College Of Arts And Sciences | Physics of Extraterrestrial Life and Death
E105 | 0138 | Horowitz, C.


NASA scientists claimed in August 1996 to have found evidence in a
meteorite of primitive life on Mars in ancient times. This discovery,
if true, suggests life is not unique to Earth and may be plentiful in
the universe.  We will discuss, the physical conditions necessary for
life, how it start on Earth and how we are searching for it
elsewhere.

It is thought the impact of a 10 kilometer asteroid or comet killed
the dinosaurs.   Such collisions were much more frequent when life
was trying to get started on Earth.  They could have "seeded" Earth
with organic compounds crucial to life. Topics covered include: the
origins of— the Universe (from the Big Bang), the Galaxy, the
Elements and the Solar System, important physical laws for the
evolution of stars and planets, the chemical basis of life, the
history of life on Earth, comets and asteroids and the impact of
comet Shoemaker Levy 9, the exploration of Mars and finally the
search for planets around other stars.