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Books and Publications of Interest to Astrobiology

  • Astrobiology: Current, Evolving and Emerging Perspectives

    Caister Academic Press
    Publication Date: February 2020
    ISBN: 978-1-912530-31-1

    Link to article

    Astrobiology is a modern cross-disciplinary research field which studies the origin and development of life in the universe and includes the search for extinct and currently existing organisms outside our planet. As part of this on-going search, astrobiology successfully combines researchers and techniques from the fields of biology, geology, chemistry and planetary sciences. This volume includes contributions from several leading astrobiologists across the globe, providing an overview of their respective fields and highlighting current and emerging topics. Topics of note include: overview of astrobiology, the origin of life, habitability, and future exploration; planetary protection and the application of molecular methodologies for analyzing potential microbial contaminants in space missions; organic matter and biosignatures in space missions; life in impact craters; microbial exploration of terrestrial analogue sites (of Mars and the of the icy moons of the outer solar system); insights from microbiological studies in low pressure environments and in the stratosphere. Aimed at research scientists, advanced students and other professionals, this informative and up-to-date book is an invaluable review on current research in astrobiology and is an essential acquisition for anyone involved in this cross-disciplinary field. This contribution is particularly timely given the upcoming wave of space missions focused on astrobiology and targeting Mars and the icy moons of the outer solar system.

  • Assembling Life: How Can Life Begin on Earth and Other Habitable Planets?

    Oxford University Press
    Publication Date: February 2019

    Book website

  • EXPOSE R-2 on the ISS: The BOSS and PSS Experiments Results

    Mary Ann Liebert
    Publication Date: July 2019
    ISSN: 1531-1074

    Link to article

    This is a special collection with results from the EXPOSE R-2 experiments PSS and BOSS, in addition to the PPOSS white book about biological contamination prevention for icy moons.

    Free access for the full special collection available through September 7, 2019.

  • Special Collection: BIOMEX (BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment)

    Publication Date: February 2019
    ISSN: 1531-1074

    Link to article

    Please see also the more recent paper by De la Torre et al. (2020): doi:10.1089/ast.2018.1959

  • Biosignatures for Astrobiology

    Publication Date: 2019
    ISBN 978-3-319-96175-0

    Book website

    This book aims at providing a brief but broad overview of biosignatures. The topics addressed range from prebiotic signatures in extraterrestrial materials to the signatures characterising extant life as well as fossilised life, biosignatures related to space, and space flight instrumentation to detect biosignatures either in situ or from orbit. The book ends with philosophical reflections on the implications of life elsewhere. In the 15 chapters written by an interdisciplinary team of experts, it provides both detailed explanations on the nature of biosignatures as well as useful case studies showing how they are used and identified in ancient rocks, for example. One case study addresses the controversial finding of traces of fossil life in a meteorite from Mars. The book will be of interest not only to astrobiologists but also to terrestrial paleontologists as well as any reader interested in the prospects of finding a second example of life on another planet.

  • Thermodynamic Inversion: Origin of Living Systems

    Springer International Publishing, Cham
    Publication Date: 2017
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-53512-8

    Link to article

    This book discusses the theory, general principles, and energy source conditions allowing for the emergence of life in planetary systems. The author examines the material conditions found in natural hydrothermal sites, the appropriate analogs of prebiotic environments on early Earth. He provides an overview of current laboratory experiments in prebiotic materials chemistry and substantiation of a new direction for the experiments in the origin of life field.

  • Our Place in the Universe

    Publication Date: 2017
    ISBN 978-3-319-54172-3

    Book website

    This new book discusses the 3000 years of astronomical developments and their effects on society, philosophy and religion.

  • Astrobiology Special Collection: STARLIFE

    Publication Date: February 2017
    ISSN: 1531-1074

    Link to article

    Special Collection: STARLIFE
    Intercomparison Study of Astrobiological Model Systems in Their Response to Major Components of Galactic Cosmic Radiation

  • Special Issue on AstRoMap

    Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
    Publication Date: March 2016
    DOI: 10.1089/ast.2015.1441

    Link to article

  • Astrobiology Primer 2.0

    Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
    Publication Date: August 2016
    DOI: 10.1089/ast.2015.1460

    Link to article

  • Review of the MEPAG Report on Mars Special Regions

    The National Academies Press
    Publication Date: September 2015
    ISBN: 978-0-309-37904-5
    76 pages, Paperback

    Link to free download

    Planetary protection is a guiding principle in the design of an interplanetary mission, aiming to prevent biological contamination of both the target celestial body and the Earth. The protection of high-priority science goals, the search for life and the understanding of the Martian organic environment may be compromised if Earth microbes carried by spacecraft are grown and spread on Mars. This has led to the definition of Special Regions on Mars where strict planetary protection measures have to be applied before a spacecraft can enter these areas.

    At NASA's request, the community-based Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) established the Special Regions Science Analysis Group (SR-SAG2) in October 2013 to examine the quantitative definition of a Special Region and proposed modifications to it, as necessary, based upon the latest scientific results. Review of the MEPAG Report on Mars Special Regions reviews the conclusions and recommendations contained in MEPAG's SR-SAG2 report and assesses their consistency with current understanding of both the Martian environment and the physical and chemical limits for the survival and propagation of microbial and other life on Earth. This report provides recommendations for an update of the planetary protection requirements for Mars Special Regions.

  • Generation and Applications of Extra-Terrestrial Environments on Earth

    Ed. by Daniel A. Beysens and Jack J.W. A. van Loon
    River Publishers Series in Standardisation
    Publication Date: June 2015
    ISBN: 9788793237537

    Table of contents

    More information:

    This book has been prepared under the auspice of the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA). The main task of ELGRA is to foster the scientific community in Europe and beyond in conducting gravity and space-related research.

  • Microbial Evolution under Extreme Conditions

    Ed. by Bakermans, Corien
    De Gruyter
    Series: Life in Extreme Environments 2
    Publication Date: March 2015
    ISBN: 978-3-11-034071-6

    See link:

  • International Journal of Astrobiology Special Issue on EXPOSE-R

    International Journal of Astrobiology, Volume 14(1), Pages 1-142 (January 2015), Cambridge Journals

    Edited by Gerda Horneck and Corinna Panitz

    Link to Special Issue

    All articles of this special issue can be downloaded for free.

    Read also the related Cambridge Journals Blog entry by Gerda Horneck.

  • Comets and their Origin

    Uwe Meierhenrich
    Publication Date: December 2014
    ISBN: 978-3-527-41281-5
    352 pages

    More information

    Divided into two parts, the first four chapters of Comets and their Origin refer to comets and their formation in general, describing cometary missions, comet remote observations, astrochemistry, artificial comets, and the chirality phenomenon. The second part covers the cometary ROSETTA mission, its launch, journey, scientific objectives, and instrumentations, as well as the landing scenario on a cometary nucleus. Along the way, the author presents general questions concerning the origin of terrestrial water and the molecular beginnings of life on Earth, as well as how the instruments used on a space mission like ROSETTA can help answer them. The text concludes with a chapter on what scientists expect from the ROSETTA mission and how its data will influence our life on Earth.
    As a result, the author elucidates highly topical and fascinating knowledge to scientists and students of various scientific backgrounds, allowing them to work with ROSETTA's data.

  • Special Collection of Papers from EANA 2013: The 13th European Workshop on Astrobiology

    Special Issue: Papers from the 13th European Workshop on Astrobiology
    “Through Cosmic Dust to DNA”,
    22-25 July 2012, Szczecin, Poland
    Volume 44, Number 3, September 2014
    See link:

    Introduction to the Special Collection of Papers from EANA 2013: The 13th European Workshop on Astrobiology ("Through Cosmic Dust to DNA") by Franco Ferrari and Ewa Szuszkiewicz (open access).

  • Astrobiology: An Evolutionary Approach

    Paperback: 504 pages
    Publisher: CRC Press (October 9, 2014)
    Language: English
    Edited by Vera Kolb
    ISBN-10: 1466584610, ISBN-13: 978-1466584617

    Link to Flyer

  • PSS Special Issue: Planetary evolution and life

    Planetary and Space Science, Volume 98, Pages 1-268 (August 2014), Elsevier

    Edited by Tilman Spohn, Veronique Dehant, Lee Grenfell, Ernst Hauber, Helmut Lammer, Frank Sohl and Frances Westall

    Link to Special Issue

  • Astrochemistry and Astrobiology

    Series: Physical Chemistry in Action

    Smith, Ian W. M.; Cockell, Charles S.; Leach, Sydney (Eds.)
    2013, IX, 349 p. 79 illus., 55 illus. in color.

  • Habitability of Other Planets and Satellites

    Series: Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology, Vol. 28

    J.-P. de Vera, Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany; J. Seckbach, The Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel (Eds.)
    Download: pdf-flyer.

  • Space research in Horizon 2020
    A recommendation of the FP7 Space Advisory Group of the European Commission,
    Brussels, 12 December 2012, European Commission

    Download: pdf-version.

  • Planets and Life
    Tilman Spohn
    Spatium, October 2012, Volume 30: Planets and Life

    Download: pdf-version.

  • SpringerBriefs in Astronomy booklet

    H. Lammer, Austrian Academy of Sciences,
    Graz, Austria
    Origin and Evolution of Planetary Atmospheres

    Implications for Habitability
    More information on this publication can be found here:

  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons as Plausible Prebiotic Membrane Components

    Joost Groen, David W. Deamer, Alexander Kros and Pascale Ehrenfreund,
    Orig. Life Evol. Biosph. (2012) 42:295-306
    (Open Access).
    Please click here to obtain a copy of this paper.

  • Presentations given at the 11th European Workshop on Astrobiology EANA’11 at Cologne, Germany
    are now published in Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres

    Special Issue: Papers from the 11th European Workshop on Astrobiology
    “Planets and Life - Evolution and Distribution”,
    11–14 July 2011, Köln, Germany;
    Guest editors: Gerda Horneck and Ralf Moeller
    Volume 42, Numbers 2–3, June 2012
    Latest Impact factor is 2.660
    See link:

  • EXPOSE-E Mission on the International Space Station
    Exciting Results Are First Reported in Special Issue of Astrobiology Journal

    Editor-in-Chief: Sherry L. Cady, Ph.D.
    Current Volume: 12
    Latest Impact Factor* is 2.362
    ISSN: 1531-1074 • Published Monthly • Online ISSN: 1557-8070

