Monday, June 27, 2011

astrobiology - second edition

Back in 2006, Johns Hopkins University Press published Astrobiology: a brief introduction, which I had co-authored with Kevin Plaxco. Since then, the field has become quite popular. (I would love to take credit for it, but maybe it’s just dumb luck.) The quest for life or at least habitable planets in the rest of the Universe is now a universally supported endeavour to the extent that NASA now justifies much of its research and exploration work with that goal.

The discovery of extremophiles in the most unlikely locations here on Earth has played a large part in propping up our hopes that life may also exist elsewhere. Add to that the discovery of more than 500 extrasolar planets in just 16 years since the first one was reported, and you get a proper scientific gold rush.

Thus, our 2006 book was beginning to look out of date and there was a strong case for a new, revised and expanded edition, which we prepared over the last year or so. We have revised the entire text, added a glossary and lots of new illustrations. New discoveries are included up to and including last December’s arsenic eating bacteria. With all this, the book will be around 90 pages thicker than the first edition, but hopefully just as readable.

The cover design, which we all love, has been kept. Only the colour of the title will now be green instead of orange, so you can easily tell the second from the first edition. The new version should be available by September in the US, maybe a few weeks later in the rest of the world.

In preparation for the release, I’m also updating the astrobiology web pages, but that’s work in progress still. (At the moment the ISBN numbers and the cover are there, but the exact page number and amazon links are still missing.)

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