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Evolution of a Habitable World

2nd Edition

$81.99 (X)

  • Date Published: April 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521615198

$ 81.99 (X)

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About the Authors
  • Fully updated throughout, including revised illustrations and new images from NASA missions, this new edition provides an overview of Earth's history from a planetary science perspective for Earth science undergraduates. Earth's evolution is described in the context of what we know about other planets and the cosmos at large, from the origin of the cosmos to the processes that shape planetary environments and from the origins of life to the inner workings of cells. Astronomy, earth science, planetary science and astrobiology are integrated to give students the whole picture of how the Earth has come to its present state and an understanding of the relationship between key ideas in different fields. The book presents concepts in nontechnical language and mathematical treatments are avoided where possible. New end-of-chapter summaries and questions allow students to check their understanding and critical thinking is emphasized to encourage students to explore ideas scientifically for themselves.

    • Integrates astronomy, Earth science, planetary science and astrobiology to give students the whole picture of how the Earth has come to its present state
    • Presents concepts in nontechnical language and avoids mathematical treatments where possible, allowing students to grasp concepts without wading through complex maths
    • New end-of-chapter summaries and questions allow students to check their understanding and encourage wider critical thinking
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The keenly awaited second edition of Lunine’s book does not disappoint. The clarity of writing and level of scholarship remain high, and there is no other treatment of our planet with this interdisciplinary breadth. As we hone in on Earth-like worlds far from home, this book is a perfect component for an undergraduate astronomy or astrobiology course."
    Chris Impey, University Distinguished Professor, University of Arizona

    "Lunine focusses on the Earth as a system, and sets it in context in comparison with other Solar System bodies. This is how a geoscience text should be done these days."
    David A. Rothery, The Open University

    "Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World brings the knowledge gained by 50 years of Solar System exploration back to Earth and infuses the often hazy first half of Earth history with new energy and insight, providing a unique perspective on the entire history of our home planet.”
    James Head, Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences, Brown University

    "Lunine’s astrobiological perspective on Earth history is a breath of fresh air, drawing on the entire breadth of science to address fundamental questions about the origins of life, and the development of the systems that sustain it here on Earth, in a manner that quickly and directly connects to students."
    Marshall Bartlett, Chair of Physics, Hollins University

    "… I’ve never seen anything quite like it … This would be a spectacular text for a course providing a perspective on Earth and planetary science and modern issues in our stewardship of the Earth for students majoring in fields outside the geosciences … It could even give geology students perspective on the 'deep time' that is beyond the vast majority of Earth's geologic record, and on Earth's place in the solar system … Jonathan Lunine is a scientist who knows his planetary climates, having studied atmospheres of worlds inside and outside our solar system, and who has done lots of recent work on astrobiology."
    Emily Lakdawalla, The Planetary Society (

    "Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World succeeds remarkably in providing a well-balanced, enjoyable, and crystal clear summary of a broad set of topics that together introduce Earth and life in its complexity and interconnectedness. The book is rich in up-to-date research and it simultaneously provides a breadth and depth that are unmatched - students, interested laymen, and researchers will all enjoying reading it. What set[s] Lunine's text apart from the increasing number of great astrobiology books [is] the unmatched clarity of the text, its logical and well-balanced structure, and the surprising level of detail that the book succeeds in providing over the breadth of topics covered. Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World is an excellent book for geosciences, planetary sciences, and astrobiology - it is set to be a classic, like its first edition was."
    Daniel Apai, Meteoritics and Planetary Science

    "When this book arrived for review and I scanned the contents my first thought was, "This looks like a great asset to my current OU studies …" and by and large I have to say it has been a good companion. … well structured and easy enough to read … I enjoyed this book …"
    David Swain, Open University Geological Society Journal

    "Lunine always shows us the exact nature of the evidence that leads scientists to be able to piece together the jigsaw puzzle they are trying to solve. He does this with careful referencing and good use of figures, so that the interested reader will always know where to look up more information, or investigate the data more deeply themselves."
    Vijay Tymms, New Directions

    'I marvelled at the huge scope of science, and the amount of integration of different fields that astrobiologists have achieved. This book would be extremely useful to anyone with gaps in their astrobiology knowledge; if the book does not completely fill them, it will certainly point you to other sources that can. … It is a mine of treasure in references and scientific leads, and it also highlights areas that are not yet fully understood, where more research can be undertaken. I definitely recommend it to all who want to know more about how we can study astrobiology, and also to the nonmathematical, for while we do meet a few equations and methods, they are kept as simple as possible.' Alice Sheppard, Astrobiology Society of Britain (

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: April 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521615198
    • length: 327 pages
    • dimensions: 273 x 215 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.96kg
    • contains: 80 b/w illus. 10 colour illus. 10 tables 100 exercises
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Astronomical Planet:
    1. An introductory tour of Earth's cosmic neighbourhood
    2. Largest and smallest scales
    3. Forces and energy
    4. Fusion, fission, sunlight, and element formation
    Part II. The Measurable Planet: Tools to Discern the History of Earth and the Planets:
    5. Determination of cosmic and terrestrial ages
    6. Other uses of isotopes for Earth history
    7. Relative age dating of cosmic and terrestrial events: the cratering record
    8. Relative age dating of terrestrial events: geologic layering and geologic time
    9. Plate tectonics: an introduction to the process
    Part III. The Historical Planet: Earth and Solar System through Time:
    10. Formation of the solar system
    11. The Hadean Earth
    12. The Archean eon and the origin of life: i. Properties of and sites for life
    13. The Archean eon and the origin of life: ii. Mechanisms
    14. The first greenhouse crisis: the faint early sun
    15. Climate histories of Mars and Venus, and the habitability of planets
    16. Earth in transition: from the Archean to the Proterozoic
    17. The oxygen revolution
    18. The Phanerozoic: flowering and extinction of complex life
    19. Climate change across the Phanerozoic
    20. Toward the age of humankind
    Part IV. The Once and Future Planet:
    21. Climate change over the past 100,000 years
    22. Human-induced global warming
    23. Limited resources: the human dilemma
    24. Coda: the once and future Earth

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    Jonathan I. Lunine

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  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Astronomy: The Solar System
    • Earth Systems Science
    • Elementary Astronomy
    • Evolution of the Earth
    • GIS in Environmental and Earth Science
    • Geology and earth History
    • History and Evolution of Life
    • Principles of Earth History
    • Space Science
    • The Habitable Earth
  • Author

    Jonathan I. Lunine, Cornell University, New York
    Jonathan I. Lunine is the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences at Cornell University. His research interests center broadly on planetary origin and evolution, in our solar system and around other stars. He works as an interdisciplinary scientist on the Cassini mission to Saturn and on the James Webb Space Telescope, and is also a co-investigator on the Juno mission which launched for Jupiter in August 2011. Dr Lunine is the author of over 230 scientific papers and besides the first edition of this book (Cambridge University Press, 1999), he has also written Astrobiology: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2005). He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union.

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