Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

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8/10 stars
based on  21 reviews
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Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Course Details

Cost

FREE

Upcoming Schedule

  • TBA

Course Provider

Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Provider Subject Specialization
Humanities
Sciences & Technology
4721 reviews

Course Description

**Please note, this course is open now - find it [here](https://www.coursera.org/learn/astrobiology). ** Over two thousand years ago, the ancient Greeks wondered if there were other worlds in the cosmos. This question is now being experimentally tested. This course, offered by the UK Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh, is an introduction to astrobiology and was the first MOOC to explore this subject. It explores the origin and evolution of life on the Earth and its potential to exist elsewhere. Astrobiology addresses compelling questions of wide interest such as: How did life originate on the Earth? Is this an inevitable process and is life common across the Universe? Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary science that bridges fields as diverse as astrophysics, biology, geosciences and chemistry. In this course we will explore what we know about life’s ability to live in extreme environments on the Ea... **Please note, this course is open now - find it [here](https://www.coursera.org/learn/astrobiology). ** Over two thousand years ago, the ancient Greeks wondered if there were other worlds in the cosmos. This question is now being experimentally tested. This course, offered by the UK Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh, is an introduction to astrobiology and was the first MOOC to explore this subject. It explores the origin and evolution of life on the Earth and its potential to exist elsewhere. Astrobiology addresses compelling questions of wide interest such as: How did life originate on the Earth? Is this an inevitable process and is life common across the Universe? Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary science that bridges fields as diverse as astrophysics, biology, geosciences and chemistry. In this course we will explore what we know about life’s ability to live in extreme environments on the Earth, we will look at different hypotheses for how it originated. We will look at some of the missions to search for life in our own Solar System and on planets orbiting distant stars. We will discuss some of the extreme environments on the Earth that help us understand the limits of life and how life has adapted to cope with extremes. We will explore the possibility of intelligent alien life and some of the implications of its detection. The course will provide a foundation in astrobiology and introduce students to concepts in a diversity of scientific fields.
Reviews 8/10 stars
21 Reviews for Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Ratings details

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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Kristina Šekrst profile image
Kristina Šekrst profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 102 reviews
  • 102 completed
4 years ago
Too bad it was only an introduction, it has a potential to become a great series of courses. I liked the teaching style, and presenting difficult facts has been done in a casual way, so it made things quite easy, maybe even too easy in the quizzes. I'm a bit sad this isn't a regular course, even though self-paced courses have their advantages, I'm always much more a fan of the live ones. A solid course and a nice introduction!
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Student

4/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 4 months ago
The instructor is a good presenter but the lectures are somewhat superficial -- ie lack depth. The subject is well introduced, which will serve some students. Those wanting more should look into Mike Brown's "The Science of the Solar System" presented by Caltech on Coursera. Several aspects of astrobiology are explored in much more depth.
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 profile image

10/10 starsCompleted
  • 3 reviews
  • 2 completed
4 years, 5 months ago
Fascinating course and information; only downrated instructor as delivery was a tad dry. One question in the homework was incorrect (acknowledged as such), but my score never got corrected <sob>. Hopefully, this gets fixed for next iteration.
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rmozzer profile image
rmozzer profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 1 completed
4 years, 5 months ago
The course was well researched. The instructor engaging, knowledgeable, and proficient in his field. You learned a lot about the subject and the blogs were helpful.
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 profile image
 profile image

10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
4 years, 5 months ago
An excellent course. The professor was excellent. I particularly like that at the end of each lecture, there was a summary of "What we have learnt". Highly recommended.
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AJT P profile image
AJT P profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 7 reviews
  • 7 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
It's a short and easy course - that's its charm. It's a speculative subject so it's not about building a towering argument to support a theory. This course tries to cover a lot of terrain (not sure terrain is the best word - given the root of the word is "terra" meaning "earth"), the course is shallow but broad. The course lectures' graphics are fantastic for a coursera course. There's a little bit of biochemistry, a little genetics, astronomy, physics and it gets a little philosophical at times. It's a bit like horizon tv programs with quizzes. Is there life out there and if so what's it like? Those question are possibly the most important questions we have no direct data about. Does this course answer those questions. Obviously not! But it'll cost you only a little over an hour a week to investigate them. Gotta be worth it.
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Winthrop Yu profile image
Winthrop Yu profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 33 reviews
  • 27 completed
5 years, 11 months ago
Short and easy, perhaps lacking detail and quantitative treatment. But this is exactly the kind of introductory overview you want to take if you have zero background on the subject.
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Markus Weber profile image
Markus Weber profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 5 reviews
  • 4 completed
6 years, 2 months ago
A great and engaging course, with good structure, excellent presentation and consistent delivery. Could have been a bit harder, generally it was too easy and some of the quiz questions were no-brainers. Still, a very enjoyable course and one of the best I had on Coursera so far.
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Student profile image
Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 3 months ago
Good class. Interesting topic. The only problem is that it was on the Coursera platform. Hopefully they switch to something more open and respectable now that more are becoming available.
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Ricardo Teixeira profile image
Ricardo Teixeira profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 86 reviews
  • 77 completed
6 years, 6 months ago
What a delightful little course! It's very short and it's easy, but the subject is fascinating and the instructor is just an amazing communicator. If you have an interest in this topic, I definitely recommend it!
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Student profile image
Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 4 months ago
Great course! I hope for a feature related part. Professor's lectures were very interesting and he help us with his posts in class forums. We even hunt for new planets in planethunters!
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Student profile image

