About this Course
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Approx. 15 hours to complete


Subtitles: English, Russian, Romanian, German

Skills you will gain

BiologySolar SystemsMicrobiologyAstrobiology

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Approx. 15 hours to complete


Subtitles: English, Russian, Romanian, German

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

4 hours to complete

Life and Its Origins

What is life and what are the definitions of life? What do we know about the origin of life and what are the current hypotheses for how it originated on the Earth?

10 videos (Total 132 min), 3 quizzes
10 videos
History of Astrobiology20m
What is Life?20m
Life on Earth13m
Structure of Life: Building Blocks9m
Structure of LIfe: Cells14m
Origins of Life: Building Blocks11m
Origins of Life: Location11m
Origins of Life: Alternative Chemistries11m
3 practice exercises
Introduction and History of Astrobiology20m
Life: The Basics40m
Origins of Life40m
3 hours to complete

Life on Earth

What was the environment of early Earth like when life first emerged and what do we know about life on the earliest Earth? How did life evolve to cope with survival in extreme environments? What have been the major evolutionary transitions of life on the Earth?

7 videos (Total 82 min), 2 quizzes
7 videos
Conditions on the Early Earth 12m
Evidence of Early Life7m
The Tree of Life9m
Life in Extreme Environments18m
The Rise of Multicellularity13m
The Great Oxidation Event17m
2 practice exercises
Life on the Early Earth40m
Life Through Time40m
2 hours to complete

Habitable Environments Elsewhere in our Solar System?

What are the prospects for life on other planetary bodies in our Solar System and how do we go about searching for it? What conditions are required for a planet to be habitable?

7 videos (Total 71 min), 2 quizzes
7 videos
The Search for Life on Mars10m
Mars as a Location for Life15m
Could We All be Martians?7m
Other Icy Bodies14m
2 practice exercises
The Habitability of Mars40m
Life and Icy Bodies38m
2 hours to complete

The Search for Habitable Exoplanets

How do we search for Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars and how would we detect life on them?

5 videos (Total 36 min), 2 quizzes
5 videos
Types of Planets8m
Biosignatures of Life in Exoplanet Atmospheres8m
How to Look for Biosignatures6m
Missions to Search for Biosignatures6m
2 practice exercises
The Search for Exoplanets40m
Biosignatures on Exoplanets40m
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Top reviews from Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

By ELOct 12th 2015

Very interesting and engaging course. There are longer and more in-depth courses if you want them but if you want a concise overview of astrobiology on your own time, then this course is perfect!

By AHJan 18th 2016

Great course, Charles does a great job teaching the course! opens up the possibilities of the origins of life and other possible life in our solar system and universe. thanks to Coursera.



Charles Cockell


About The University of Edinburgh

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