ASTR220 Department of Physics and Astronomy

Purpose of the Assignment:

We know of only one world on which life exists: Earth. Still, the possibility of life elsewhere in the Universe is a very intriguing proposition. The ASTR 220 course gives you an overview of the scientific context for the search for extra-terrestrial life. The purpose of this project is to give you a chance to explore some of the most recent contributions to the field of astrobiology.

General Instructions:

Choose an article from one of the sources given below, and give a written report of your understanding of the article’s content and your analysis of its relevance. Keep in mind that science is a process. The study on which your chosen article is reporting brings us at least a small step closer to understanding the possibilities for life in the Universe. Would you say the results of this study argue (1) that the Earth and Earth-based life is perhaps rare, or (2) that the conditions for the origin and evolution of life are common? Your report should be based on the content of the chosen article, but should show the synthesis of information from the course lectures, course textbook, and possibly other outside sources.

Some Details:

The report must be presented in full sentences and paragraphs. One possibility is to model your report as a newspaper/magazine editorial (i.e., opinion) piece.You must include a copy of the article with your report.Your report should be understandable to someone with no background in the subject area. Scientific terms must be defined or explained in plain language.Write the report in your own words! If you quote or use specific information from an outside source, make sure to cite the source in the text of the report, and include full

Bibliographic information for your sources at the end of the report. You are certainly encouraged to do some background reading so that you, and your readers, understand the larger context of your chosen article.


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