    EXPOSE-E has been the first of three long-duration space missions provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) within the European Program of Life and Physical Science in Space (ELIPS) for long-term astrobiology studies onboard the International Space Station. As part of the European Technology Exposure Facility, EXPOSE-E was launched together with ESA’s Columbus laboratory and mounted in open space onto the external balcony of the Columbus laboratory for 1.5 years. It accommodated a variety of chemical and biological test systems that were exposed to selected parameters of the space environment in the following experiments:
    • Photochemical organic chemistry relevant to comets, meteorites, Mars and Titan (Team leader: Hervé Cottin, UMR CNRS, France)
    • Molecular adaptation strategies of microorganisms to different space and planetary UV climate conditions (Team leader: Petra Rettberg, DLR, Germany)
    • Resistance of spacecraft isolates to outer space for planetary protection purposes (Team leader: Gerda Horneck, DLR, Germany);
    • Resistance of lichens and lithic fungi at space conditions (Team leader: Silvano Onofri, University of Tuscia, Italy)
    • Plant seed as a terrestrial model for a Panspermia vehicle and as a source of universal UV screens (Team leader: D. Tepfer, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France)
    Information on the radiation field around EXPOSE-E was provided by 3 experiments (Team leaders: Günther Reitz, DLR, Germany; Donat-P. Häder, Germany; Tvsetan Dachev, SSTRI-BAS Bulgaria). The EXPOSE-E hardware was built by the industrial prime contractor Kayser-Threde GmbH, München, Germany. EXPOSE-E ground operations were supported by the Facility Support Center MUSC at DLR, Köln, Germany.
    “The results from the EXPOSE-E mission’s astrobiology experiments are exciting in that they test life’s capacity to survive the harsh environment of outer space,” says Sherry L. Cady, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of Astrobiology and Professor in the Department of Geology at Portland State University. “The EXPOSE-E science will undoubtedly serve as a benchmark for all future low-Earth orbit investigations. These kinds of activities are critical to the success of future missions for Solar System exploration.”
    These results from EXPOSE-E are first presented in a special issue of Astrobiology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. ( The issue is available free online at

  • Asztrobiológia

    Kereszturi Akos
    Magyar Csillagászati Egyesület
    ISBN 978-963-87597-3-3

    The first book on Astrobiology in Hungarian

  • Origins of Life: The Primal Self-Organization

    R. Egel, D.-H. Lankenau, A.Y. Mulkidjanian,
    Origins of Life: The Primal Self-Organization
    Springer, Publisher

    Internet access to the book and chapter download-statistics is via:

  • From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life

    Series: From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life
    ISBN: 978-1-907284-79-3
    Price £24.99
    Publisher Nottingham University Press

    The rise of computers and rocket science in the last half of the 20th century allowed scientists to make two amazing discoveries that indicated life may be widespread throughout our universe. In the 1970s, life scientists started finding small bacterial-like creatures living on our planet in extreme hostile environments that everyone believed should instantly kill any living things. Some of these life-forms lived in hot or boiling water that was extremely salty, acidic, or alkaline. A few made their homes inside icebergs, while others lived inside rocks located miles below ground, or even on the power rods of nuclear power plants.

  • The editor in chief of OLEB, Alan Schwartz,
    draws your attention to the fact, that the following link to OLEB shows accepted manuscripts:
    A number of those shown are freely available, including a short editorial comment on the recent arsenic DNA issue.

  • Water in the Universe

    Series: Astrophysics and Space Science Library, Vol. 368
    Hanslmeier, Arnold
    1st Edition., 2011, XIV, 239 p., Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-90-481-9983-9

    Due to its specific chemical and physical properties, water is essential for life on Earth. And it is assumed that this would be the case for extraterrestrial life as well. Therefore it is important to investigate where water can be found in the Universe. Although there are places that are completely dry, places where the last rainfall happened probably several 100 million years ago, surprisingly this substance is quite omnipresent. In the outer solar system the large satellites of Jupiter and Saturn are covered by a thick layer of ice that could be hiding a liquid ocean below. This of course brings up the question of whether the recently detected extrasolar planets could have some water on their surfaces and how we can detect this. Water molecules are also found in interstellar gas and dust clouds. This book begins with an introductory chapter reviewing the physical and chemical properties of water. Then it illuminates the apparent connection between water and life. This is followed by chapters dealing with our current knowledge of water in the solar system, followed by a discussion concerning the potential presence and possible detection of water on exoplanets. The signature of water in interstellar space and stars are reviewed before the origin of water in the Universe is finally discussed. The book ends with an appendix on detection methods, satellite missions and astrophysical concepts touched upon in the main parts of the book. The search for water in the Universe is related to the search for extraterrestrial life and is of fundamental importance for astrophysics, astrobiology and other related topics. This book therefore addresses students and researchers in these fields.

  • Searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

    SETI Past, Present, and Future
    The Frontiers Collection

    Shuch, H. Paul
    Jointly published with Praxis Publishing, UK
    1st Edition., 2011, XXI, 320 p. 10 illus., Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-3-642-13195-0

    This book is a collection of essays written by the very scientists and engineers who have led, and continue to lead, the scientific quest known as SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Divided into three parts, the first section, ‘The Spirit of SETI Past’, written by the surviving pioneers of this then emerging discipline, reviews the major projects undertaken during the first 50 years of SETI science and the results of that research.

    In the second section, ‘The Spirit of SETI Present’, the present-day science and technology is discussed in detail, providing the technical background to contemporary SETI instruments, experiments, and analytical techniques, including the processing of the received signals to extract potential alien communications.

    In the third and final section, ‘The Spirit of SETI Future’, the book looks ahead to the possible directions that SETI will take in the next 50 years, addressing such important topics as interstellar message construction, the risks and assumptions of interstellar communications, when we might make contact, what aliens might look like and what is likely to happen in the aftermath of such a contact.

  • Cosmic Heritage

    Evolution from the Big Bang to Conscious Life
    Shaver, Peter
    1st Edition., 2011, 240 p., Softcover
    ISBN: 978-3-642-20260-5

    • Offers a popular account of the big questions of life and modern science
    • Explains in an accessible way our understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe, the formation and evolution of life, why we die and what we know about consciousness
    • Begins with the Early Universe, zooms in on life, evolution and consciousness on Earth, and finally zooms out into the distant future
    • Discusses the possibility of life elsewhere in the Universe

    This book follows the evolutionary trail all the way from the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago to conscious life today. It is an accessible introductory book written for the interested layperson – anyone interesting in the ‘big picture’ coming from modern science. It covers a wide range of topics including the origin and evolution of our universe, the nature and origin of life, the evolution of life including questions of birth and death, the evolution of cognition, the nature of consciousness, the possibility of extraterrestrial life and the future of the universe. The book is written in a narrative style, as these topics are all parts of a single story. It concludes with a discussion on the nature and future of science.

    “Peter Shaver has written engagingly for anyone curious about the world we inhabit. If you'd like to know how the Universe began, where the chemical elements originated, how life may have started on Earth, how man, ants and bacteria are related to each other, or why we humans think, you will enjoy this panoramic book and its clear presentation” – Martin Harwit, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, Cornell University, NY, and former Director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington.

    "Who is not interested in the big questions "How did it all start? Where do we come from? Where do we go? Are we alone?" This book addresses theses questions in an entertaining way based on our knowledge of modern science. It opens our horizons towards understanding the history of the universe and the origin and evolution of life in the context of cosmic evolution." Dr. Gerda Horneck, DLR German Aerospace Center, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne, Germany.

    "A very elegant, open-minded book that opens the door for informed discussion of the continuity of evolutionary processes from the big bang to the emergence of the mind... stimulating and highly engaging reading" – Ryszard Maleszka, Professor of Molecular Genetics, Australian National University, Canberra.

    "Peter Shaver has produced a remarkable book. He covers an immense range, offering a splendid overview of the intricate processes that connect us to the universe, and which allowed complex life to emerge from simple beginnings" – Martin Rees, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and Astronomer Royal.

    “Where did the universe come from? What is life and how did it begin? How did complex life-forms evolve? How did consciousness arise? Are we alone in the universe? Questions don't get any bigger than these. In this beautifully concise account, astrophysicist Peter Shaver asks these questions and more and assesses how far modern science has come to providing answers. Anyone who has ever wondered who we are and where we came from should read this book” – Stephen Simpson, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney.

    “This is a well written, marvellous book for a very broad audience which covers much of current scientific thought in a concise way. The author successfully shows how many of the great philosophical issues that have fascinated humanity for centuries from the origin of the world, the evolution of life to the nature of consciousness are gradually being shifted from the domain of philosophy or speculation to that of rigorous science.” – Lodewijk Woltjer, former Director General of the European Southern Observatory and former President of the International Astronomical Union.

  • The Wondrous Universe - Creation without Creator?

    Series: Astronomers' Universe
    Börner, Gerhard

    1st Edition., 2011, 170 p. 63 illus., 13 in color., Softcover
    ISBN: 978-3-642-20103-5
    The world as it is viewed from modern physics and cosmology has many strange and unexpected features. Often these are in stark contrast with our everyday experience or our preconceptions, such as the concept of space and time as finite and changeable. Nevertheless it is this strange world which is the fundamental basis of our existence. Therefore modern science also has a few things to say about the age-old questions: Who are we? – Where do we come from? – Where are we going?

    The author, an experienced scientist and teacher, presents the knowledge that we have about our world for non-experts. He takes us on a journey through cosmology and the quantum world of elementary particles. And he sketches the impact of the insights gained into philosophical assumptions and religious beliefs in these disciplines. In the end he asks the speculative question whether there is something beyond the limits of the natural sciences.

    Gerhard Börner is a Professor of Physics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and conducts research on the early universe and dark matter at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching near Munich. He received his PhD for a thesis on particle physics under the supervision of Werner Heisenberg and Hans-Peter Dürr. Professor Börner is the author of the successful graduate textbook "The Early Universe" (published by Springer and now in its 4th edition), as well as of several popular science books on cosmology. In 2009 he received the Chinese Academy of Sciences Award for International Cooperation in Science and Technology (together with Prof. Maurice-Roger Bonnet). In 2010 he received the "Friendship Award," and in January 2011 the Chinese government’s National Award for Cooperation in Science and Technology, the highest honor bestowed on foreigners.

  • Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

    Editor-in-chief: Gargaud, Muriel
    Amils, R.; Cernicharo, J.; Cleaves II, H.J.; Irvine, W.M.; Pinti, D.; Viso, M. (Eds.)
    Version: print (book)
    1st Edition., 2011, 1816 p. In 3 volumes, not available separately., Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-3-642-11271-3
    Online version:

    • Constitutes The reference resource of the remarkably interdisciplinary field Astrobiology
    • Serves as the key to understanding technical terms from the different areas of astrobiology: astronomy, biology, chemistry, geosciences and space sciences
    • Comprehensively treats the important topics from a global perspective and each subfield
    • Assembles and organizes the key citations to the literature for this nascent but high-profile field

    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 increasingly likely chances for its emergence. Biologists, astrophysicists, biochemists, geoscientists and space scientists share this exciting mission of revealing the origin and commonality of life in the Universe. The members of the different disciplines are used to their own terminology and technical language. In the interdisciplinary environment many terms either have redundant meanings or are completely unfamiliar to members of other disciplines.

