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Earth and Life
Explore the theories on how life on Earth came to be
The mystery of life’s origins on Earth has been slowly chipped away as scientists discover more and more evidence to support their theories.
On this three-week course, astrobiologist Dr Louisa Preston will take you on a trip through the history of Earth, from dust to a planet, exploring the theories and events that shape the story of life.
Travel back to the formation of the Earth and witness the Late Heavy Bombardment
Did life start at the bottom of the ocean? Deep in the Earth’s clay? Or did it come from outer space?
Starting at the beginning, when our blue planet wasn’t so blue, you’ll explore stages of the Earth’s formation and the theories on how life began here. You’ll then look at the implications of the Late Heavy Bombardment, a hypothesised event in which asteroids collided with early terrestrial planets, including Earth.
How can you read the Earth’s timeline?
The geological record of the Earth holds many secrets of the planet’s history. From its past climate to the evolution of life, understanding geological processes is vital to understanding Earth.
You’ll investigate these processes and how they moulded the Earth, giving you a gateway into the way experts read Earth’s timeline. And, using your knowledge of the Earth’s composition and structure, you’ll apply your findings to other planets to better understand their environments.
Discover the journey of life on Earth, from the Cambrian Explosion to mass extinction events
According to some scientists, there have been at least five major extinction events in the Earth’s history.
This course will delve into these extinction-level events to look at how they’ve shaped life on Earth. You’ll also track the Cambrian Explosion, an event when simple life is believed to have diversified and complex organisms started appearing.
Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.
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Learning on this course
You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Explore the key stages of the Earth's formation
- Describe the implications of the Late Heavy Bombardment for life on Earth
- Summarise the different theories as to how life arose on the Earth
- Investigate geological process that shape the Earth
- Explain how the geological record can help read Earth's timeline.
- Describe the oxygen revolution that enabled us to come to exist
- Summarise the history of life from the Cambrian Explosion to today
- Investigate extinction-level events on earth and other planets
Who is the course for?
This course is designed for anyone interested in the fundamentals of astrobiology, particularly life on Earth.
It will be especially useful to university applicants looking to identify areas that they’d like to specialise in and STEM teachers looking to bring science to life for their students.
- Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
- Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
- Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
- Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
- Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
- Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
- Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends