Planetary and Interstellar Processes Relevant to the Origins of Life

  • D. C. B. Whittet

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-iii
  2. D. C. B. Whittet
    Pages 1-1
  3. Virginia Trimble
    Pages 3-21
  4. A. G. G. M. Tielens, S. B. Charnley
    Pages 23-51
  5. Yvonne J. Pendleton
    Pages 53-78
  6. Lewis E. Snyder
    Pages 115-133
  7. B. A. Wilking
    Pages 135-155
  8. David W. Koerner
    Pages 157-184
  9. Michael J. Gaffey
    Pages 185-203
  10. Jonathan I. Lunine
    Pages 205-224
  11. David W. Clarke, James P. Ferris
    Pages 225-248
  12. Christopher P. Mckay
    Pages 263-289
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 309-316

About this book


These are exciting times for exobiology. The ubiquity of organic molecules in interstellar clouds, comets and asteroids strongly supports a cosmic perspective on the origin of life. Data from both ground-based telescopes and the recently launched Infrared Space Observatory are providing new insight into the complexity of carbon-based chemistry beyond the Earth. Meteorites give us solid evidence for extraterrestrial amino acids, and putative fossil evidence for life in a 3.6 billion-year-old Martian meteorite hints that life in our system might not be the sole prerogative of the Earth. Giant planets have now been discovered orbiting other stars, and although such planets seem unlikely to be habitable themselves, their existence strongly suggests what many astronomers have long believed - that planetary systems are commonplace.
All these topics are reviewed in this volume by active researchers. The level is appropriate for graduate students in astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, physics, and related disciplines. It will also provide a valuable source of reference for active researchers in these fields.


Cloud Orbit Planet Planetary system Solar System amino acids astronomy evolution extraterrestrial life geoscience solar the origin

Editors and affiliations

  • D. C. B. Whittet
    • 1
  1. 1.Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1997
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-481-4863-9
  • Online ISBN 978-94-015-8907-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site