About the Book
How did life appear on Earth? Recorded history shows that humanity has always wondered about this question, resulting in various colorful myths. Towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, thinkers and intellectuals replaced these myths with more rational theories, which were later tested by scientific studies.
Whereas modern organisms always appear from others, the very first life forms had to emerge in a different way.
As scientists started to characterize the molecular basis of life they realized that under the right conditions life might have been able to form by spontaneous assembly of atoms and molecules, given sufficient time. In this book, we describe several ways in which such a process might have occurred, based on decades of research.
To better understand this process, we first describe the basic chemical and cellular features of life. While we focus on the emergence of life on Earth, similar processes could have happed on other planets as well. We therefore dedicate part of the book to discussing probable locations in our solar system (and beyond), in which life may be present today.
We also go over some of the latest findings in this field, made by NASA and by other research organizations. When life finally appeared, the first life forms evolved into more complicated organisms. Much of this long process happened through the evolution of peptides and proteins, as discussed in the last chapter of the book.
The book uses plain language and dozens of colorful images to describe the material. To allow both scientists and non-scientists to enjoy the book, the more complicated aspects of the material, mainly chemical processes, were put in boxes and appendices. These are found at the end of the book, but are easily accessible from the main text.