Key:    Evans = the required textbook, Neal Evans's Extraterrestrial Life, fifth edition.
           Drake = term in the Drake Equation (see Evans, Appendix 5).
 = night-time class meeting, 7-9 PM.
N  = on-line examination, 11AM-6 PM.

 

Date

Subject

Reading

Drake

Introduction to astrobiology: the scientific study of Genesis, and why now is a particularly exciting time for this study
1 1 September 2015 Scientific facts, theory, and speculation, as opposed to Making Stuff Up.    
2 3 September 2015 Lifespan of the Universe, the Galaxy and the Solar system: time enough for evolution.    
3 8 September 2015 The Drake equation; Life, the components of life, and its definition. Evans, pp 1-6  
A place to stand: cosmic evolution, the origins of the matter and bodies in the Universe, and of the molecular building blocks of life.
4 10 September 2015 Nuclear-chemical evolution of the Universe and the genesis of the chemical elements. Evans, 7-13  
5 15 September 2015 Interstellar molecular clouds: the molecules of life as found in interstellar space, and the formation of stars and protoplanetary disks. Evans, 14-23 R* = 16 stars/yr
6 17 September 2015
7 22 September 2015 The evolution of protoplanetary disks and the formation of planets. Evans, 24-34  
8 24 September 2015 The successful search for extrasolar planets.   fp = 1
9 29 September 2015 Habitability of planets. Evans, 35-42 ne = 0.25
30 September 2015 Review session for Exam #1: 7PM, 115 Harkness, with Ryan Rubenzahl presiding.  
N 1 October 2015 Exam #1, covering all subjects discussed to date.  
J 5-6 October 2015 Fall Break  
Terrestrial evolution, from simple molecules to intelligent organisms.
10 8 October 2015 Chemical evolution and the molecular basis of life on Earth. Evans, 43-60  
11 13 October 2015
12 15 October 2015 The transition to carbon-based life; RNA World. Evans, 61-66  
13 20 October 2015 Alternatives to carbon-based life. Evans, 67-72  
14 22 October 2015 The odds for/against life's occurrence, and the prospects for life elsewhere in the inner Solar system. Evans, 73-83 fl = 0.36
15 27 October 2015 The prospects for life elsewhere in the outer Solar system: the moons of Jupiter and Saturn; the Kuiper Belt and the comets, and the AST 106 Habitability Ratings.  
16 29 October 2015 Biological evolution: the origin of species. Evans, 84-100  
17 3 November 2015
18 5 November 2015 The emergence of intelligence. Evans, 100-108  
9 November 2015 Review session for Exam #2: 7PM, 115 Harkness, with Adam Stenson presiding.  
N 10 November 2015 Exam #2, emphasizing subjects introduced since Exam #1.  
The origin and fate of technological civilizations like ours, and the number of civilizations we might expect to find.
19 12 November 2015 Cultural evolution: the origin and differentiation of Earth's civilizations, the development of technology, and the convergence on a global populace. Evans, 109-130 fi = 0.003
f
C = 0.5
20 17 November 2015
21 19 November 2015 Disasters, natural and otherwise, and the lifetimes of technological civilizations. Evans, 120-139  
22 24 November 2015
J 25-29 November 2015 Thanksgiving Break  
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
23 1 December 2015 How to find extraterrestrial civilizations: communication, space travel and its associated health hazards, and Contact. Evans, 140-164 L = 1000 yr
or 1.5 Gyr
N ~ 106
r ~
100 ly
24 3 December 2015
25 8 December 2015 Have we been visited by intelligent extraterrestrials? Evans, 165-167  
9 December 2015 Review session for Exam #3: 7PM, 115 Harkness, with Saad Usmani presiding.  
N 10 December 2015 Exam #3, emphasizing subjects introduced since Exam #2.