2021-2022 Pierce College Catalog 
    May 19, 2024  
2021-2022 Pierce College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ASTR 105 Life in the Universe (5 credits)

Distribution Area Fulfilled Natural Sciences with Lab; General Transfer Elective
Formerly ASTR 115

Course Description
An introductory course for non-science majors that examines the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology. General principles of astronomy, chemistry, biology, geology; as applied toward the search for life on other planetary bodies. Lab included.

Student Outcomes
1. Describe the history of astronomy and scientific process that led to our current understanding of our place in the universe
2. Analyze critically light curves and spectra of astronomical objects to determine physical properties
3. Describe the basic chemistry of life on Earth
4. Describe and apply ways in which we can find the relative and absolute ages of fossils/rocks/events in Earth’s history
5. Rank geological and biological events in Earth’s history in chronological order and describe the basic relationship between Earth’s systems and life through geologic time, including the origin and life on earth
6. Define life in the context of the search for life elsewhere
7. Identify factors that make Earth habitable and how that habitability has changed over time
8. Compare the conditions under which extremophiles on Earth live with conditions found on other planetary bodies
9. Analyze the cost-benefit of different types of astrobiology spacecraft missions
10. Assess the habitability of a world
11. Explain the main methods of detecting extrasolar planets and how each method is biased
12. Apply the Drake equation to the search for communicating, extra-terrestrial civilizations
13. Develop knowledge of data sources in the fields of astronomy, biology, geology, chemistry, and physics
14. Break problems into smaller, more specific pieces as part of the decision making process
15. Integrate and analyze quantitative and qualitative information and ideas in several contexts (e.g. examine the physical conditions found on Mars and examine those conditions through the eyes of a chemist, repeat the exercise as seen though the eyes of a biologist, and repeat the exercise as seen through the eyes of a geologist)

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