Victoria S Meadows
Investigation in detail of research topics of current interest.
In the vastness of space, our home planet is the only known oasis for life. Whether the Universe harbors other worlds that can support even simple life is a question that has been pondered, yet remained unanswered, for over two thousand years. Motivated by the discoveries of hundreds of extrasolar planets, NASA and ESA have initiated a series of mission concept studies for space-based astronomical observatories to find and study extrasolar terrestrial planets. In the coming decades, these missions will determine whether extrasolar planets could, or indeed do, support life.
This course uses the search for habitable worlds as a focus for understanding the combination of astronomical, planetary and life processes that form and maintain habitable planets. In this course we will also explore the processes that lead to the loss of planetary habitability, and the astronomical and Earth-science based techniques required to search for and recognize the global characteristics of habitability and life.
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