Fire and Water

  • Louis Neal Irwin
  • Dirk Schulze-Makuch
Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


Suppose there were two intelligent beings - let’s call them scientists - sitting on a planet orbiting Epsilon Eridani, a star just over 10 light years from Earth. They are writing a book about how life could evolve on other worlds. Their technology is a little more advanced than ours, but not by much. For example, they’ve developed powerful remote detection technologies that can gather a good bit of information on solar systems up to 12 light years away (while we can barely detect large planets in such a system, and only indirectly at that). Like us, though, they haven’t yet achieved the capacity for exploration by robotic probes of a world that distance from their home planet, so they don’t have any close-up high-resolution images of the worlds that far away.


Trophic Level Primary Consumer Secondary Consumer Biogenic Origin Equatorial Latitude 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Schopf, J. W. 1999. Cradle of Life: The Discovery of Earth's Earliest Fossils. Princeton NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lineweaver, C. H. and Davis, T. M. 2002. Does the rapid appearance of life on Earth suggest that life is common in the universe? Astrobiology 2: 293-304.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Nisbet, E. G. and Sleep, N. H. 2001. The habitat and nature of early life. Nature 409: 1083-1091.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Whitman, W. B., Coleman, D. C. and Wiebe, W. J. 1998. Prokaryotes: The unseen majority. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sei. U.S.A. 95: 6578-6583.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cowen, R. 1995. History of Life. Boston: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    White, T. D., Asfaw, B., Beyene, Y., et al. 2009. Ardipithecus ramidus and the paleobiology of early hominids. Science 326: 75-86.ADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louis Neal Irwin
    • 1
  • Dirk Schulze-Makuch
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA
  2. 2.Washington State UniversityPullmanUSA

Personalised recommendations