Lecture 1 - Astron/Geosci 160"Life in the...

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Unformatted text preview: Astron/Geosci 160 "Life in the Universe" Spring 2011 Prof. Clark Johnson Prof. Eric Roden Prof. Eric Wilcots Prof. Clark M. Johnson 329 Weeks 262-1710 [email protected] Research & teaching interests Isotope geochemistry Volcanology Crust-mantle evolution Astrobiology Prof. Eric M. Wilcots 6211 Chamberlin 262-2364 [email protected] Research & teaching interests Evolution of galaxies and their environment Extra-solar planets The outer solar system Radio astronomy anyone seen "Contact"? Prof. Eric E. Roden A348 Weeks 890-0724 [email protected] Research & teaching interests Microbial ecology Geomicrobiology Extremophiles Microbe-mineral interactions The course.... Chap. 1: What is astrobiology?; Life in the extreme Chap. 2: Basic principles that run the universe Chap. 3: Requirements of Life, Part I: Matter, stars, and elements Chap. 4: Requirements of Life, Part II: Building habitable worlds Chap. 5: The range of life on Earth; The molecular basis for life Chap. 6: Origin and evolution of life on Earth ; Which rocks had life and which didn't Chap. 7: Exploring for life elsewhere Chap. 8: Life in rocks and Mars Chap. 9: Life in ice and the Jovian moons Chap. 10: The habitable zone Chap. 11: History of habitability of the terrestrial planets; Search for habitable zones outside the Solar System Chap. 12: Search for intelligent life, here, or there Grading Exam #1: February 9 (25%) Exam #2: March 30 (25%) Exam #3: May 4 (25%) Poster Session Replaces Final Exam, Friday May 13, 5:05-7:05PM (25%) Groups of ~5 (~40 posters), organized by topics, online discussion groups. Faculty grade project; each member submits recommended weighting of grade Poster Topic Sign-Up Procedure Go to Discussion on [email protected] Look through the 44 topics and their descriptions Pick one you like and post a message to the corresponding discussion group indicating that you would like to join that group No more than 5 students per group Instructors will monitor and close groups after they fill up Once closed, discussions within a given group will be available only to students in that group Changes to groups are possible; much easier to do before groups involved have closed Poster Creation Use PowerPoint (or Word or whatever) to create individual 8 x 11 inch panels that can be taped together and hung (using binder clips and zip ties) on the poster racks Upload a file containing all of the materials in the poster to Dropbox on [email protected] in case instructors want to see them after the poster session The Mars Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity Jeffrey Bocci, Michele Frye, Jo Ann Lee, Capri Pearson, & Samantha Stiepan Figure 3: Artist Depiction of Spirit Rover Figure 4: Satellite Image of Mars Figure 5: Artist Depiction of Opportunity Rover 14 Advice for succeeding in the course... Study (read) assigned readings before coming to class Take your own set of notes during class, as opposed to relying solely on the materials uploaded on [email protected] Ask for help early, rather than waiting until a few days before the exam Ask questions in class it will help both you and many other students! The study of life in the universe falls under the discipline of "Astrobiology" "this 'science' has yet to demonstrate that its subject matter exists!" "What the hell is an Astrobiologist ?" Unknown Secret Service Agent, Presidential Detail, April 1996 First astrobiology science conference at NASA-Ames "Astrobiology comes down to real estate..... Is it all ours, or do we have to share it ?" John Rummel, NASA Chief Scientist for Astrobiology So what is the subject matter for "Astrobiology"? What do we look for? Evidence for Life=Biosignatures Rusted car, Earth Dinosaur tracks, Earth Astronaut footprint, Moon Murchison meteorite 3.5 b.y. Stromatolites, Pilbara Craton Oldest terrestrial (=Earth) rock you can hold in your hand Oldest intact sedimentary rocks (3.85 b.y.), SW Greenland But the oldest terrestrial minerals are older old grains in a younger sandstone Oldest known mineral grains, zircon, 4.404 b.y., SW Australia Oldest sample from Mars: Meteorite ALH84001 (4.4 b.y. old) Extremes of Life But where? Habitable zones Extrasolar Planets Habitable Zones? 500 exoplanets as of January 2011 421 stars with exoplanets http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/ 0 Earthlike planets The closest extra-terrestrial habitable zone to Earth is Mars Earth Mars "Burns Cliff", Endurance Crater, taken by rover Opportunity Biosignatures on Mars? Meridiani Planum, Mars Biosignatures on Mars? Mars Science Laboratory rover Meridiani Planum, Mars Biosignatures on Mars? Meridiani Planum, Mars Biosignatures on Mars? Meridiani Planum, Mars Longest Record=Microbial Life Modern cyanobacteria 800 m.y. fossil cyanobacteria Proposed 3.5 b.y. cyanobacteria Proposed 3.5 b.y. microbial mat So our charge is.... The basics of the universe: Chapters 1-3 The basics of life (as we know it!): Chapters 4-6 The evidence for ancient life: Chapters 6-9 Looking for life elsewhere: Chapters 7-12 ...
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