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'Twenty years ago we knew of exactly one planetary system: our own. Today in late 2012 we know of more than 800 confirmed planets around other stars, with a few thousand candidate systems awaiting confirmation. Life in the Universe is an introduction to Astrobiology for non-science majors. The topics covered in this course lie...
Twenty years ago we knew of exactly one planetary system: our own. Today in late 2012 we know of more than 800 confirmed planets around other stars, with a few thousand candidate systems awaiting confirmation.
Life in the Universe is an introduction to Astrobiology for non-science majors. The topics covered in this course lie at the interfaces between Astronomy, Chemistry, Biology, and the Earth and Planetary sciences. We will learn about scientists' ongoing quest for answers to some of the most fundamental human questions: How did life originate on Earth? Is there life on other worlds? Are we alone in the universe? What is the long-term future of life in the universe?
The course covers three primary topics:
The emergence and nature of life on the Earth
The potential for life on other planets in our Solar System
The search for habitable worlds and life around other stars in our Galaxy.
The course will begin with a brief introduction to modern science and astronomy, and end with a brief discussion of the long-term future of life on Earth and in the Universe in general.
The lectures were recorded live in my Astronomy 141 class during Winter Quarter 2012. The lecture slides were reformatted for this iTunes U course, primarily to remove copyrighted graphics derived from the textbook which, while covered under Fair Use in the classroom, cannot be used in a public version of the course like this.'