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Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

  • Reference work
  • © 2023
  • Latest edition


  • Features many new and updated entries, informing readers on key work in astrobiology
  • Presents new results in key fields, e.g., astrochemistry, exoplanetary systems, & more
  • Clarifies technical terms from astronomy, biology, chemistry, geosciences & space sciences

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About this book

Now in its third edition the Encyclopedia of Astrobiology serves as the key to a common understanding in the extremely interdisciplinary community of astrobiologists. Each new or experienced researcher and graduate student in adjacent fields of astrobiology will appreciate this reference work in the quest to understand the big picture. The carefully selected group of active researchers contributing to this work are aiming to give a comprehensive international perspective on and to accelerate the interdisciplinary advance of astrobiology.

The interdisciplinary field of astrobiology constitutes a joint arena where provocative discoveries are coalescing concerning, e.g. the prevalence of exoplanets, the diversity and hardiness of life, and its chances for emergence. Biologists, astrophysicists, (bio)-chemists, geoscientists and space scientists share this exciting mission of revealing the origin and commonality of life in the Universe. With its overview articles and its definitions the Encyclopedia of Astrobiology not only provides a common language and understanding for the members of the different disciplines but also serves for educating a new generation of young astrobiologists who are no longer separated by the jargon of individual scientific disciplines.

This new edition offers ~170 new entries. More than half of the existing entries were updated, expanded or supplemented with figures supporting the understanding of the text. Especially in the fields of astrochemistry and terrestrial extremophiles but also in exoplanets and space sciences in general there is a huge body of new results that have been taken into account in this new edition.

Because the entries in the Encyclopedia are in alphabetical order without regard for scientific field, this edition includes a section “Astrobiology by Discipline” which lists the entries by scientific field and subfield. This should be particularly helpful to those enquiring about astrobiology, as it illustrates the broad and detailed nature of the field.


Table of contents (3427 entries)

  1. Astrobiology by Discipline

  2. A

Editors and Affiliations

  • Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, University of Bordeaux, Pessac, France

    Muriel Gargaud

  • Department of Astronomy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

    William M. Irvine

  • Centro Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain

    Ricardo Amils

  • Analytical, Environmental, Geo-Chemistry, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium

    Philippe Claeys

  • Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan

    Henderson James Cleaves

  • Radio Astronomy, Paris Observatory, Paris, France

    Maryvonne Gerin

  • LESIA, Observatoire de Paris-Site de Meudon, Meudon, France

    Daniel Rouan

  • International Space Science Institute, Bern, Switzerland

    Tilman Spohn

  • Faculté des Sciences et des Techniques de Nantes, Centre François Viète d’Histoire des Sciences et de Techniques EA 1161, Nantes, France

    Stéphane Tirard

  • Innovaxiom, Paris, France

    Michel Viso

About the editors


Muriel Gargaud, is the Vice-President of the European Astrobiology Institute and Chair of the International Astronomical Union Working Group on «Education and Training in Astrobiology». And she was the chair of the COST action "Origins of Life on Earth and in the Universe". She is an enthusiastic and experienced editor who has proven in various projects that she can manage a large number of editors and authors and deliver an excellent publication.

William Irvine was President of the Commission on Bioastronomy of the International Astronomical Union and Chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences. His research activity is concentrated in two areas: the chemistry of dense interstellar clouds; and the physics and chemistry of comets. He collaborated with various NASA astrobiology working groups and is author of more than 200 scientific articles.


Ricardo Amils

Philippe Claeys

Henderson James (Jim) Cleaves II

Maryvonne Gerin

Daniel Rouan

Tilman Spohn

Stephane Tirard

Michel Viso

Bibliographic Information

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