Astronomy Question. Research Paper 4: Astrobiology
For this fourth paper you will do some research on potential catastrophic events, and how mankind may prevent our own extinction. You will pick one of the topics below, research it, and write a 2 page paper on it.
The Drake Equation: The Drake Equation is designed to give us an idea of the possibility of us finding life somewhere else in the universe. When it was originally formulated it largely gave an indication that the odds are very small, but with new evidence that may have changed. Research the Drake Equation and describe in what ways you would change it based on modern evidence. With your reformulation, what do you think the odds of us coming into contact with life on another world is in the future?
Extremophiles: Though we have no evidence to prove the fact, we as humans seem to have trouble picturing life that is drastically different then the life we see on Earth. When we picture a life-form outside of our planet, we tend to picture it with legs, maybe arms, eyes, etc., even though not even all life on this Earth have all of these characteristics. Some life on Earth has even evolved to survive in very extreme circumstances (very high temperatures, conditions with little to no light, highly acidic water supplies, etc.). Research four such life-forms and write a paper on them. In the paper, discuss whether studying these creatures leads you to believe that there is a greater chance of life evolving and surviving outside of our planet.
Aliens: Do the laws of physics limit the variety of life that exist outside of the Earth in any way? What senses, outside of our five, might alien-life have? How far would an alien civilization have to be if it is to detect life on Earth? These are just some of the questions asked to Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson on his show StarTalk Radio. For this paper, listen to the podcast at the link below (you should all be listening to this podcast every week anyway) and summarize at least 4 concepts discussed that you find most interesting. Did this podcast sway your current concept of alien life in any way and why?
SETI: The SETI Institute is one of the sole institutions whose only goal is to hunt for extraterrestrial life. The institute runs a weekly lecture series on their instrumentation, algorithms, new discoveries, or some key aspect of the hunt for intelligent life outside of our planet. Watch the lecture “Challenge for SETI” by Ben Zuckermen and write a paper summarizing and discussing some of the key points made. Be sure to discuss your opinion of the topics in the paper as well.
General requirements for the project are as follows:
Use at least 3 reputable sources. Two must be from journal articles found on our library website.
Turn in a title page and a works cited page or bibliography. This does not get included in page count.
Put thought into your opinion. You will be graded on how well put together your ideas are.
You can include no more than one quote that is no more than 50 words long.
Plagiarism will be dealt with as outlined in the syllabus. Anything not in your own words will count as plagiarism. Just changing a few words of someone else’s sentence is still plagiarizing.
For more detailed explanations on the report requirements, see the syllabus.