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2011 Annual Science Report

NASA Ames Research Center Reporting  |  SEP 2010 – AUG 2011

EPO Activity: Graduate-Level Astrobiology Course

Project Progress

The NAI Ames Team has maintained a graduate-level astrobiology course at the University of California at Santa Cruz in the Earth and Marine Sciences Department. Taught by Greg Laughlin, the course gives 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. At the heart of the class is a detailed study of extrasolar planets, including their dynamics, physical properties and detection methods. A series of lectures on terrestrial planet evolution and the molecular basis for life wraps up the course.

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.