What is the Copernican principle? Make a list of scientific discoveries that confirm it.
Where in the solar system (and beyond) have scientists found evidence of organic molecules?
Give a short history of the atoms that are now in your little finger, going back to the beginning of the universe.
What is a biomarker? Give some possible examples of biomarkers we might look for beyond the solar system.
Why are Mars and Europa the top targets for the study of astrobiology?
Why is traveling between the stars (by creatures like us) difficult?
What are the advantages to using radio waves for communication between civilizations that live around different stars? List as many as you can.
What is the “cosmic haystack problem”? List as many of its components as you can think of.
What is a habitable zone?
Why is the simultaneous detection of methane and oxygen in an atmosphere a good indication of the existence of a biosphere on that planet?
What are two characteristic properties of life that distinguish it from nonliving things?
What are the three requirements that scientists believe an environment needs to supply life with in order to be considered habitable?
Can you name five environmental conditions that, in their extremes, microbial life has been challenged by and has learned to survive on Earth?