Truman students enroll in Harvard astrobiology course


Truman State students have joined a free online course about astrobiology offered by Harvard University.

The new six week online course, entitled “Super-Earths And Life,” is “a course about alien life, how we search for it, and what this teaches us about our place in the universe,” according to the online description. Participants do not obtain credit, but anybody can enroll in the course.

Senior biology major Grace Kenney is one Truman student who has enrolled in the course. Kenney says she found out about the course through Facebook, and says it is good opportunity to get more knowledge and prepare for other classes in her major.

“I’m really hoping that it’ll take things I learn from other classes and kind of combine them, ” Kenney says. “It’s multidisciplinary class, and I’m hoping it will take a lot of my knowledge that are already have and I can focus that on the course.”

Kenney thinks it is a really good opportunity for everybody to learn what topic they are interested in without attending Harvard.

Eliza Kempton, Assistant Professor at Grinwell College, Iowa, says this type of free online course is good for people because of its flexibility, and it is meaningful for people to be interested in space and learn about it. She says it is worth exploring it.

“It excites a lot of people and it gets a lot of people interested in science,” Kempton says. “We’ve had quite a few technological advances turn around and be useful to us here on Earth. We want to know where we came from — we want to know where we fit in we have grand scheme of the universe. I think those are important intellectual questions that lead to other discoveries along the way, so it’s a good scientific pursuit.”

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