Astrobiology and the Origins of Life

AST80001 12.5 Credit Points Online


  • One Semester or equivalent

Contact hours

  • 150 contact hours - Online

On-campus unit delivery combines face-to-face and digital learning. For Online unit delivery, learning is conducted exclusively online.



Aims and objectives

This Unit will provide an overview of the multi-disciplinary nature of astrobiology - combining geology, chemistry, biology and astronomy. It will investigate the origins and evolution of life on Earth, the interaction between life and its environment, and the search for life elsewhere in the Solar System and beyond.

Unit Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

1.    Identify and describe current theories of Solar System formation, the various theories of how life began on Earth and the parallel evolution of life and the environment;

2.    Discuss and explain how our limited understanding of life influences current searches for life in the Solar System;

3.    Recognise how astrobiology relates to other sciences;

4.    Explain basic principles and concepts about the synthesis of complex molecules in a non-technical way understandable to the wider public;

5.    Use problem solving skills to explain solutions to problems in astrobiology and the origins of life;

6.    Design and create a research project using credible sources of astronomical information and research articles and/or observational means