Saturday, April 05, 2008

Astrobiology Library

Mike Brotherton has posted a list of books that he uses as reference in writing his space-based hard science fiction. His library covers space travel, humans in space, development of stars, and, of special interest here, astrobiology. Among the books he recommends:

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That looks like a pretty useful list. I'd add to that Chris Impey's recent book, The Living Cosmos: Our Search for Life in the Universe, which gives a pretty good overview of the possibilities of extraterrestrial life.

I'd just like to add that there are a number of free online resources for astrobiology information as well.
  • Astrobiology Magazine has news and some articles available online. They also produce an associated astrobiology podcast
  • The NASA Astrobiology site is good source for the latest astrobiology-related news, and if you have an astrobiology question, you can get an expert answer from their Ask an Astrobiologist service.
  • Last year the National Research Council published a report titled The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems. It discusses the chemistry of carbon-based life, alternative biochemistry, and exotic habitats that might support non-water-based life. It's technical, and it doesn't have pretty illustrations, but it covers some of the latest research - and it's free.

* Astrophysicist Drake is best known (to me at least) for the so-called Drake equation, which attempts to calculate the number of other civilizations in the galaxy with which we might hope to be able to communicate. According to Wikipedia, the current best estimates for all the variables gives a result of 2.3 - not many, given the vastness of space.
(link to Mike Brotherton via The World in the Satin Bag)



  1. Very useful info..thanks.

  2. Peggy,
    I am afraid you may not find the following post relevant to Astrobiology Library...but I have a strong urge to put it here.And if you find it irrelevant you are the boss.
    In certain Indian mythological scriptures like the one from which I am tempted to quote following there appears to be some amazing descriptions of life in myriad forms beyond the earth.At least the scriptures writers-'sages' had some assumptions/extrapolations related to extraterrestrial life.Here is a quote from Sri Ramcaritmanas[] :
    [A fable narrates how a crow named Kakbhusundi was engulfed by child lord Rama while he was at play with the crow and the crow describes in detail what he observes inside the stomach of child Rama.A minuscule part of the description goes here...]
    "....Inside the lord Rama's belly I beheld multitudinous universes with many strange spheres each more wondreful than the rest ....manifold varieties of creation... and classes of living beings both moving and motionless...quadrupeds,,birds,serpents,gods and demons of all classes, all the creatures having a shape peculiar to that universe only....entire creation in each universe had a distinctive all these universes I found even myself possessed of manifold incomplete forms .....everything I saw had a distinctive stamp of its own universe ......"- [Uttara- kand 79,80,81 parts of the couplets.]
    I must submit that I have tried my best to make lexical/literal translation of the text and have not added any thing from my side.

  3. Anonymous3:44 PM

    Thanks for joining the Science in Fiction Project! It's more than okay if you publicize it on your blog. Thanks!


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