Who says there’s no room for alien hunters in higher education? Certainly not Edinburgh University, that’s for sure. Located in the capital city of Scotland, the prestigious university is about to begin a free online program called “Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life.” The course revolves around the quest to find alien life in the universe.
The classes will cover a wide range of topics. They will touch on the potential to discover other life-bearing planets similar to Earth throughout the galaxy, and what an encounter with extraterrestrial life could mean for us.
Astrobiology professor Charles Cockell, who is also the director of the UK Centre for Astrobiology, says:
This course is an introduction to astrobiology…It explores the origin and evolution of life on the Earth and its potential to exist elsewhere.
Astrobiology addresses compelling questions of wide interest, such as: How did life originate on Earth? Is this an inevitable process and is life common across the universe?
Here is the breakdown of the five-week course:
Week 1: The definitions of life and how it originated on Earth.
Week 2: Early Earth environments when life first emerged and the various evolutionary transitions of life on Earth.
Week 3: The prospects for life elsewhere in our solar system and the required conditions for a planet to be habitable.
Week 4: How to search for Earth-like planets orbiting distant suns and how to detect possible life there.
Week 5: How earthlings would be impacted by the discovery of an extraterrestrial intelligence.
Click HERE to sign up for “Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life.” There are no prerequisites or fees, but remember, just because this sounds like science fiction, doesn’t mean you can dance right through the course. They expect a serious approach and significant amount of work in order to pass and receive your certificate.
On the other hand, most of you can probably spare the estimated 3-4 hours per week for class work. Many of us spend that much time every week watching movies about aliens already, so why not study the subject in earnest? Overall we’re only talking 15-20 hours total. You’ll totally sound smarter next time you’re BSing with your friends on the subject of extraterrestrial life in the universe.