Origins of Life: A Cosmic Perspective presents an overview of the concepts, methods, and theories of astrobiology and origins of life research while presenting a summary of the latest findings. The book provides insight into the environments and processes that gave birth to life on our planet, which naturally informs our assessment of the probability that has arisen (or will arise) elsewhere. In addition, the book encourages readers to go beyond basic concepts, to explore topics in greater depth, and to engage in lively discussions.
The text is intended to be suitable for mid- and upper-level undergraduates and beginning graduate students and more generally as an introduction and overview for researchers and general readers seeking to follow current developments in this interdisciplinary field. Readers are assumed to have a basic grounding in the relevant sciences, but prior specialized knowledge is not required. Each chapter concludes with a list of questions and discussion topics as well as suggestions for further reading. Some questions can be answered with reference to material in the text, but others require further reading and some have no known answers. The intention is to encourage readers to go beyond basic concepts, to explore topics in greater depth, and, in a classroom setting, to engage in lively discussions with class members.