Investigating Life in the Universe : Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

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Author(s): Christopher K. Walker
Publisher: CRC Press
Year: 2023

Language: English
Pages: 243

Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Chapter 1 Drake Equation: An Overview
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Drake Equation Parameters
1.2.1 Star Formation Rate: R*
1.2.2 Fraction of Stars that are “Good”: fg
1.2.3 Fraction of Stars that have Planets: fp
1.2.4 Number of Earth-like Planets: ne
1.2.5 Fraction of Earth-like Planets where Life Originates: fl
1.2.6 Fraction of Planets on which Intelligent Life Originates: fi
1.2.7 Fraction of Galactic Civilizations with the Desire and Ability to Communicate: fc
1.2.8 Lifetime of the Interstellar Communicative Phase
1.3 Evaluating the Drake Equation
1.4 How Close Are They?
1.5 SETI
1.6 Summary
Discussion Questions
Chapter 2 Setting the Stage for Cosmic Discovery
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Origin of Photography
2.3 Nicephore Niepce
2.3.1 The Pyreolophore
2.3.2 First Photographs
2.4 The First Spectrogram
2.5 Kirchhoff and Bunsen
2.6 Hugginses and Drapers
2.7 Summary
Review Questions
Chapter 3 The Birth of Observational Astrophysics
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Stellar Classification
3.3 Cosmic Rulers
3.4 Measuring the Milky Way
3.5 Measuring the Universe
3.5.1 The Trouble with Andromeda
3.5.2 Observational Support of the Big Bang
Review Questions
Chapter 4 Stellar Evolution
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Cataloging the Stars
4.3 The Color of Stars
4.4 Blackbody Radiation
4.5 The Hertzsprung–Russell (H–R) Diagram
4.6 The Lives of Stars
4.6.1 The Birth of Stars
4.6.2 Evolution of a One Solar Mass Star
4.6.3 Evolution of High-Mass Stars
Chapter 5 Planet Evolution
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Protoplanetary Disk Observations
5.3 Formation of Planetary Systems
5.4 Formation of Terrestrial Planets
5.5 Formation of the Earth
5.5.1 Formation of the Moon
5.5.2 Uncovering the Inner Workings of the Earth
5.5.3 The Active Earth
5.5.4 Earth’s Force Field
5.5.5 A Game of Continental Billiards
5.5.6 Origin of Earth’s Atmosphere
5.5.7 Primordial CO2 Cycle
Review Questions
Chapter 6 The Origin of Life
6.1 Introduction
6.2 The Building Blocks of Life
6.2.1 Proteins
6.2.2 Nucleic Acids
6.2.3 Lipids
6.2.4 Carbohydrates
6.3 Domains of Life
6.4 Cell Function
6.5 Origin of Life
6.5.1 Miller–Urey Experiment
6.5.2 Chemical Evolution to Life
Review Questions
Chapter 7 Evolution of Life and Intelligence
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Genetic Variations
7.2.1 Random Mutations
7.2.2 The Importance of Sex
7.3 Struggle to Survive
7.4 Mass Extinction Events
7.5 Fossil Record
7.5.1 Radiometric Dating
7.5.2 Timeline for Life on Earth
7.6 The Evolution of Intelligence
7.6.1 Genetic Intelligence
7.6.2 Brain Intelligence
7.6.3 Brain-to-Body Mass Ratios
7.6.4 Resident Alien
7.7 Summary
Review Questions
Chapter 8 Habitable Worlds
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Habitable Zones
8.3 Finding Planets
8.3.1 Direct Imaging
8.3.2 Doppler Spectroscopy
8.3.3 Planetary Transits
8.3.4 Astrometry
8.3.5 Gravitational Microlensing
8.3.6 Planets in Habitable Zones
8.4 Biosignatures
8.5 M-Star Advantage
8.6 The Case of Proxima b
8.7 The Case of Mars
8.8 Summary
Review Questions
Appendix 1: Commonly Used Physical and Commonly Used Physical and
Appendix 2: Exoplanets within 15 Light Years
Appendix 3: Timeline of Cultural/Technical Evolution
Appendix 4: Periodic Table of the Elements
Appendix 5: Required Lifetime of Communicable Civilizations