Professors: Donna M. Jurdy & Seth Stein
Grader: Nooshin Saloor
(Artist's conception of a recently-discovered "young" planet orbiting a star in the Hydra constellation. This may be the formation of a "rocky" planet similar to Earth.)
We will investigate whether intelligent life is rare or common in the universe, exploring the conditions under which the formation and evolution of a planet allow it to develop and support intelligent life. Using our solar system and Earth as our only definite example of a planet supporting life, we will consider global geophysical and geochemical processes critical in developing our planet such that sentient beings evolved. The prospects for life elsewhere within our solar system and beyond will be discussed. The rapidly expanding database of exoplanets - those around other stars - identified, and specifically the discoveries by NASA's ongoing Kepler mission will be analyzed. Discovery Missions to the outer solar system will be featured in the course.
Ward, P. D. & D. Brownlee, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Rare in the Universe, Springer, 2004, ISBN 0387952896.
Langmuir, C. H. and W. Broecker, How to Build a Habitable Planet, Princeton Univ. Press, 2012, ISBN 9780691140063.
(Reading assignments: RE# denotes chapters for Rare Earth; HP# for Habitable Planet)
Both books on Reserve at Main Library; Mudd Science and Engineering Library, (SEL), not available.
Topics Covered and Dates (Syllabus)
(RE4,5; HP13; PS3)
(RE8; HP14; PS5)
(RE9; HP10; PS6)
*** Enceladus *** ELF Presentation
*** Titan *** TiME Presentation
*** Kuiper Belt ***         Whipple Presentation
*** Comets *** CoRe Presentation
(RE10,11; HP12; PS7)
#### Jason Steffen, UNLV ####  Kepler Presentation
*** Mars, Life Experiment *** James Hedrick, Chem. Eng
Reasons for the 'Great Silence' Class Response (opinions)
Hand in 2 - (TWO) hard (i.e. paper) copies to Donna Jurdy's mailbox (Tech F379) or Office (F496)
Also hand in any earlier draft(s) that we marked up and commented upon.
|Jupiter (and other outer planets) Satellites:
||Lectures from American Geophysical Union Conferences:
||Films about space exploration and First Contact:
||Solar System Images:
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