Astrobiology: Exploring the Origins, Evolution, and Distribution of Life in the Universe

D.J. Des Marais, M.R. Walter, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics

This 26-page review article introduces the field of astrobiology and addresses novel differences between astrobiology and previous efforts in exobiology. Topics include: recent discoveries create a mandate; key components of the discipline; life in the universe, the basic issues (featuring the Drake equation); research and exploration (involving formation and distribution of habitable planets); the origins of Life; evolution on molecular, organism, ecosystem, and biosphere levels; recognizing signatures of Life beyond Earth (introducing biomarkers); other biospheres in our solar system; biospheres in other solar systems; and the whole exceeds the sum of its parts.

Subject: Biology:Evolution, Astrobiology, Microbiology
Resource Type: Scientific Resources:Overview/Reference Work
Grade Level: Graduate/Professional, College Lower (13-14), College Upper (15-16)
Topics: Biosphere:Astrobiology, Evolution, MicrobiologyKeywords: microorganisms, Precambrian, biospheres, solar system, planets, origin of life