First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SC07119871, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1173, Degree course structure A.Y. 2010/11, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination ASTROBIOLOGY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Physics and Astronomy
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge GIUSEPPE GALLETTA FIS/05

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses FIS/05 Astronomy and Astrophysics 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2010 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
8 Commissione Astrobiologia 19-20 01/10/2019 30/11/2020 GALLETTA GIUSEPPE (Presidente)
TAMINO GIANNI (Membro Effettivo)
7 Commissione Astrobiologia 18-19 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 GALLETTA GIUSEPPE (Presidente)
TAMINO GIANNI (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Elementary knowledges of Astronomy, Biology and Earth Sciences. The course is open to students of all the university degrees that are interested in the state of the art of scientific researches on the problem of the existence of life forms beyond the Earth.
Target skills and knowledge: Capability to critically analyse the hypotheses on the origin of life and the researches on other planets.
Knowledge of the state-of-art of the research for extraterrestrial life. Historical and sociological knowledge of the problems in the contacts between different cultures and technologies.
Examination methods: Oral exam with discussion about some topics of the course.
Assessment criteria: Knowledge of the arguments discussed in the lectures.
Capability to discuss and link together more arguments of Astrobiology.
Course unit contents: The debate on universality of life: from Lucretius to Hoyle; The Pansperm├Ča; The problem of the planet Mars; Exobiology in the twentieth century; The extraterrestrial life in the literature and cinema. Molecules and atoms essential to life forms. The birth of stars. The formation of chemical elements. The interstellar gas. The formation of interstellar molecules. Cosmic dust. Formation and composition of planetesimals. Meteorites. Organic compounds in carbonaceous condrites. Micrometeorites and cometary dust. Origin and evolution of the Solar System. Formation of the protoplanetary disc. The birth of planets. Birth of the Earth and primordial collisions. The formation of the atmospheres. The greenhouse effect. The problem of phosphor. Origin of the water on the planets. The original environments of life: Chronology of the life. Planets and protoplanetary discs around other stars. Problems of discovered planets. Habitable zones around stars and in the Galaxy. Search for life in the Solar System: Evolution of the Martian environment. The Viking biological experiments. Martian meteorites and fossil bacteria. Europa. Titan. Space travels: The problem of propulsion. Cell survival in space. Basics of human adaptation in space. Basics on microgravity experiments. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence: The Drake equation. Validity and limits of the equation. The evolution of civilizations. Communication with extraterrestrial civilizations. The problem of language. The impact of encounters between civilizations.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lessons and class discussions with PowerPoint presentations. Some seminars will be given by an expert biologist. Lectures are given in Italian.
Additional notes about suggested reading: The teacher will furnish a USB stick, to be copied,or a web link, to download the Powerpoint presentations (in Italian) used in class. These are complementary to the textbook.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Galletta, Giuseppe; Sergi, Valentina, Astrobiologia: le frontiere della vita. Milano: U. Hoepli, 2005. Libro di testo (in italiano) Cerca nel catalogo
  • Kolb, Vera M., Astrobiology: an evolutionary approach edited by Vera M. Kolb. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2015. Lettura suggerita: approccio biologico al problema (in inglese) Cerca nel catalogo
  • Longstaff, Alan, Astrobiology: an introduction. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2015. Lettura suggerita: approccio generale (in inglese) Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Carrara, Bryce ( Computer graphics applications)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Life on Land