134 pages , National Academies Press , 1990-01-15 The field of planetary biology and chemical evolution draws together experts in astronomy, paleobiology, biochemistry, and space science who work together to understand the evolution of living systems. This field has made exciting discoveries that shed light on how organic compounds came together to form self-replicating molecules--the origin of life. This volume updates that progress and offers recommendations on research programs--including an ambitious effort centered on Mars--to advance the field over the next 10 to 15 years. The book presents a wide range of data and research results on these and other issues: The biogenic elements and their interaction in the interstellar clouds and in solar nebulae. Early planetary environments and the conditions that lead to the origin of life. The evolution of cellular and multicellular life. The search for life outside the solar system. This volume will become required reading for anyone involved in the search for life's beginnings--including exobiologists, geoscientists, planetary scientists, and U.S. space and science policymakers.