Super-Earths and Life
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How life may have arisen on Earth
How we discover planets around other stars
What makes a planet favorable for life
How we search for life in our universe
Super-Earths and Life is a course about alien life, how we search for it, and what this teaches us about our place in the universe.
In the past decade astronomers have made incredible advances in the discovery of planets outside our solar system. Thirty years ago, we knew only of the planets in our own solar system. Now we know of thousands circling nearby stars.
Meanwhile, biologists have gained a strong understanding of how life evolved on our own planet, all the way back to the earliest cells. We can describe how simple molecules can assemble themselves into the building blocks of life, and how those building blocks might have become the cells that make up our bodies today.
Super-Earths and Life is all about how these two fields together - astronomy and biology - can answer one of our most powerful and primal questions: are we alone in the universe?
This course consists of seven modules, which investigate questions like: