Rare Earth

Rare Earth : Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe

4.06 (793 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 1 business day
When will my order arrive?


What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? Questions such as these are investigated in this groundbreaking book. In doing so, the authors synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the universe. Everyone who has been thrilled by the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and the indications of life on Mars and the Jovian moon Europa will be fascinated by Rare Earth, and its implications for those who look to the heavens for companionship.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 338 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 26.16mm | 1,140g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 2000
  • 2 Tables, black and white; XXXIV, 338 p.
  • 0387952896
  • 9780387952895
  • 65,054

Table of contents

Contents Preface to the Paperback Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Introduction: The Astrobiology Revolution and the Rare Earth Hypothesis
Dead Zones of the Universe
Rare Earth Factors 1 Why Life Might Be Widespread in the Universe
2 Habitable Zones of the Universe
3 Building a Habitable Earth
4 Life's First Appearance on Earth
5 How to Build Animals
6 Snowball Earth
7 The Enigma of the Cambrian Explosion
8 Mass Extinctions and the Rare Earth Hypothesis
9 The Surprising Importance of Plate Tectonics
10 The Moon, Jupiter, and Life on Earth
11 Testing the Rare Earth Hypotheses
12 Assessing the Odds
13 Messengers from the Stars References
show more

Review quote

"...likely to cause a revolution in thinking..."
The New York Times

"...[the book] has hit the world of astrobiologists like a killer asteroid..."
Newsday (New York)

"...a sobering and valuable perspective..."

"...a startling new hypothesis..."
Library Journal

"...Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee offer a powerful argument..."
The Economist
"...provocative, significant, and sweeping..."
Northwest Science & Technology

"...a stellar example of clear writing..."
American Scientist
show more

About Peter D. Ward

Peter Ward, geboren 1980 in Essex, studierte Englische Literatur an der University of Southampton und arbeitete danach als Einkäufer bei Sainsbury's. Heute lebt er in London und schreibt phantastische Romane in der Tradition von Douglas Adams.
show more

Rating details

793 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 38% (303)
4 37% (297)
3 18% (142)
2 5% (42)
1 1% (9)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X