2009 Annual Science Report

Carnegie Institution of Washington Reporting  |  JUL 2008 – AUG 2009

EPO Activity: Astrobiology Course at East Carolina University

Project Progress

A 3-credit course entitled “Astrobiology: Life in a Planetary Context” was offered at East Carolina University in Fall 2009 to upper level undergraduate and graduate students. The course provides an overview of the field of Astrobiology using hands-on exercises to encourage participation and creativity. Matt Schrenk of the CIW team designed and implemented the course. Every semester, the course integrates several world-renowned guest speakers conducting active research in the various sub-disciplines of Astrobiology. Astrobiology explores the relevance of planetary scale processes to the study of biology, in addition to how biology shapes its’ environment. Some of the topics include the origins and early evolution of life, the implications of biological and habitat diversity, the habitability of extraterrestrial environments, and the search for life elsewhere.