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last updated: 10/4/2010

Astrobiology Pathfinder (Swain Hall Library)

Astrobiology Pathfinder


What is Astrobiology?

Astrobiology is a new area of study that seeks to study life that may occur beyond the Earth. It encompasses a range of areas in both Biology and Astronomy.  For a more detailed explanation of astrobiology please see the following URL from



Books in Swain Hall Library:


Astrobiology : a multidisciplinary approach / Jonathran I. Lunine.

San Franciso : Pearson Addison Wesley, c2005.

Call no. QH325 .L86 2005

            This text gives a good view of many different aspects of Astrobiology.  It covers a variety of topics such as evolutionary biology and atmospheric conditions necessary for the development of life.  It is a very good resource for anyone wanting exposure to a variety of topics in Astrobiology. 


Many skies : alternative histories of the sun, moon, planets, and stars by Arthur Upgren

New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, c2005.

Call no. QB502 .U64 2005

This book makes speculations about what things would be like if the celestial conditions for the Earth were different.  It also makes hypotheses about some of the different effects humans could have on a future Earth, such as increasing light pollution and the effects of space junk.


The Living Universe : NASA and the Development of Astrobiology by Steven J. Dick and James E. Strick

New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, c2004

Call No. New Book on Order for Swain Hall Library

This book chronicles the history of Exobiology and the development of Astrobiology.


Between Necessity and Probability : Searching for the Definition and Origin of Life by Radu Popa

Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2004.

Call no. QH325 .P64 2004

This book investigates the origins of life and explores many of the developments required for it to begin.


Astrobiology, the Origin of Life and the Death of Darwinism : Evolutionary Metamorphosis by Rhawn Joseph

San Jose, Ca. : University Press California, c2001.

Call No. QH325 .J67 2001

The author of this book makes arguments for an extraterrestrial origin for life on Earth.  


Instruments, methods, and missions for astrobiology I, II, III, & IV

Bellingham, Wash., USA : SPIE, c1999.

Call #’s  QR130 .I53 1998;  QR130 .I62 1999;  QR130 .I55 2000;  QR130 .I56 2002

These are proceedings from four different conferences of the International Society for Optical Engineering.  Each volume is a collection of papers that were presented at a conference dealing with the science of exobiology and astrobiology.   The papers focus mainly on methods for detecting and studying extraterrestrial life.  Much of the material is technical, but it provides a good snapshot of current research in the area of Astrobiology. 


Astrophysics : a primer by Wolfgang Kundt

Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2001.

Call no.  QB461 .K75 2001

This book is a collection of lecture notes that deal with a variety of topics in the area of Astrophysics, including Astrobiology. 


Rare earth : why complex life is uncommon in the universe by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee

New York : Copernicus, c2000.

Call No. QB54 .W336 2000

This book discusses conditions necessary for the development of life. It makes an argument that complex multi-cellular life forms, like those found on earth, are extremely rare in the Universe.


Comets and the origin and evolution of life / Paul J. Thomas, Christopher F. Chyba, Christopher P. McKay, editors.

New York : Springer, c1997.

Call no. QB721 .T37 1997

This book discusses the role that comets and other space born objects may have had in the development of life on Earth.


Books on Astrobiology in other IU Bloomington Libraries:


An introduction to astrobiology / edited by Iain Gilmour and Mark A. Sephton.

[Milton Keynes, UK] : Open University ; [Cambridge, UK] : Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Call No. QH325 .I598 2004 at the Life Science Library

This is a basic introductory text for the science of Astrobiology.  It is designed for elementary college level astrobiology courses.


Life in the universe : expectations and constraints by Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Louis N. Irwin.

Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2004.

Call no. QH341 .S339 2004 at Geosciences Library

This book attempts to define life and what makes it special.  It also speculates on life developing with characteristics very different from our own, such as using something besides carbon for building blocks and obtaining energy from sources besides the Sun. 


The life and death of planet earth : how the new science of astrobiology charts the ultimate fate of our world by Peter D. Ward, Donald Brownlee.

New York : Times Books, 2003, c2002.

Call no. QB638.8 .W37 2003 at Wells Library

This book is by the authors of Rare Earth.  In this book they discuss the changes Earth may go through in the future and how these changes may influence humans.


Intelligent life in the universe : from common origins to the future of humanity by Peter Ulmschneider

New York : Springer-Verlag, 2003.

Call no. QH325 .U46 2003 at Life Science Library

This book discusses intelligent life that may exist in the observable universe and makes speculations on its possible characteristics.


Astrobiology : the quest for the conditions of life / Gerda Horneck, Christa Baumstark-Khan, (eds)

Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2002.

Call No. QH325 .A78 2002 at Life Science Library

This book is a collection of papers that discuss different aspects of astrobiology and life in our solar system.


The new science of astrobiology : from genesis of the living cell to evolution of intelligent behavior in the universe by Julian Chela-Flores.

Dordrecht ; Boston : Kluwer Academic Publishers, c2001.

Call no. QH327 .C54 2001 at Life Science Library

This book is designed for the layman. It has a broad overview of the science of astrobiology.  The last portion of the book contains a glossary, notes, charts, and other resources to help give a window into the new science of Astrobiology.


