Adult Courses at the Museum of Natural History
April 18, 2015
Registration Deadline: 04/18/2015
9 am – 4pm
Entrance: Central Park West at 79th Street
Tickets: $95 ($85 Members)
Please call Central Reservations at 212-769-5200 for registration.
Life on Earth is—as far as we know—unique in the universe. Yet astronomers have shown that there is a vast diversity to the kinds of worlds that exist within our solar system and beyond. From planets with scorching temperatures and high pressures to moons with oceans of toxic gases or liquids, there are limitless natural worlds to explore. Earth’s ocean, which harbors an array of exotic organisms, may be a model for many extreme planetary environments. Can exploring Earth’s oceanic depths offer clues to environments that could host life in our dark universe?
In this daylong workshop, we will apply what we know about the extreme ecosystems of the deep ocean to what astronomers are uncovering in deep space to identify the chemical elements necessary for life. Together with two Museum scientists, astronomer Jackie Faherty and marine biochemist Mandë Holford, participants will spend the day exploring strange new worlds in the Hayden Planetarium, visiting related Museum halls, and conducting experiments to learn about the elemental soup that could help define the boundaries at which life can occur on other planets. A tasting of “life in the extremes,” featuring various marine organisms with elements that might be readily available on other planets, will be provided by Daniel Latham, executive chef and owner at The Cornelia Street Café.
By the end of the workshop, participants will understand the chemical make-up of several astronomical bodies (solar system moons and extrasolar planets). In particular how they may have formed, how they are sustained, and how they can be understood in the context of our own planet.
Participants will also understand how the deepest parts of our Ocean is a scientific mimic for outer space and holds clues to what life on other planets may be like. Specifically they will learn about the creatures and the chemical elements found in the ocean’s extreme environments.