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Artist's depiction of an exoplanetary system, SSC Astronomy 141:
Life in the Universe
Prof. Richard Pogge, MTWThF 12:30

Unit 4: Life in the Solar System

We know of life on only one world so far, our own, but with what we have learned about life on Earth, do we have an expectation we might find life elsewhere in the Solar System? This unit introduces the other members of our Solar System, and considers whether or not any of them might be able to harbor life in some form. We will review the types of Solar System objects, the requirements for life and criteria for habitibility, and look at a few worlds in particular: Mars, Europa, Enceladus, and Titan, that have the potential to give us insights into the nature of life in our Solar System.


The lecture notes below are all in adobe PDF format, and requires the free Adobe Reader to view. PDFs are usually 1-2Mb in size. Most are black-and-white to preserve ink, but a few contain graphics that did not work except as color.

Audio files are live recordings of the lectures in MP3 format, readable with most MP3 players.

The Family of the Sun (Feb 6) - [Audio]

Terrestrial Worlds in Comparison (Feb 7) - [Audio]

The Jovian Planets (Feb 8) - [Audio]

The Requirements for Life (Feb 9) - [Audio]

The Deserts of Mars (Feb 10) - [Audio]

Is There Life on Mars? (Feb 13) - [Audio]

The Galilean Moons of Jupiter (Feb 14) - [Audio]

The Children of Saturn (Feb 15) - [Audio]

Goldilocks and the Three Planets (Feb 16) - [Audio]

Quiz 3 - In class Friday Feb 17 [Study Guide]

Lectures will be posted on the morning before class, or earlier if I get ahead of things. Please also see A Note about Graphics to learn why some of the graphics shown in the lectures are not reproduced in these notes.

Readings in Life in the Universe

My approach will be somewhat different in this unit, so view the readings from the book as supplemental.
Week of Feb 6-10
Chapter 7 - The order is similar, but I will draw material from other chapters as well.

Week of Feb 13-16
Lecture 27 - Chapter 8, sections 8.1, 8.4, and 8.5
Lecture 28 - Chapter 9, sections 9.1 and 9.2
Lecture 29 - Chapter 9, section 9.3
Lecture 30 - Chapter 10, sections 10.1, 10.3, and 10.4, skim 10.2 (we will cover the highlights in Lecture 23).

[ Return to the Astronomy 141 Main Page | Go forward to Unit 5 | Go back to Unit 3 ]
Updated: 2012 February 16
Copyright Richard W. Pogge, All Rights Reserved.