and The Search for Life on Mars

ISBN: 978-1-60785-255-1

edited by Sarah Kember

Introduction: What is Life?[edit]

J. B. S. Haldane (1949) and Erwin Schrödinger (1944), two of the twentieth century’s most influential scientists, posed the direct question, ‘what is life?’ and declared that it was a question unlikely to find an answer. Life, they suggested, might exceed the ability of science to represent it and even though the sciences of biology, physics and chemistry might usefully describe life’s structures, systems and processes, those sciences should not seek to reduce it to the sum of its parts. While Schrödinger drew attention to the physical structure of living matter, including especially the cell, Haldane asserted that ‘what is common to life is the chemical events’ (1949: 59) and so therefore life might be defined, though not reduced, to ‘a pattern of chemical processes’ (62) involving the use of oxygen, enzymes and so on. (more)

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'Here are phenomena that are passing strange'[edit]

Percival Lowell
H. G. Wells
The War of the Worlds

'An aroma of actuality' - Lowell vs. Wallace on the Nature of Knowledge and Life[edit]

Percival Lowell
Mars and Its Canals
Alfred Russell Wallace
Is Mars Habitable?

From Martians with- to Martians as- Microbes[edit]

Percival Lowell
Mars as the Abode of Life
Gilbert V. Levin
The Labeled Release Experiment – Past and Future

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Alien Communication[edit]

Voyager: Sounds of Earth
Scrambles of Earth

What is life?[edit]

Chris P. McKay
What Is Life -- and How Do We Search for It in Other Worlds?
Y. N. Zhuravlev, V. A. Avetisov
The Definition of Life in the Context of Its Origin

Astrobiology from the Perspective of Sustainability[edit]

Pabulo Henrique Rampelotto
Resistance of Microorganisms to Extreme Environmental Conditions and Its Contribution to Astrobiology
Seth D. Baum
Is Humanity Doomed? Insights from Astrobiology

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Sarah Kember
Creative Evolution?: The Quest for Life (On Mars)


A 'Frozen' PDF Version of this Living Book[edit]

Download a 'frozen' PDF version of this book as it appeared on 7th October 2011