    The Encyclopedia of Astrobiology serves as the key to a common understanding. 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 and the expert field editors intend for their contributions, from an internationally comprehensive perspective, to accelerate the interdisciplinary advance of astrobiology.

  • "Planets, Stars and Stellar Systems"

    Editor-in-chief: Oswalt, T.D
    McLean, I.S.; Bond, H.E.; French, L.; Kalas, P.; Barstow, M.; Gilmore, G.F.; Keel, W. (Eds.)
    Version: print (book)
    1st Edition., 2011, 4760 p. 2400 illus., 240 in color. In 6 volumes, not available separately., Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-90-481-8817-8

    • A six-volume compendium of modern astronomical research covering subjects of key interest to the main fields of contemporary astronomy and astrophysical cosmology
    • Provides essential background and leads the reader to other seminal literature on the topics it covers
    • Serves lecturers and students as material for advanced courses in astronomy

    Planets, Stars and Stellar Systems is a compendium of modern astronomical research covering subjects of key interest to the main fields of contemporary astronomy. The six volumes of the set edited by Terry Oswalt (Editor-in-Chief) comprise:

    Volume 1: Telescopes and Instrumentation – Ian McLean (Ed.)
    Volume 2: Astronomical Techniques and Standards – Howard Bond (Ed.)
    Volume 3: Solar and Planetary Systems – Linda French, Paul Kalas (Eds.)
    Volume 4: Solar/Stellar Structure and Evolution -- Martin Barstow (Ed.)
    Volume 5: Stellar Systems and Galactic Structure -- Gerry Gilmore (Ed.)
    Volume 6: Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology – Bill Keel (Ed.)

    Each of the approximately 20 chapters per volume is written by a practicing professional within the appropriate sub-discipline. They include sufficient background material and references to the current literature to allow one to learn enough about a specialty within astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology to get started on a practical research project. In the spirit of the series Stars and Stellar Systems published by Chicago University Press in the 1960s and 1970s each chapter of Planets, Stars and Stellar Systems stands on its own as a fundamental review of its respective sub-discipline and each volume can be used as a text or recommended reference for advanced undergraduate or postgraduate courses. Advanced students through professional astronomers in their roles as both lecturers and researchers will welcome Planets, Stars and Stellar Systems as comprehensive and pedagogical reference to astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology.

  • Abstracts from the 9th European Workshop on Astrobiology

    Abstracts from the 9th European Workshop on Astrobiology, Brussels, October 12–14, 2009,
    are now published in
    Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, Special Issue

    Guest editor: Gerda Horneck, Volume 40, 499-607, 2010, see link:

  • Origin of Life
    Recent Contributions to a Scientific Model
    Hernani L.S. Maria,Keith G. Orrell and Ildaa V.R. Dias
    Is accessible free of charge on

  • Toward a Global Space Exploration Program: A Stepping Stone Approach, PEX report of the Committee On Space Research (COSPAR)
    Ehrenfreund P. et al. (2010)
    available under:

  • Towards a European vision for space exploration: Recommendations of the space advisory group of the European Commission
    Horneck G., Coradini A., Haerendel G., Kallenrode M.-B., Kamoun P., Swings J- P., Tobias A., Tortora J.-J. (2010)
    Space Policy, 26, 109-112, doi:10.1016/j.spacepol.2010

  • Survival of lichens and bacteria exposed to outer space conditions – Results of the Lithopanspermia experiments

    de la Torre R., Le. G. Sancho, G. Horneck, A. de los Ríos, J. Wierzchos, K. Olsson-Francis, C. S. Cockell, P. Rettberg, T. Berger, J,-P. P. de Vera, S. Ott, J. Martinez Frías, P. G. Melendi, M. M. Lucas, M. Reina, A. Pintado, René Demets, 2010,
    Icarus, 208, 735-748.

  • Space microbiology
    Horneck, G., D.M. Klaus, and R.L. Mancinelli (2010)
    Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 74, 121-156
    For a copy contact gerda.horneck (at)

  • Habitability Primer, Special Issue of Astrobiology 2010

    Volume: 10, Number: 1 January 2010

    This issue is available online from Liebert Online at:
    This issue acknowledges also EANA because many EANA related colleagues were involved and the whole issue is available online as pdf via the link below. It represents more or less the latest stage of Habitability knowledge on exoplanets, etc.

  • The Fate of Amino Acids during Simulated Meteoritic Impact

    Bertrand, M., van der Gaast, S., Vilas, F., Hörz, F., Haynes, G., Chabin, A., Brack, A., Westall, F.
    Astrobiology. December 2009,
    Vol. 9(10): 943-951.
    Delivery of prebiotic molecules, such as amino acids and peptides, in meteoritic/micrometeoritic materials to early Earth during the first 500 million years is considered to be one of the main processes by which the building blocks of life arrived on Earth. In this context, we present a study in which the effects of impact shock on amino acids and a peptide in artificial meteorites composed of saponite clay were investigated. The samples were subjected to pressures ranging from 12–28.9GPa, which simulated impact velocities of 2.4–5.8km/s for typical silicate-silicate impacts on Earth. Volatilization was determined by weight loss measurement, and the amino acid and peptide response was analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. For all compounds, degradation increased with peak pressure. At the highest shock pressures, amino acids with an alkyl side chain were more resistant than those with functional side chains. The peptide cleaved into its two primary amino acids. Some chiral amino acids experienced partial racemization during the course of the experiment. Our data indicate that impact shock may act as a selective filter to the delivery of extraterrestrial amino acids via carbonaceous chondrites.