Astrobiology / Monica M. Grady.

Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Press ; London : In association with the Natural History Museum, c2001.

Call no.  QB54 .G73 2001 at Business/SPEA Library

This is a shorter book produced by the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. It contains many good color pictures and discuses the emergence of life on Earth.  It also examines some of the other places in our solar system where life may exist.       


Journey to diverse microbial worlds : adaptation to exotic environments  edited by Joseph Seckbach

Dordrecht ; Boston : Kluwer Academic, c2000.

Call no. QR100.9 .J68 2000

This book examines some of the extreme conditions in which microorganisms exist on Earth.  The book examines some of the extreme conditions extraterrestrial life might exist under.


Academic Journals on Astrobiology:


International journal of astrobiology

(This is a new journal that IU has an order for but as of 3/28/05 it has not been fully acquired and made available.)





Web of Science

This is a very good database to search for articles on Astrobiology and related fields.  Much of its contents can be very subject specific and complex.  The articles below are an example of some of the material that is available though this database.

Scalo J, Wheeler JC
Sample of some search results from Web of Science

Astrophysical and astrobiological implications of gamma-ray burst properties 
ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 566 (2): 723-737 Part 1
FEB 20 2002


Menou K, Tabachnik S
Dynamical habitability of known extra solar planetary systems 
ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 583 (1): 473-488 Part 1
JAN 20 2003


Chyba CF, Phillips CB
Europa as an abode of life 


The NASA Astrophysics Data System

This is a free database funded by NASA and maintained by Harvard.  It contains over 4.2 million records on the following subject areas: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Instrumentation, Physics and Geophysics, and preprints in Astronomy. 


Ebsco Academic Search Premier

Ebsco Academic Search Premier is a very large multi-disciplinary database that indexes a variety of journals as well as offering full text access to a lot of material. This is a good starting point for someone doing research on Astrobiology, but the database may lack indexing of some of the harder science that some people may be seeking. 




Astrobiology at NASA

This is NASA’s homepage for astrobiology.  It contains a great deal of information about Astrobiology and associated research at NASA.


Homepage of the NASA Astrobiology Institute

            This is the Homepage of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI).  NAI is a group  in NASA that collaborates with Lead Teams located around the county, including one here at Indiana University, Bloomington, to conduct research in the area of Astrobiology.

The following link is a list of all the Lead Teams the institute works with

This is a website with links to a variety of resources oriented towards Astrobiology.


Homepage of the SETI Institute

This is the homepage of the SETI Institute.  This organization is dedicated to exploring multiple aspects of life in our universe.  This group is probably most well known for their search for extraterrestrial radio signals. 


NASA Astrobiology Institute at Indiana University Bloomington

This appears to be the homepage of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at IU.  The page currently lacks any substantial information, but it may become a valuable resource on Information about Astrobiology at IU if more information is added.  For more information about Astrobiology at IU see the staff information page on Lisa Pratt listed below.


Faculty Member Homepage for Lisa M. Pratt

This is the homepage of Lisa Pratt the IU Faculty member heading up IU’s Astrobiology initiative with NASA.  Her research seems to be mostly centered around life and biochemistry below the surface of the Earth.   

Sample of Publications by Lisa Pratt:


Brüchert, V. and Pratt, L. M., 1999, Stable sulfur isotopic evidence for reactive carbon limited bacterial sulfate reduction. Aquatic Geochemistry, 5, 249-268.


Fouke, B. W., Farmer, J., Des Marais, D. J., Pratt, L., Sturchio, N. C., Burns, P. C. and Discipulo, M. K., 2000, Depositional facies and aqueous-solid geochemistry of travertine-depositing hot springs (Angel Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, USA). Journal of Sedimentary Research, 70, 565-585.


Mora, G. and Pratt, L.M., 2001, Isotopic evidence for cooler and drier conditions in the tropical Andes during the last glacial stage. Geology, 29, 519-522.


LoDuca, S.T. and Pratt, L.M., in press, Stable carbon isotope compositions of compression fossils from Lower Paleozoic Konservat-Lagerstäten. Palaios.


Indiana Princeton Tennessee Astrobiology Initiative

This is the website of a collaborative effort between IU and 8 other organizations to research the properties of life below the Earth’s surface.  The goal of this research is to help design methods to detect life below the surface of the planet Mars. 


Astrobiology at Princeton

This is a website that features information about Astrobiology research at Princeton.  At this point the site is not very good and is limited in the information it presents. The site does list information about some researchers in Astrobiology at Princeton as well as information about classes and other presentations on Astrobiology at Princeton.


Courses on Astrobiology


At IU in the Astronomy/Astrophysics Dept.

A103: The Search for Habitable Planets (FALL 2005)


Previous Course Taught at IU on Astrobiology

E105: The Search for Habitable Planets, Fall 2004


Course on Astrobiology Taught at Princeton in the Past

AST 255/GEO 255/EEB 255: Life in the Universe; Fall 2004

2nd URL:



LC Call number Ranges for Browsing


QB54 Life on other planets

QH327-QH328 Space Biology

last updated: 10/4/2010