Astrobiology: Exploring Other Worlds

Chris Impey
Tuesdays 10AM - 12PM
January 23, 30, February 6, 13, 20, and 27, 2024
Watch the video to learn more about this course

Astrobiology: Exploring Other Worlds

Spring 2024
In Session
10AM - 12PM
January 23, 30, February 6, 13, 20, and 27, 2024

Course Format: 



Main Campus



How are astronomers approaching their search for life in the universe? What have we learned from the surge of exoplanets discoveries? How likely is it that Earth does not host the only life in the Universe? In this course we explore the field of astrobiology, an emerging multidisciplinary field. Progress in astrobiology is driven by telescopes on the ground and in space, and by new insights on how biology emerged on Earth and its diversity. The first detection of life beyond Earth might happen in the Solar System or by seeing biology’s alteration of an exoplanet’s atmosphere. A longshot approach is the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The topics in this course range from the science of how exoplanets are detected, to the definition of habitability, to the chemistry that supports the argument that the ingredients for life are common in the universe. Astrobiology aims to answer one of the most profound questions we can ask in science: are we alone?

Recommended Reading: 

Meet Your Professor

University Distinguished Professor
Department of Astronomy

Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He has over 220 refereed publications, and his research has been supported by $20 million from NASA and NSF. He has won eleven teaching awards and teaches online classes (or MOOCs) with over 350,000 enrolled. He has written over 90 popular articles, two introductory textbooks, a novel called Shadow World, and nine popular science trade books.

  • Ted and Shirley Taubeneck Superior Teaching Award


  • All classes will be delivered on-campus and online via live video streaming. Students will enroll in their preferred format during registration.
  • On-Campus classes will be held in the Rubel Room at the University of Arizona's Poetry Center (1508 E Helen St, Tucson, AZ 85721). Enrollment for in-person classes is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. All students enrolled to attend in person also have complete online access and may choose to attend one or all class sessions remotely if desired.
  • Online students may attend all classes via live video streaming and will be able to participate in all course Q&A sessions with the professor in real-time. A high-speed internet connection and a device capable of running Zoom are required to connect. Online access will be password protected and only available to enrolled students.
  • Class Recordings - All HSP classes are recorded and available for every enrolled student to watch for the duration of the course and one month after the last class session. This option is offered to aid students who cannot attend the live class times but desire to enroll and participate asynchronously. We hope this option also aids students who are traveling or have a necessary appointment that conflicts with a class session to stay connected and engaged with the course material.


Poetry Center
Dorothy Rubel Room
1508 E Helen
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
Located on the SE corner of Helen Street and Vine Avenue, one block north of Speedway and three blocks west of Campbell Ave.

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