  • Titan from Cassini-Huygens

    Volume package: Cassini-Huygens
    Brown, Robert; Lebreton, Jean Pierre; Waite, Hunter (Eds.)
    2010, VIII, 535 p. With CD-ROM., Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-1-4020-9214-5

    This book reviews our current knowledge of Saturn's largest moon Titan featuring the latest results obtained by the Cassini-Huygens mission. A global author team addresses Titan’s origin and evolution, internal structure, surface geology, the atmosphere and ionosphere as well as magnetospheric interactions. The book closes with an outlook beyond the Cassini-Huygens mission. Colorfully illustrated, this book will serve as a reference to researchers as well as an introduction for students.

  • The Earth as a Distant Planet

    A Rosetta Stone for the Search of Earth-Like Worlds
    Series: Astronomy and Astrophysics Library
    Vázquez, M., Pallé, E., Montañés Rodríguez, P.
    1st Edition., 2010, XV, 422 p. 272 illus., 181 in color., Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-1-4419-1683-9
    Is the Earth, in some way, special? Or is our planet but one of the millions of other inhabited planets within our galaxy? This is an exciting time to be asking this old question, because for the first time in history, the answer is within reach. In The Earth as a Distant Planet, the authors set themselves as external observers of our Solar System from an astronomical distance.

    From that perspective, the authors describe how the Earth, the third planet in distance to the central star, can be catalogued as having its own unique features and as capable of sustaining life. The knowledge gained from this original perspective is then applied to the ongoing search for planets outside the solar system, or exoplanets.

    Since the discovery in 1992 of the first exoplanet, the number of known planets has increased exponentially. Ambitious space missions are already being designed for the characterization of their atmospheres and to explore the possibility that they host life. The exploration of Earth and the rest of the rocky planets in our Solar System will help us in classifying and understanding the multiplicity of planetary systems that exist in our galaxy. In time, statistics on the formation and evolution of exoplanets will be available and will provide vital information for solving some of the unanswered questions about the formation, as well as the evolution, of our own world.

    The authors provide an introductory but also very much up-to-date referenced text, making this book useful not only for the layman, but also for researchers and advanced students in Astrophysics and Earth Sciences.

  • Habitability and Cosmic Catastrophes

    Series: Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics
    Hanslmeier, Arnold
    2009, XIV, 248 p. 155 illus., 4 in color., Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-3-540-76944-6

    The solar system has a rather well-known history. Looking at the present situation, one might get the impression that it was a rather stable and well-defined system: the orbits of the planets appear to be stable, climate and atmospheres on the planets have been determined, the risk of collision with other bodies (comets, asteroids, meteorites) seems to be small. However it is known today that the evolution of life on Earth was neither a steady progression nor uniform. There were several periods of mass extinction. These catastrophic events played a crucial role in the rise of new species. Events of astrophysical origin include:
    • Asteroid impacts
    • Major solar variabilty (space weather)
    • Nearby supernovae
    • The passage of the solar system through dense interstellar clouds

    Catastrophic cosmic events of this type appear in the range of some 100 million years. The author discusses whether and how such events could have occurred in the solar system as well as in recently found extrasolar planetary systems.

    In this text, which addresses readers in the field of Astrophysics and Astrobiology but also Geophysics and Biology these cosmic catastrophic events are described at an intermediate student's level.

  • Saturn from Cassini-Huygens

    Volume package: Cassini-Huygens
    Dougherty, Michele; Esposito, Larry; Krimigis, Stamatios (Eds.)
    2009, VIII, 805 p. With CD-ROM., Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-1-4020-9216-9

    This book reviews our current knowledge of Saturn featuring the latest results obtained by the Cassini-Huygens mission. A global author team addresses the planet’s origin and evolution, internal structure, composition and chemistry, the atmosphere and ionosphere, the magnetosphere, as well as its ring system. Furthermore, Saturn's icy satellites are discussed. The book closes with an outlook beyond the Cassini-Huygens mission. Colorfully illustrated, this book will serve as a reference to researchers as well as an introduction for students.

  • Amino Acids and the Asymmetry of Life - Caught in the Act of Formation

    Uwe Meierhenrich
    ISBN: 978-3-540-76885-2

    "How did life originate and why were left-handed molecules selected for its architecture?" This question of high public and interdisciplinary scientific interest is the central theme of this book. It is widely known that in processes triggering the origin of life on Earth, the equal occurrence, the parity between left-handed amino acids and their right-handed mirror images, was violated. The balance was inevitably tipped to the left - as a result of which life's proteins today exclusively implement the left form of amino acids.
    Written in an engaging style, this book describes how the basic building blocks of life, the amino acids, formed. After a comprehensible introduction to stereochemistry, the author addresses the inherent property of amino acids in living organisms, namely the preference for left-handedness. What was the cause for the violation of parity of amino acids in the emergence of life on Earth? All the fascinating models proposed by physicists, chemists and biologist are vividly presented including the scientific conflicts. The author describes the attempt to verify any of those models with the chirality module of the ROSETTA mission, a probe built and launched with the mission to land on a comet and analyse whether there are chiral organic compounds that could have been brought to the Earth by cometary impacts.
    A truly interdisciplinary astrobiology book, "Amino Acids and the Asymmetry of Life" will fascinate students, researchers and all readers with backgrounds in natural sciences.
    With a foreword by Henri B. Kagan.

