Astrobiologyis the study of life in the universe and the chemistry, physics, and adaptations that influence its origin, evolution and destiny. It is an interdisciplinary science encompassing aspects of biology, chemistry, geology and astronomy.
This technology-enabled fully online third level science elective course includes short video talks from specialists in these fields embedded and other short video presentations embedded into an electronic book each week threaded with engaging narrative on this interesting subject. Students have the opportunity of participating in an interactive Virtual Field Trip experience, and engaging forum discussion.
Through these media, students will learn how life is strongly coupled with its environment and the implications for the search for life on other worlds in our solar system and beyond. They will learn how evidence of life can be found in the geological record on Earth, how the oxygenation of the Earth gave rise to complex life, how evolution is demonstrated, and why the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life - whether microbial or intelligent - is important to our understanding of our place in space.
Electronic book topics will cover the origin of life and its philosophical implications, extremophiles, the Tree of Life, fossil records, the history and evolution of Earth and its biosphere, the interactions of life and its environment, the bid to find Earth-like extra-solar planets, planetary and galactic habitable zones, searching for life on Mars and beyond, and more.
Students from all science disciplines are encouraged to consider this course providing they have completed 48 units of credit in science. Interdisciplinary tutorials are provided each week to ensure all students have the same basic knowledge of any particular discipline.
From 2019, term planning makes it possible to take the second level course BEES2741: Introduction to astrobiology: Life in the universe in the term prior to BEES6741.
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