Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Astrobiology is the branch of science that explores these three big questions: How did life begin and evolve? Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? and What is the future of life on Earth and beyond? Through a multidisciplinary approach, you will be introduced to a range of ideas and concepts that explore these questions, including the co-evolution of life and our planet, sociological perspectives on the Origin of Life, The Big Bang theory, searching for life in the universe, the drake equation, extremophiles on earth, and life on Mars. You will explore the content of this course through a range of online activities including videos, online lectures, a virtual excursion and remote access lab.



  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Recognise and describe a range of perspectives and processes regarding the origins of life.

2. Identify biosignatures and methods of testing for life beyond Earth.

3. Explain the conditions required for life to exist.


  • How did life begin and evolve? Sociological perspectives on the origins of life, Cosmology, planetary and galactic habitable zones, comets.
  • Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? Biosignatures, Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and space exploration looking for evidence of life.
  • What is the future of life on Earth and beyond? Resiliency of life on Earth and factors for habitability.


To enrol in this course students must have successfully completed 40 units of study at the undergraduate level.

Assumed knowledge

Understanding of university level report writing and reference styles.

Assessment items

Quiz: Weekly Quizzes

Written Assignment: Remote Laboratory Activity

Project: Design your own habitable planet

Contact hours


Online Activity

Online 120 hour(s) per Term Full Term starting in week 1

A minimum of 10 hours per week is expected

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.