PTYS/ASTR 170A1 Alien Earths

Thousands of planets have been discovered orbiting nearby stars. How many of these worlds can we expect to be Earth-like? We explore this question from the perspective of astronomers, geologists, and historians. We look back at Earth’s geologic history to periods when our planet itself would appear very alien to us today. We study the nearby planets Venus and Mars, which were once more Earth-like than today. We discuss not only the evolution of Earth, Venus, and Mars as habitable worlds but also how human understanding of these planets has evolved. Finally, we apply these perspectives to the search for alien Earths in our galaxy. This interdisciplinary treatment of Earth, its neighboring planets, and planets being discovered around nearby stars allows us to consider the potentially unique position of Earth as a habitable world not only in space but in time.

Course Level
GenEd: Building Connections,
GenEd: Quantitative Reasoning,
GenEd: Writing
Course Level Other
Course Credits
Course Type
Semester Section Number Instructor(s) Day/Time Location Resources
Fall 2023 1 Steve Kortenkamp Monday, Wednesday 12:30-1:45p.m. Flandrau theater Syllabus
Fall 2023 002 Schools Tuesday, Thursday 2:00-3:15p.m. Kuiper 308 Syllabus
Spring 2024 1 Lynn Carter Tuesday, Thursday 11:00a.m.-12:15p.m. Kuiper 308 Syllabus
Spring 2024 200 Steve Kortenkamp 7w AZ ONLINE AZ ONLINE Syllabus
Fall 2024 1 Joseph Schools Tuesday, Thursday 2:00-3:15p.m. Kuiper 308 D2L
Fall 2024 200 Jessica Barnes FULLY ONLINE AZ Online D2L
Fall 2024 201 Vishnu Reddy FULLY ONLINE D2L