To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
How did life on Earth begin? How common is it elsewhere in the Universe? Written and edited by planetary scientists and astrobiologists, this undergraduate-level textbook provides an introduction to the origin and nature of life, the habitable environments in our solar system and the techniques most successfully used for discovery and characterisation of exoplanets. This third edition has been thoroughly revised to embrace the latest developments in this field. Updated topics include the origins of water on Earth, the exploration of habitable environments on Mars, Europa and Enceladus, and the burgeoning discoveries in exoplanetary systems. Ideal for introductory courses on the subject, the textbook is also well-suited for self-study. It highlights important concepts and techniques in boxed summaries, with questions and exercises throughout the text, with full solutions provided. Online resources, hosted at www.cambridge.org/features/planets, include selected figures from the book, self-assessment questions and sample tutor assignments.
In astronomical terms, the Solar System is our backyard. Set against the vast number of stars in our Galaxy, the colossal number of other galaxies in the observable universe and the incredible distances involved, our Solar System is an extremely tiny part of the Universe. However, this is where we live. It is where life on Earth developed, and it gives us our only vantage point from which to view the rest of the Universe.
Unlike other planetary systems, the objects in our Solar System are close enough to visit with space probes and to study long-term and (in some cases) in reasonable detail using telescopes. As well as revealing the splendour and diversity of the worlds that make up the Solar System, these studies allow us to try and understand ‘what makes the Solar System tick’. By doing this, we not only attempt to understand the system in which life evolved, but also gain an insight into the likely diversity of individual planetary bodies and their possible histories all over the Universe.
One of the more fundamental questions often asked is, ‘why is the Solar System the way it is?’ In answering this question, we have to address more detailed questions such as, how were the planets made? What were the planets made from? Were all the planets made from the same material? Why do they look so different? Do all the planets have the same internal structure? Does their surface appearance change with time? The answers to these questions lie in the physical and chemical processes that act on the bodies within the Solar System. Understanding these processes allows us to appreciate how the planets and the other Solar System bodies have formed and have been changed over time, and hence why they look the way they do today. In this book, you will be looking at these processes in detail.
Ongoing advances in Solar System exploration continue to reveal its splendour and diversity in remarkable detail. This undergraduate-level textbook presents fascinating descriptions and colour images of the bodies in the Solar System, the processes that occur upon and within them, and their origins and evolution. It highlights important concepts and techniques in boxed summaries, while questions and exercises are embedded at appropriate points throughout the text, with full solutions provided. Written and edited by a team of practising planetary scientists, this third edition has been updated to reflect our current knowledge. It is ideal for introductory courses on the subject, and is suitable for self-study. The text is supported by online resources, hosted at www.cambridge.org/solarsystem3, which include selected figures from the book, self-assessment questions and sample tutor assignments, with outlines of suggested answers.