David C. Catling
Introduction to the new science of astrobiology, study of the origin and evolution of life on Earth, and the search for microbial and intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Designed for non-science, liberal arts majors. Offered: jointly with ASTBIO 115/ASTR 115/ESS 115/BIOL 114.
For thousands of years, humanity has pondered the possible existence of life on other worlds in our Solar System, and whether there are planets with life elsewhere. In the last few decades scientific and technological advances have allowed us to explore other planets in our Solar System and discover planets around other stars. This new knowledge and capability has given birth to the science of Astrobiology, the interdisciplinary study of life in the Universe, its origin, evolution, distribution and future. This course will provide an introduction to the many topics that encompass astrobiological research today, including the search for habitable environments and life in our Solar system, the origin and extremes of life, the history of life on Earth, and the search for habitable environments, and life and intelligence, beyond our Solar System.
Please note that this course is designed for non-science majors. Th level is inappropriate for science majors.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The required textbook is "Life in the Universe" (2nd edition) by Bennett and Shostak. Appropriate preparation would be to start reading the textbook.
Class assignments and grading