The objective of the course is to provide the student with the basic knowledge on topics related to planets (both Solar System and exoplanets) and life in the universe from a broad perspective. This includes understanding
the processes of planet formation, the structure of planet interiors and atmospheres, the concept habitability in
general, techniques for exoplanet detection and characterization, methods for remote sensing, and the main
characteristics of life on Earth and beyond. The course will make use of theoretical lectures as well as practical
work and exercises to be carried out by the students. Up-to-date literature will be used to complement the
topics discussed in class and the student should be able to comprehend the details of the techniques and
methodologies used in such publications. The final goal is that the students acquire sufficient basic knowledge
to carry out work in this field of research and, most importantly, that they learn to think by themselves.
- Formulate and tackle problems, both open and more defined, identifying the most relevant principles
and using approaches where necessary to reach a solution, which should be presented with an
explanation of the suppositions and approaches.
- Understand the bases of advanced topics selected at the frontier of high energy physics, astrophysics
and cosmology and apply them consistently.
- Acquire general knowledge vision of a multidisciplinary discipline like astrobiology.
- Analyse the concept of inhabitability from the broadest of perspectives, including physical concepts like
energy balance, biological ones, such as terrestrial extremophiles, and chemical ones, such as
- Master the theoretical and practical concepts related to remote sensing, applied to the Earth and to the
characterisation of exoplanets.
- Understand the general aspects of the formation and structure of the planets, both in the Solar System
and in other exoplanetary systems.
- Introduction to stellar evolution and origin of chemical elements
- Formation and evolution of planetary systems
- Habitability: definition and feedback mechanisms
- Solar System: Mars and its atmospheric evolution
- Solar System: water words vs. icy satellites
- Atmospheres and interiors of Solar System planets
- Exoplanet detection
- Observation of exoplanet atmospheres
- Biomarkers and detection of life
- Planet Earth
- Remote sensing techniques and new challenges
- Sustainable remote sensing
- Life as we know it
- Earth's biosphere: Gaia and photosynthesis
- Life at the edge: extremophiles
- Extraterrestrial intelligence: the SETI program
Basic knowledge of Physics and Astronomy is strongly advised.