Hello world. Have you guys heard about Coursera. It’s basically a place where you can learn stuff for free (tons of it). They are now offering a course on my field entitled “Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life”. Click here. The course is 5 weeks long and starts on the 28th of January 2013. So i am giving you a head start here. Register in the link above, and you will get an email remainder before the courses starts. The instructor is Charles Cockell whom is a Professor of Astrobiology at the University of Edinburg, and more importantly you don’t need any background knowledge to learn this.
Check out the preview for the program
This is what you are going to learn
Week 1: 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?
Week 2: 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?
Week 3: 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?
Week 4: How do we search for Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars and how would we detect life on them?
Week 5: What are the possibilities for intelligent life elsewhere? How would we deal with contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence and what would be the impact on society? Who would represent Earth?
Ps: There are assignments.
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