Rare earth: why complex life is uncommon in the universe - download pdf or read online

By Peter Douglas Ward, Donald Brownlee

ISBN-10: 0387987010

ISBN-13: 9780387987019

The sweeping range of advanced lifestyles on the earth, Ward and Brownlee argue, developed out of a unprecedented set of actual stipulations and probability occasions that may be super demanding to duplicate––though no longer very unlikely. Many planets during the vastness of the Universe can be teeming with microbial lifestyles, yet development past this degree is especially infrequent. all people with an curiosity within the attainable volume of existence within the Universe and the character of life's evolution on our personal planet may be fascinated about infrequent Earth. "...likely to reason a revolution in thinking..." the hot York occasions "...[the ebook] has hit the realm of astrobiologists like a killer asteroid..." Newsday (New York) "...a sobering and useful perspective..." technology "...a startling new hypothesis..." Library magazine "...Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee supply a robust argument..." The Economist "...provocative, major, and sweeping..." Northwest technological know-how & know-how "...a stellar instance of transparent writing..." American Scientist

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Rare earth: why complex life is uncommon in the universe by Peter Douglas Ward, Donald Brownlee PDF

The sweeping range of advanced existence on the earth, Ward and Brownlee argue, advanced out of a rare set of actual stipulations and likelihood occasions that might be tremendous challenging to duplicate––though now not very unlikely. Many planets in the course of the vastness of the Universe can be teeming with microbial lifestyles, yet development past this degree is especially infrequent.

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The extremophiles need water, nutrients, and a source of energy. All would have been present on Mars. It may be that life does not exist on Mars today. Yet there may be a great deal that we can learn about ancient Mars in its fossil record—a fossil record perhaps populated by Martian analogs to Earth’s extremophiles. Andrew Knoll of Harvard University has pointed out that for very old rocks, the fossil record may be fuller on Mars than it is on Earth, because there has been little erosion or tectonic activity on Mars to erase the billions of years of fossil records.

They produced methane as a by-product of their synthesis, so they acquired the name methanogens. These archaea are thus autotrophs, organisms that can produce organic material from inorganic compounds. Cooccurring heterotrophic or organic-consuming microbes then ingest some of the organic material produced by these autotrophic organisms. This is (like the deep-sea vent community) an ecosystem totally independent of solar energy—independent of the surface and of light. ” Because their presence in these dark, sometimes hot regions of Earth’s crust tells us that sunlight is not necessary to sustain life, their discovery is one of the most important ever made about the range of environments that can support life.

Planetary systems in general are not necessarily gravitationally stable for time scales of billions of years. If Saturn were closer to Jupiter or if it were more massive, the long-term game of gravitational cat and mouse that planets play could lead to ejection of one of these planets, and it would escape into the galaxy. If Saturn were lost, then Jupiter would stay trapped in solar orbit, but its orbit would be oddly elliptical. Some of the giant planets recently discovered orbiting other stars have highly elliptical orbits, and the past ejection of a long-lost partner may have been the cause.

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Rare earth: why complex life is uncommon in the universe by Peter Douglas Ward, Donald Brownlee


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