Are we alone in the Universe? The science of astrobiology combines work at the forefront of both astronomy and biology to try to answer this question. Students will discuss the most basic definition of life and what it means to be a living creature. Examples of life found in extreme conditions here on the Earth will be used to think about the possibility of life being found in hostile environments in space, on Mars or the moons of Jupiter, for example. What sorts of locations exist in our Solar System that might be capable of harboring life? Students will also learn about the most recent discoveries of planets around other stars, and discuss the prospects of life being able to survive there, and our chances of being able to actually see it. They will calculate the odds of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the universe using the Drake equation. Students will also employ critical thinking skills to distinguish science from pseudoscience in the case of UFOs. Students who complete course requirements at the A and B levels will be recommended for 1 unit of high school credit.
||Properties of Life -- What is Life? How to Identify Life|
|Wednesday, June 18
||Extremes of Life -- Extreme
Conditions on Earth Habitability
in the Solar System?
Where Did Life Come From -- The Origin of Life in Space?
||Extrasolar Planets --
How to Detect Extrasolar Planets Properties of Extrasolar Planets
Extraterrestrial Intelligence -- UFOs
Intelligence -- SETI
Intelligence -- The
What Would Aliens Look Like? -- The Design-an-Alien Project
|Design an alien
||80% - 89%
||70% - 79%
||60% - 69%
Outside sources for additional reading (optional)
Astrobiology, A Brief Introduction Plaxco & Gross (2006)
Life in the Universe: A Beginner's Guide Dartnell (2007)
Life in the Universe Bennett & Shostak (2007)
Lonely Planets: the Natural Philosophy of Alien Life Grinspoon (2004)
The Living Cosmos: Our Search for Life in the Universe Impey (2007)