ASTR 107
Astrobiology Fall 2021
Division III
Cross-listed GEOS 107 / ASTR 107

Class Details

Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe. As such it is an inherently interdisciplinary field, incorporating all of the basic natural sciences: biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and the earth sciences, as well as aspects of philosophy, sociology, and engineering. Questions we will seek answers to in this class include: How, why, when, and where did life evolve on Earth, and what does that tell us about how it might evolve elsewhere? What are the chances that there is life on other planets and moons in our solar system, and why? Are there habitable planets elsewhere in the universe, and will we ever truly know if any of them contain life? We will approach these questions using a combination of lectures, activities, labs, homework assignments, and visits from some of the country’s leading Astrobiology researchers. Examples of lab and homework activities include exploring our definition of life by making observations about living and non-living systems, examining evidence for ancient habitable environments in rocks, and modeling chemical fingerprinting tools used by Mars rovers. Assessment will be based on participation, quizzes, labs and homework assignments, and a final group project where students will present a mock NASA mission proposal. This course requires no previous experience in the sciences. This course is in the Sediments and Life group for the Geosciences major.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; Lectures will be partially flipped with student responsible for watching videos before class; class time will be split between short lectures, small group activities, and class discussions. Lab groups will meet in person every other week and have group project work on alternate weeks that may be done virtually or in person.
Limit: 46
Expected: 46
Class#: 1184
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Assessment will be based on participation, quizzes, labs and homework assignments, and a final group project where students will present a mock NASA mission proposal.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first year and second year students, Geosciences majors
Unit Notes: This course counts towards the GEOS Group B Electives - Sediments and Life
Distributions: Division III
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
GEOS 107 Division III ASTR 107 Division III
Attributes: GEOS Group B Electives - Sediments + Life

Class Grid

Updated 5:17 am

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