  • Cold Aqueous Planetary Geochemistry with FREZCHEM

    From Modeling to the Search for Life at the Limits
    Marion, Giles M., Kargel, Jeffey S
    2008, Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-3-540-75678-1

    This book explicitly investigates issues of astrobiological relevance in the context of cold aqueous planetary geochemistry.
    At the core of the technical chapters is the FREZCHEM model, initially developed over many years by one of the authors to quantify aqueous electrolyte properties and chemical thermodynamics at subzero temperatures. FREZCHEM, of general relevance to biogeochemists and geochemical modelers, cold planetary scientists, physicochemists and chemical engineers, is subsequently applied to the exploration of biogeochemical applications to solar systems bodies in general, and to speculations about the limits for life in cold environments in particular.

    Written for: Researchers, scientists

  • Life in the Universe

    Expectations and Constraints
    Series: Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics
    Schulze-Makuch, Dirk, Irwin, Louis N.
    2nd ed., 2008, XVI, 252 p. 49 illus., 10 in color., Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-3-540-76816-6

    Energy, chemistry, solvents, and habitats -- the basic elements of living systems - define the opportunities and limitations for life on other worlds. This class-tested text examines each of these parameters in crucial depth and makes the argument that life forms we would recognize may be more common in our solar system than many assume. It also considers, however, exotic forms of life that would not have to rely on carbon as basic chemical element, solar energy as a main energy source, or water as primary solvent. Finally the question of detecting bio- and geosignature of such life forms is discussed, ranging from Earth environments to deep space. While speculative considerations in this emerging field of science cannot be avoided, the authors have tried to present their study with the breadth and seriousness that a scientific approach to this issue requires. They seek an operational definition of life and investigate the realm of possibilities that nature offers to realize this very special state of matter and avoid scientific jargon wherever possible to make this intrinsically interdisciplinary subject understandable to a broad range of readers.

    The second edition thoroughly updates this text in view of the rapid progress in the field and a substantial amount of new material has been added, in particular sections and chapters on adaptation to extreme environments, the future and fate of living systems, life detection concepts based on the thorough analysis of the Viking missions and the issue around the meteorite ALH 84001, and - last but not least - recommendations for the optimization of future space exploration missions.

    From the reviews of the first edition:
    "[...] I know of no other book that reassesses the fundamentals of astrobiology in such way. This book is a tacit lesson in open-mindedness tempered with thorough scientific analysis. This is a very important book for all professional astrobiologists."
    A Ellery, International Journal of Astrobiology, 6 (2007) 182-183

  • Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life

    Rauchfuss, Horst
    2008, XXIV, 340 p. 163 illus., 12 in color., Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-3-540-78822-5

    Up to now, we do not have a generally accepted theory about the origin of life and about the process of development of life, we only have a great number of - to some extent even contradictory – hypotheses. Meanwhile there came up some scientific findings beyond thought only a few years ago.

    Horst Rauchfuss is comparing the different theories from the view of the latest results and is giving an exciting and easy understandable insight into the present state of research.

  • Life in the Universe: A Beginner's Guide
    Lewis Dartnell, Oneworld Publication 2007

    "This book is an excellent introduction into the newly emerging and exciting field of astrobiology. The lively writing makes it a pleasure to read for experts in the field and likewise it will encourage newcomers to learn more about astrobiology, the fascinating story of life in its cosmic context."
    Gerda Horneck, German Aerospace Centre DLR in Cologne, Germany

    For more information:

  • "Planets & Life: The Emerging Science of Astrobiology"
    Woodruff Sullivan & John Baross (eds.). Cambridge Univ. Pr. (2007)

    Twenty-eight chapters (650 pp) by experts on all aspects of astrobiology; designed for advanced undergraduates and postgraduate students in the sciences, as well as professionals who want to learn the basics outside their own field; also appropriate as a textbook for astrobiology courses.

    For more information:

  • "Complete Course in Astrobiology"
    Gerda Horneck (Editor), Petra Rettberg (Editor)
    Wiley 2007

    This up-to-date resource is based on lectures developed by experts in the relevant fields and carefully edited by the leading astrobiologists within the European community. Aimed at graduate students in physics, astronomy and biology and their lecturers, the text begins with a general introduction to astrobiology, followed by sections on basic prebiotic chemistry, extremophiles, and habitability in our solar system and beyond. A discussion of astrodynamics leads to a look at experimental facilities and instrumentation for space experiments and, ultimately, astrobiology missions, backed in each case by the latest research results from this fascinating field. Includes a CD-ROM with additional course material.

    For more information:

    Book review:

  • Response of organisms to the Martian Environment
    ESA SP 1299, European Space Agency, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
    "This is the final report of the ESA Topical Team ROME"

    Cockell, C.S. and Horneck, G. (Scientific Editors) (2007) ROME

  • Lectures in Astrobiology
    Volume II

    Volume package Lectures in Astrobiology
    Gargaud, Muriel; Martin, Hervé; Claeys, Philippe (Eds.)
    2007, Hardcover,
    ISBN: 978-3-540-33692-1

    Based on material delivered at several summer schools, this book is the firstcomprehensive textbook at the graduate level encompassing all aspects associated with the emerging field of astrobiology.
    Volume II gathers another set of extensive lectures covering topics so diverse as the formation and the distribution of elements in the universe, the concept of habitability from both the planetologists' and the biologists' point of view and artificial life. The contributions are held together by the common goal to understand better the origin of life, its evolution and possible existence outside the Earth's realm. The volume ends with 120 pages of a very useful appendix comprising "Some Astrophysical Reminders", "Useful Astrobiological Data" and "An Astrobiological Glossary".

    Written for: Advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students, nonspecialist and specialist researchers
    For more information:

  • Looking for Life. Searching the Solar System
    Clancy, P., Brack, A., and Horneck, G.
    Cambridge University Press.

