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A281 - Astrobiology

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ASTR 281 Explores the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology, focusing on life's origins, habitability, and the possibility of life elsewhere gained through investigations of habitable environments on Earth and in our solar system. We will explore the field using results from current space missions, and possibilities for future space exploration. One theme of the course is the quest for an understanding of the origin and cosmic distribution of life. This topic embraces the search for life on Mars, efforts to find planets around other stars, an evaluation of the UFO phenomenon, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Another theme involves the issue of how humans can participate directly in space exploration, what resources are available in space, the challenges of space flight and how colonization of the Moon and planets might proceed. The emphasis of the course will shift between these two main themes depending on the instructor and the current modes of space exploration being planned and pursued worldwide.

Course Format - The course will be a combination of lecture and discussion and integrates clickers into the classroom. Postdocs in the UH NASA Astrobiology group will help with the class, sharing lectures in their area of expertise.

Requirements - Astronomy 110 or equivalent and strong interest in planetary science and exploration. The course is intended to be largely non-mathematical in format.

Instructor - Karen Meech, Astronomer. Campus office hours: PSB 211, Tu/Th 10:00-12:00, or at the Institute for Astronomy, B-110 by appointment only. TA - Kirsten Larson.

Textbook - None. Readings will be provided in class and via this web site. Clickers are required.

Last modified: February 10, 2014
Karen Meech
Institute for Astronomy
2680 Woodlawn Drive
Honolulu, HI 96822
meech@ifa.hawaii.edu