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An Introduction to Astrobiology


Vorlesung No:


Vorlesung: Mo 14:00 c.t.
Übung: Mo. 16:00 c.t.
Seminarraum H 537 - Schellingstr. 4
Montag 23. April 2012
17212/17213, P4/5.0.29, P4.0.5
3+3 ECTS-Punkte
(Vorlesung + Ergänzung P4S/5.0.30)
Markus Kissler-Patig

Students : please access the Lecture pages (password protected)

The lecture pages contain the lecture slides, exercises, and all the supporting material.
Please contact me for the password information if needed

Background / Material

The lecture aims at introducing the broad field of Astrobiology. In the first part, it will cover pre-biotic chemistry and the origins of life, will look at Earth as a habitable planet and follow the development of its atmosphere and of primitive and more complex life on Earth. The lecture will also explore our Solar system and look at the possibilities of life on Mars, on Titan and icy bodies in the solar system. In the second part, it will review our current knowledge on exo-planets, their properties and their atmospheres. It will look into how to find life on exo-planets and will finish with some thoughts on extra-terrestrial intelligence.

The exercises will also be conducted as one or more short field trips.


The recommended textbook is:

Supporting books
  • An Introduction to Astrobiology - I.Gilmour, M.A. Sephton - Cambridge University Press
  • Complete Course in Astrobiology - G.Horneck & P.Rettberg - Wiley-VCH
  • Astrochemistry: From Astronomy to Astrobiology - A.M.Shaw - Wiley
  • Life Everywhere: the Maverick Science of Astrobiology - D.Darling - Basic Books
  • Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology - C.A.Scharf - University Science Books


The lectures will start in the second week of the Semester: April 23, 2012.

April 23, 2012 Admin / History of Astrobiology / What is life? / Basics
April 30, 2012 Origin of Life / Evolution of Life
May 7, 2012 No Lecture
May 14, 2012 Limits of life / Extremophiles / Hydrothermal Vents
May 21, 2012 Early Earth / Faint young sun / Earth climate history
May 28, 2012 No Lecture - Pfingsten/Pentecost
June 4, 2012 Habitable zones / The limits of climate / Planet atmospheres
June 11, 2012 Giant and terrestrial planet / Solar System formation
June 18, 2012 Mars - Europa - Enceladus - Titan
June 25, 2012 Exoplanet detection and characterisation
July 2, 2012 How to find life on Exoplanets
July 9, 2012 Extraterrestrial intelligence


The formation of the moon.