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Planetary Habitability

Planetary Habitability

c.$130.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Astrobiology

  • Date Published: June 2016
  • availability: Not yet published - available from June 2016
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521516716

c.$ 130.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book presents a new perspective on the search for life on other planets and approaches habitability holistically, utilizing a complete range of environmental data including physical features as well as chemical signals. Based upon the fundamental premise that every observation may be the clue that later confirms or evidence of a habitable environment, it presents practical advice on organizing a field site, the range of tools available and how they can be used, and how the data can be organized as an assessment tool with applicability to multiple planetary environments. The role of analogue activities, in addition to analogue environments, in advancing the state-of-the-art in astrobiology is emphasised. Planetary Habitability is a manual for research astrobiologists in the field and an important reference for engineers planning and constructing missions to other planets. It can also be used in student seminars on this central theme in space exploration.

    • Provides a practical field manual for habitability assessment, with which data from astrobiology space missions can be interpreted
    • Highlights the importance of physical features, creating a different approach from the standard evaluation of chemical attributes
    • Studies data from Earth's stratigraphic record and human development to determine universal measurable aspects of habitability
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521516716
    • dimensions: 247 x 174 mm
    • contains: 39 b/w illus. 14 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from June 2016
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. General Concepts:
    1. What we presently know
    2. Assumptions about habitability
    3. Candidate features of habitability
    4. Variability over short time scales
    5. The role of environmental catastrophe in planetary habitability
    Part II. The Evolution of Earth into a Habitable Environment:
    6. Transition to a habitable planet
    7. Stratigraphic evidence for habitability
    Part III. Assessment of Habitability:
    8. Chemical habitability metrics
    9. Physical metrics
    10. Geographic and geologic metrics
    11. Astrophysical metrics
    12. Measurement approaches
    13. Instrumentation and tools
    Part IV. Human Alteration of Habitability Potential on Earth:
    14. Agriculture
    15. Industrial environmental pollution
    16. Human contributions to climate change
    Part V. Solar System Habitability Potential:
    17. Exchange of life between bodies in solar systems
    18. Habitability and human exploration in the solar system
    19. Fate of habitable environments in solar system evolution
    Part VI. Extra-Solar Habitability:
    20. Development of habitability models

  • Author

    Pamela Gales Conrad, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center
    Pamela Conrad is an astrobiologist and mineralogist working on planetary habitability assessment at the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, USA. She has worked for the past ten years on development of approaches and measurements for assessment of habitability on planetary surface environments. She is deputy principal investigator and payload investigation scientist for the SAM suite that is part of the Mars Science Laboratory payload of Curiosity. Dr Conrad's extensive field experience revolves around characterising habitable environments in polar deserts and testing rock targeting (triage) tools. She is presently studying the habitability potential of Mars via her involvement in the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

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