The Geology and Habitability of Terrestrial Planets: Fundamental Requirements for Life.- Emergence of a Habitable Planet.- Creating Habitable Zones, at all Scales, from Planets to Mud Micro-Habitats, on Earth and on Mars.- Conversations on the Habitability of Worlds: The Importance of Volatiles.- Water, Life, and Planetary Geodynamical Evolution.- to Chapter 6: Planetary/Sun Interactions.- A Comparative Study of the Influence of the Active Young Sun on the Early Atmospheres of Earth, Venus, and Mars.- Planetary Magnetic Fields and Solar Forcing: Implications for Atmospheric Evolution.- Planetary Magnetic Dynamo Effect on Atmospheric Protection of Early Earth and Mars.- Epilogue: The Origins of Life in the Solar System and Future Exploration.

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