Life in Space?

Undergraduate Course, Ruhr University Bochum, 2020

  • Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Hüttemeister
  • Language: German
  • Credits: 5 CP
  • Examination: 100 % Written Exam (120 Minutes) + 40 % Homework

Course Description

Is life on Earth a unique phenomenon, or is life common in the universe, perhaps even a necessary consequence of cosmic evolution? Since we have not yet found life outside the Earth, we cannot (yet) definitely answer this question. However, in the lecture, we will explore what astronomy (and also other natural sciences) can say today about the possibility of finding extraterrestrial life. We will see that the conditions for the emergence of life require 13 billion years of cosmic evolution, but - at least in principle - should not be limited to Earth. From the contents of the lecture:

  • Structure formation in the universe: the emergence of complexity
  • Life and death of stars: The formation of elements
  • Molecules in interstellar space: precursors of life?
  • The birth of starts: Protoplanetary disks
  • Life on Earth: Beginnings and Evolution
  • Extreme cases of life: Inhabitants of exotic niches
  • Our solar system: chances for life beyond Earth?
  • Planetary systems: Common and very difficult
  • Satellites and telescopes: Strategies on the search for life
  • The Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Science Fiction or Science?