  • In the series Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics of Springer, Heidelberg, the following books have been issued:
    • Peter Ulmschneider: Intelligent Life in the Universe
    • Radu Popa: Searching for the Definition and Origin of Life
    • Dirk Schulze-Makuch und Louis N. Irwin: Life in the Universe
    • Tetsuya Tokano (Editor): Water on Mars and Life
    • More Information under:

  • The book Astrobiology, the Quest for the Conditions of Life
    edited by Gerda Horneck und Christa Baumstark-Khan, Springer Publisher.

  • In German language: Telepolis Special, Wie Forscher und Raumfahrer Aliens aufspüren wollen
    01/2005, Heise Zeitschriften Verlag, Heidelberg,

  • Lectures in Astrobiology
    Volume I

    Volume package Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics
    2005, Hardcover
    Gargaud, M.; Barbier, B.; Martin, H.; Reisse, J. (Eds.)
    ISBN: 978-3-540-22315-3
    This book is the first comprehensive textbook at the graduate level encompassing all aspects that are associated with the emerging field of astrobiology. Volume I gathers a first set of extensive lectures that cover a broad range of topics, from the formation of solar system to the quest for the most primitive life forms that have emerged on the Early Earth.

    Written for: Advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students, nonspecialist and specialist researchers

    For more information:

  • Micrometeorites and the Mysteries of Our Origins

    Maurette, M.
    2006, Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-3-540-25816-2

    Micrometeorites played an essential role in the formation of the atmosphere of the Early Earth and also served as a significant source of activation for organic prebiotic chemistry on mineral surfaces. The present book gives a coherent account of this scenario, embedding the more specific results within a broader framework that considers the creation and evolution of the Early Earth. It thus addresses students and nonspecialist researchers in the fields of planetary atmospheres, biogeophysics and astrobiology. The experienced researcher will find this volume to be a modern and compact reference, as well as a source of material for lectures in this field.

    Written for: Students, specialist and nonspecialist researchers

  • Between Necessity and Probability
    Searching for the Definition and Origin of Life

    Popa, Radu
    2004, Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-3-540-20490-9

    This study investigates the major theories of the origins of life in the light of modern research with the aim of distinguishing between the necessary and the optional and between deterministic and random influences in the emergence of what we call 'life'. Life is treated as a cosmic phenomenon whose emergence and driving force should be viewed independently from its Earth-bound natural history. The author synthesizes all the fundamental life-related developments in a comprehensive scenario, and makes the argument that understanding life in its broadest context requires a material-independent perspective that identifies its essential fingerprints.

    Written for: Specialist and nonspecialist researchers

  • Life in the Universe

    Expectations and Constraints
    Schulze-Makuch, Dirk, Irwin, Louis N.
    1st ed 2004. 2nd printing, 2006, Softcover
    ISBN: 978-3-540-30708-2

    Energy, chemistry, solvents, and habitats - the basic elements of living systems - define the opportunities and limitations for life on other worlds. This study examines each of these parameters in crucial depth and makes the argument that life forms we would recognize may be more common in our solar system than many assume. It also considers, however, exotic forms of life that would not have to rely on carbon as the basic chemical element, solar energy as the main energy source, or water as the primary solvent. Finally the question of detecting bio- and geosignature of such life forms is discussed, ranging from earth environments to deep space. While speculative considerations in this emerging field of science cannot be avoided, the authors have tried to present their study with the breadth and seriousness that a scientific approach to this issue requires. They seek an operational definition of life and investigate the realm of possibilities that nature offers to realize this very special state of matter and avoid scientific jargon wherever possible to make this intrinsically interdisciplinary subject understandable to a broad range of readers.

    Written for: Graduate students in the natural and life sciences

  • Comets and the Origin and Evolution of Life

    Thomas, P.J.; Hicks, R.D.; Chyba, C.F.; McKay, C.P. (Eds.)
    Originally published as a monograph
    2nd ed., 2006, Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-3-540-33086-8

    Nine years after the publication of Comets and the Origin and Evolution of Life, one of the pioneering books in Astrobiology, this second edition revisits the role comets may have played in the origins and evolution of life. Recent analyses of Antarctic micrometeorites and ancient rocks in Australia and South Africa, the continuing progress in discovering complex organic macromolecules in comets, protostars and interstellar clouds, new insights into organic synthesis in comets, and numerical simulations of comet impacts on the Earth and other members of the solar system yield a spectacular wealth of new results.
    This second edition is thus actually a new book. As the first edition it is intended as a comprehensive review of current research, accessible to graduate students and others new to the field. Each chapter was prepared by experts to give an overview of an aspect of the field, and carefully revised by the editors for uniformity in style and presentation.

    Written for: Astronomers, geophysicists, biologists

  • Water on Mars and Life

    Tokano, Tetsuya (Ed.)
    2005, Hardcover
    ISBN: 978-3-540-20624-8

    Growing evidence, based on observations from orbiters, landers and telescopes, indicates that Mars may still have numerous hidden water reservoirs. Moreover, from the point of view of habitability, Mars is a prime target for astrobiologists in search of extant or extinct microbial life because we know that life exists in earth's permafrost regions, such as parts of Siberia and the Antarctic, which are the closest terrestrial analogues to Mars. Water on Mars and Life surveys recent advances made in research into water on Mars together with its astrobiological implications. This volume addresses not only scientists working in the field but also nonspecialists and students in search of a high-level but accessible introduction to this exciting field of research.

    Written for: Graduate students, researchers