Astrobiology Tips

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I can´t find anywhere to study astrobiology. What can I do?

Astrobiology lives!

If you're frustrated at not being able to get a degree in astrobiology, don't fret. Just contact your local university and ask to speak to someone about nontraditional education options. Most colleges now allow students to individualize their studies by combining different fields of study into a major which fits their interests. And if they can't help, there are nontraditional colleges out there who will cater to your needs. Don't give up.

   
What if I wanted to study Astrobiology in Graduate school?

Graduate Programs

NASA, along with other government agencies and eight Universities, offer Interdisciplinary Graduate studies in Astrobiology. Check out Harvard, Arizona State, Michigan State, Penn State, Univ. of Washington, UCLA, Univ. Colorado and Univ. Rhode Island.

   
Can I get involved in the search for Exterrestrial Life?

Join in the search for E.T.s

The SETI League was established in response to Congress terminating all NASA funding in Oct.'93. As of May 2000 the organization had nearly 1200 members in 59 countries and all fifty states and have 100 privately built telescopes in the air.

   
Are there any solar systems out there like ours?

Our solar system's first cousin?

Scientists have discovered over eighty extrasolar planets since 1995 while in search of a solar system like our own. One of the most promising systems is just 41 light-years away. 55 Cancri, a large gas giant, orbits a sun-like star. It is very similiar to our own Jupiter, having nearly the same orbiting distance and rotation period. The system contains at least two other planets located between the sun and 55 Cancri.

   
I´m a college student interested in Astrobiology. Where can I go?

Astrobiology Academy

Astrobiology Academy is a summer semester program for undergraduate students interested in getting hands-on training in the field of Astrobiology.

   
Are there any new theories regarding the beginnings of life on Earth?

Cosmic Ancestry

There is a new theory of evolution which states that life on Earth was seeded from space, and all future evolutionary tracks will originate from the cosmos.

   
Is there anthing in space besides natural elements?

Sugar in space

Scientists have discovered the sugar molecule glycolaldehyde in a large cloud of gas and dust near the center of our Galaxy, some 26,000 light-years away. What does this mean for life? Glycolaldehyde combines with other simple sugars to form ribose, which is a component of DNA.

   
Wouldn´t a telescope in space take better pictures than ones on Earth?

The Hubble

The Hubble is a dream more than thirty years in the making. It is a joint venture between NASA and The European Space Agency. Once the Hubble is directed and picks up an image, the object's resolution (at 0.1 arc-seconds) is about 10 times better than groundbased telescopes.

   
I´m still in secondary school, but I want to learn about astrobiology.

Under 18 Astrobiology

TERC and NASA are developing a year-long course for middle and high school students centered on the search for life on other planets. Curriculum includes chemistry, biology, physics, earth/space science, and engineering.

   
Is there life on Mars?

Life from Mars

Scientists have found traces of possible bacterial life in a meteorite which came from Mars--ALH 84001. Don't get too excited... the meteorite is 3.6 billion years old, and the bacteria long dead, turned into fossils that some scientists argue may not be biological at all but shaped coincidently like bacteria.

   
What does it take to make life?

Recipe for Life

Boiled water, iron and nickel sulfide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide can be combined to create life. All that's needed? Just add a volcano.

   
Has anybody besides governments ever sent a message into space?

Encounter 2001

A private commercial company from Houston, Texas put out a Cosmic Call in 1999. They used a Russian telescope and spent $35,000 for the telescope time.

   
I heard some people say that life started on a meteor. Is that right?

Meteorites for Life

Many scientists hypothesize that organic material present in a comet or meteorite held the precursors to life. After impact, the organic slush mixed with lava and water to create primitive life.

   
What colleges offer a major in Astrobiology?

Astrobiology minor

At the current time, only Pennsylvania State University offers Astrobiology curriculum, culminating in an Astrobiology minor.

   
What else does SETI do besides listen for alien signals?

LITU

Besides trying to make contact with aliens, SETI maintains the Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, which brings astrobiology researchers together to focus on the wide ranging fields which make up the field, including geology, astronomy, biology and chemistry.

   
What is the chance of their being life out there?

Equation for life

Frank Drake came up with an equation to calculate just how many civilizations there should be in the Milky Way galaxy. Planet hunters so far have found that there is a giant world orbiting roughly four percent of sun-like stars.

   
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Carma Spence-Pothitt