Student

2/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 4 months ago
This course was far too short and easy. Much of the material and conclusions seemed highly speculative. Maybe this is a characteristic of the subject, but the approach did not seem very scientific. The forums also had too much woo.
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andykp profile image
andykp profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 completed
6 years, 6 months ago
I really enjoyed this course. The professor is very clear and engaging, presentation and pictures are well done It is an introductory class so do not expect it to go in much depth, i hope there is a follow up soon !
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Brian profile image
Brian profile image
4/10 starsCompleted
  • 8 reviews
  • 6 completed
6 years, 6 months ago
Meh... Astrobiology is incredibly interesting, but this course really just made me think it was a boring netflix documentary on Astrobiology. There was way too much speculative information given on the various topics, which a well produced documentary can do much better. I didn't complete any of the quizzes, as there was never anything engaging enough in the lectures that wanted me to test my knowledge of the material.
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Timon profile image
Timon profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 10 reviews
  • 10 completed
6 years, 7 months ago
A very solid course with an excellent instructor. I would've wanted some more details at some points and the course would have felt more complete if it had gone on for a few more weeks but in general I can recommend this to anybody who is interested in Astrobiology - which should be everybody, really. That said, it was a relatively easy course and no prerequisites were required.
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Kelebek profile image
Kelebek profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 15 reviews
  • 13 completed
6 years, 7 months ago
Adding my voice to others who enjoyed this course. As one who always felt my science skills were mediocre at best, I found myself fascinated and following along easily with Professor Cockell's lectures. He easily explained basic concepts in a way that has given me knowledge I won't ever forget (CHNOPS!) and I'm very thankful for that. Overall a fascinating and fun course. I'd love to see an advanced course or Professor Cockell branch out into one or two of the subjects touched upon in the class ~ there's a lot more to be learned! The workload was fair, it allowed me to easily keep up with the course and the others I took along with it. Loved the backgrounds and the slides, although I preferred the first few weeks' slides for their thoroughness a bit more than the later ones. The quizzes made sure I paid attention. The only "improvements" I could suggest are perhaps a slightly longer course as there are so many more things that could ... Adding my voice to others who enjoyed this course. As one who always felt my science skills were mediocre at best, I found myself fascinated and following along easily with Professor Cockell's lectures. He easily explained basic concepts in a way that has given me knowledge I won't ever forget (CHNOPS!) and I'm very thankful for that. Overall a fascinating and fun course. I'd love to see an advanced course or Professor Cockell branch out into one or two of the subjects touched upon in the class ~ there's a lot more to be learned! The workload was fair, it allowed me to easily keep up with the course and the others I took along with it. Loved the backgrounds and the slides, although I preferred the first few weeks' slides for their thoroughness a bit more than the later ones. The quizzes made sure I paid attention. The only "improvements" I could suggest are perhaps a slightly longer course as there are so many more things that could be explored *and* I'd love to see the Professor smile a bit more or maybe even laugh. He and the team obviously have great humor as some of the quiz questions suggested, so it would have made the course that much more engaging to see Professor Cockell's humor a bit more in the video lectures. Enthusiastically recommended, even for those who aren't exactly confident in their science skills.
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Doug profile image
Doug profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 completed
6 years, 7 months ago
Very interesting and enjoyable introduction to the Astrobiology - but only an introduction. The class was only 5 weeks and only took a couple hours per week. Very good production value, very interesting. I would've liked much more material and a little bit more of a challenge.
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Franz Huber profile image
Franz Huber profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 3 completed
6 years, 7 months ago
Great course! I have heard about Astronomy and Biology but "Astrobiology" - what the hell is this? Well, it turned out to be a really fascinating topic. I can recommend this course to everybody because it's rather easy, it doesn't require any previous knowledge and professor Cockell is an excellent teacher.
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Greta profile image
Greta profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 8 reviews
  • 6 completed
6 years, 7 months ago
Great course indeed, absolutely enjoyable and very fascinating. Like some of the previous reviewers at some points I would have liked a few more details but on the other hand it was perfect as an introductory course that easily fit even into a full time worker's tight schedule. That said I'd really love to see Prof. Cockell teaching an advanced course, I'd sign up without hesitation.
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nml profile image
nml profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 12 reviews
  • 12 completed
6 years, 6 months ago
Course was definitely too short and easy. Lectures were okay, but they were just short basic lectures with no interactive questions in them. Homework was just multiple choice quiz on knowledge what was said in lecture. Really. There were even question like "in which year..." This is the first course when there were NO practical exercises. Since there were two full credit tries, every answer was marked as correct or incorrect just after try, and many questions could be answered with common knowledge getting certificate with distinction was easier than filling this review. It was a huge disappointment after taking great Introduction To Astronomy course, but if you don't have time, and you're satisfied with watching something like Discovery Channel show, and getting reviewed from what you saw the this course is just for you.
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daisykho profile image
daisykho profile image
4/10 starsCompleted
  • 11 reviews
  • 7 completed
6 years, 6 months ago
Interesting course but a little too general. I was expecting more depth on the topics rather than a a basic summary of requirements for life and exoplanets.
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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.