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The new discipline of astrobiology that is, the science of searching for extraterrestrial life, is not only rapdly growing, but has also captured the public imagination.

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Open University UK

April 30, 2022

UK

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Last updated:

April 30, 2022

Duration:

Unlimited Duration

FREE

This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration

Description

The new discipline of astrobiology that is, the science of searching for extraterrestrial life, is not only rapdly growing, but has also captured the public imagination.

This course, Icy bodies: Europa and elsewhere, examines the emergence of icy satellites of distant planets as potential sites of extraterrestrial life, looks at the potential for life on Jupiter's moon Europa, and speculates on the ethics of searching for life elsewhere in the solar system.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Discuss processes upon and within, and internal structure of, differentiated icy bodies (primarily large satellites) in comparison with the terrestrial planets
  • Describe the conditions that may be required to originate and foster life in an icy body and discuss the likelihood of their having occurred
  • Recognise the moral and ethical issues of landing spacecraft on potential life-bearing worlds and appreciate the need for appropriate professional codes of conduct in this respect.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction 00:10:00
  • Learning outcomes 00:07:00
    • Satellite discoveries 00:40:00
    • Satellite systems and their origins 00:20:00
    • Unravelling the natures of the large satellites 01:00:00
    • The discovery of tidal heating 00:50:00
    • The Galileo mission 00:35:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • Ice and salt 00:45:00
    • Examining Europa’s surface 00:07:00
    • The general view 00:30:00
    • The crater Pwyll 00:30:00
    • Fracturing and motion of the ice shell 00:40:00
    • More surface disruption 01:30:00
    • How thick is Europa’s ice? 00:40:00
    • Heat and life 00:45:00
    • How can we find out more about Europa? 00:45:00
    • Other icy bodies as abodes of life? 01:15:00
    • Conclusion 00:07:00

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