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Center for Curriculum and Transfer Articulation
Life in the Universe
Course: AST106

First Term: 2019 Spring
Lecture   4.0 Credit(s)   3.0 Period(s)   3.0 Load  
Course Type: Academic
Load Formula: T - Lab Load

Description: Introduction to the search for life in the universe for the non-science major. Earth`s location in space and time, nature of life, light and the spectrum, origin and history of the universe, origin of life on Earth and the possibility of life on other planets.

MCCCD Official Course Competencies
1. Summarize the history of the universe which led to the formation of galaxies, stars and our solar system. (I-II)
2. Apply the scientific method and basic concepts of astronomy, geoscience, life science, and chemistry for hypotheses development, experimental design, data acquisition and data analysis. (I-IX)
3. Apply mathematical principles to astronomical data analysis. (I-IX)
4. Demonstrate the ability to follow directions in completing laboratory exercises. (I-IX)
5. Demonstrate the ability to properly and safely use laboratory tools. (I-IX)
6. Demonstrate the ability to work effectively in collaborative groups. (I-IX)
7. Construct estimates of the likelihood of extraterrestrial life. (I-IX)
8. Analyze the characteristics of other planets and evaluate their suitability for developing and sustaining life. (II-VII, IX)
9. Describe the astronomical techniques used to detect and measure properties of exoplanets and analyze their place in models of solar system formation. (II-IV)
10. Define the essential characteristics of a habitable environment. (II-IX)
11. Describe in terms of energy, wavelength and frequency the various portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. (III)
12. Describe impact cratering, tectonic, volcanic, and atmospheric processes which contribute to a habitable environment. (III, V-IX)
13. Describe how Earth`s environment, working through natural selection, has produced a diversity of species. (VI-VII)
14. Critically assess potential changes in Earth`s environment that may occur as a result of human activity or environmental processes. (V-IX)

MCCCD Official Course Outline
I. Introduction
   A. Drake equation
   B. Scientific method
   C. Laboratory safety
   D. Geocentric model
   E. Heliocentric model
   F. Copernican revolution
   G. Impact of Galileo, Kepler, and Newton
II. Scales of space and time
   A. Cosmic distance and time scales
   B. History of the universe
   C. Galactic and stellar evolution
   D. Origin of the solar system and Earth
III. Physics of stars (Drake term: Rs)
   A. Electromagnetic spectrum
   B. Wien`s law and Stefan-Boltzmann laws
   C. Spectral line formation and analysis
   D. Classification of stars
   E. Nuclear fusion in stars
IV. Planet probability (Drake term: Fp)
   A. Types of planets
   B. Doppler effect
   C. Detection of exoplanets
   D. Light curves
V. Habitable zone (Drake term: Ne)
   A. Conditions for "Earth-like" planets
   B. Phases of water
   C. Water stability across p and t
   D. Sublimation
   E. Beer`s law
   F. Greenhouse effect
   G. Carbon cycle
   H. Plate tectonics
VI. Conditions for life (Drake term: Fl)
   A. Basic biochemistry
   B. Evolution
   C. Genomic "tree of life"
   D. Origin of life theories
   E. Extremophiles
   F. Requirements of life
   G. History of life on Earth
   H. Life detection
VII. Intelligent life (Drake term: Fi)
   A. Emergence of animal life and Homo sapiens
   B. Impact and extinctions
   C. Concepts of intelligence
VIII. Civilization and communication (Drake term: Fc)
   A. Evolution of climate
   B. Energy
   C. Communication
IX. The future (Drake term: L)
   A. Climate change
   B. Planetary sustainability
   C. Stellar evolution
MCCCD Governing Board Approval Date: May 1, 2018

All information published is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, but based on the dynamic nature of the curricular process, course and program information is subject to change in order to reflect the most current information available.