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2009 Annual Science Report

Pennsylvania State University Reporting  |  JUL 2008 – AUG 2009

EPO Activity: Astrobiology Undergraduate Minor

Project Progress

Undergraduate students at Penn State can participate in the Astrobiology Undergraduate Minor, which is designed to educate students in the varied scientific disciplines that contribute to our general understanding of life, the origin of life, the past history of life on Earth, possible futures for life on Earth, and the possible existence of life on other planetary environments. The principle goal of the minor is to develop students literacy in astrobiology so that they can critically evaluate claims related to this field. Dr. Matthew Fantle, PSARC co-investigator, manages the program. Five Astrobiology Minors graduated in 2008, and two in 2009. Another five undergraduate students are currently enrolled.

Over 1200 students per year are enrolled in 20 Astrobiology-related courses.

Astrobiology Minor Web site:

PSARC also supports an undergraduate student research program for students who are enrolled in the Astrobiology Minor, have taken undergraduate Astrobiology classes, or have expressed particular interest in Astrobiology. Students from this program also often participate in the yearly Penn State Undergraduate Research Poster Session. Many of these students are also planning to attend the bi-annual Astrobiology Science Conference in Spring 2010 with support from PSARC for travel expenses.