2010 Annual Science Report

NASA Ames Research Center Reporting  |  SEP 2009 – AUG 2010

EPO Activity: Astrobiology Graduate Course

Project Progress

A graduate-level astrobiology course was implemented at the University of California at Santa Cruz in the Earth and Marine Sciences Department. Taught by Greg Laughlin, the course is designed to give a broad-based introduction to the various facets of the field of astrobiology. The class begins with an overview of the Big Bang and concordance cosmology, then moves into galaxy, star and planet formation. The heart of the class is a detailed study of extrasolar planets, including their dynamics, physical properties, and methods for detection. Also covered is terrestrial planet detection. The course ends with a series of lectures on terrestrial planet evolution and the molecular basis for life.

In keeping with NASA’s first of three education goals, “Strengthen NASA and the Nation’s future workforce,” this collaborative course between UC Santa Cruz and the NAI Ames Team, integrates both engineering and science and represents workforce training for future NASA experts.