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Icy Moons and Exoplanets
Not so long ago on exoplanets far, far away
There are billions of stars outside our solar system, many with planets of their own orbiting them. Exoplanets are these planets that exist outside our solar system.
On this three-week course, Dr Louisa Preston will take you through what exoplanets look like, as well as the structure of icy moons, and the likelihood of either supporting life.
What lies beneath the icy shells of Europa and Enceladus?
Without having any probes land on the icy moons Europa and Enceladus, it’s difficult to be certain of the environments they hold.
You’ll discuss the theories of what lies beneath the icy shells of these moons, as well as the potential they both have for habitability. With missions in the works to send probes to both Europa and Enceladus, you’ll explore the opportunities and challenges these future missions face.
What makes an exoplanet Earth-like?
Earth is an extremely special phenomenon; a perfectly balanced environment for cultivating and maintaining life. So far, we haven’t discovered any other planet like ours, but the search continues beyond our solar system.
You’ll investigate what exoplanets are and the different types that we’ve discovered. You’ll then look at the criteria that an exoplanet needs to meet to be considered Earth-like and what they might be able to tell us about life on earth and beyond.
Follow the search for extraterrestrial life
Starting closer to home, you’ll explore the special nature of the icy moon Titan’s structure and environment, and delve into the different environments on Titan that could host life.
This course will then guide you through the different biosignatures that experts search for when investigating exoplanets. With this knowledge, you’ll design and justify alien life, theorising a lifeform that could hypothetically live on an exoplanet.
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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...
- Investigate why exoplanets are so important
- Explain the significance of gas giants in the investigation of/search for Exoplanets
- Compare the main categories of exoplanet
- Describe the criteria to be considered an Earth-like planet
- Define the biosignatures searched for when investigating exoplanets
- Design and justify an extraterrestrial lifeform in accordance with given parameters
- Summarise key milestones in the history of searching for exoplanets
- Compare the key methods for searching for exoplanets
- Summarise the history and future of missions to exoplanets
Who is the course for?
This course is designed for anyone interested in the fundamentals of astrobiology, particularly the icy moons of our solar system, Exoplanets and whether life exists outside our star system.
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