by Monica Grady
Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2001. 96 pages.

In her brief but lavishly illustrated introduction to astrobiology, Grady starts at the very beginning: the Big Bang. She then lucidly discusses the conditions necessary for the emergence of life, considering both the early earth and the possibility of life elsewhere in the solar system, as well as the search for life beyond the solar system. Writes the reviewer for Nature, "The broad expertise involved in astrobiology is always a challenge and even 'experts' will benefit from such an informative overview." Grady is Head of the Petrology and Meteoritics Division of the Natural History Museum in London.