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"Two brilliant scientists - Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee, a paleontologist and an astronomer respectively - are helping to bring this groundbreaking work to a popular audience. Vanguards of a new field called astrobiology - the science of how planets and organisms live and die - Ward and Brownlee combine the discoveries of astronomers, Earth scientists, and those in other scientific disciplines. Astronomers are well-poised to study the end of our world, since they have studied the ends of other worlds, while paleontologists can tell us about "worlds" that have already ended on our planet, such as the death of dinosaurs and other signposts in the rock and fossil record.". "Ward and Brownlee present a comprehensive portrait of Earth's ultimate fate, allowing us to understand and appreciate how our planet sustains itself, and offer a glimpse at our place in the cosmic order. As they depict the process of planetary evolution, they peer deep into the future destiny of Earth, showing us that we are living near or shortly after Earth's biological peak. Eventually, the process of planetary evolution will reverse itself; life as we know it will subside until only the simplest forms remain. In time they, too, will disappear. The oceans will evaporate, the atmosphere will degrade, and as the sun slowly expands, Earth will eventually meet a fiery end."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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