- Introduction to astrobiology.
- The universe and the cosmic environment
- The formation of chemical elements
- Stellar formation and hypotheses on the origin of planetary systems
- Requirements for life as we know it
- Prebiotic chemistry, molecular evolution and cellular life
- Extremophiles and the search for life on other planets
- Space as an extreme environment.
- Experiments in low earth orbit (Expose and Biopan)
- Search for life in the solar system
- Search for life outside the solar system.
- Galactic habitability
The course aims to provide a preparation on current specialized research topics in astrobiology, with a strong emphasis on interdisciplinarity. The educational objectives include the knowledge of the astrophysical and biological factors connected to habitability (ie the propensity for the appearance and survival of living organisms) both at a planetary level and, more generally, in the cosmic environment.
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING:
Students must have an in-depth understanding of the current state of research in astrobiology, and of the related problems, both at a theoretical and observational level. They must have developed the ability to investigate research topics independently, particularly on technical articles published in international journals. The verification of knowledge and comprehension skills is carried out through an oral exam that includes the presentation of a current research topic (starting from a technical article) as well as answers to questions on the topics of the course.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING:
Students must be able to identify the key points of the main problems of astrobiological interest, being able to place them in the context of current knowledge and to create connections between the disciplines involved.