MOOC Review: Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life


Course   information

Institution University of Edinburgh
Course Astrobiology and the   Search for Extraterrestrial Life
Date Winter 2013
Platform coursera

Course content

Topics What is life and what are the definitions of life? What do we know about the origin of life and what are the current hypotheses for how it originated on the Earth?

What was the environment of early Earth like when life first emerged and what do we know about life on the earliest Earth? How did life evolve to cope with survival in extreme environments? What have been the major evolutionary transitions of life on the Earth?

What are the prospects for life on other planetary bodies in our Solar System and how do we go about searching for it? What conditions are required for a planet to be habitable?

How do we search for Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars and how would we detect life on them?

What are the possibilities for intelligent life elsewhere? How would we deal with contact with an extra-terrestrial intelligence and what would be the impact on society? Who would represent Earth?

Format Lecture videos


Discussion Forum


Target group Beginner





Length 5 weeks
Weekly workload 4 hours/week


Overall impression 5/10
Summary This course is a very basic introduction into astrobiology. Therefore the course will give you   the big picture about the main topics of astrobiology, with the disadvantage that a lot of your question stay open. So it is a good beginner course but if you want to learn more about astrobiology you have to take another course which has more advanced topics.
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