Lectures & Courses Series (last update 25 Jun 2010)
ABC-NET Astrobiology Lecture Course Series (a.y. 2007-2008)
Astrobiology is a newly emerging field of science. The scope of Astrobiology comprises the study of the overall pattern of chemical evolution of potential precursors of life, in the inter-stellar medium, and on the planets and small bodies of our solar system; tracing the history of life on Earth back to its roots; deciphering the environments of the planets in our solar system and of their satellites, throughout their history, with regard to their habitability; and searching for other planetary systems in our Galaxy. Hereby, Astrobiology provides clues to the under-standing of the origin, evolution and distribution of life and its interaction with the environ-ment, here on Earth and in the universe.
Scientists from a wide variety of disciplines are gathering in the study of Astrobiology, in-cluding astronomy, planetary research, organic chemistry, palaeontology and the various sub disciplines of biology including microbial ecology and molecular biology. Space technology plays an important part by offering the opportunity for exploring our solar system, for collect-ing extraterrestrial samples and for utilising the peculiar environment of space as a tool. How-ever, this full expertise in Astrobiology is not always available at a single university.
To overcome this problem the European Space Agency (ESA) proposed an innovative format of tele-teaching based lectures: experts from different European universities covering the vari-ous fields of Astrobiology agreed to contribute and created the first successful pilot project in the academic year 2005/06: an Astrobiology Lecture Course Network (ABC-Net). On 23 Oc-tober 2007 the ABC-Net and ESA officially kick-off the second academic year for this initita-tive: again the organisation of the event shall be conducted and supported by the ESA and its Erasmus Center. The tele-teaching shall be mainly based on three telecommunication tools: