Edinburgh University is to become the latest to offer an online course on the search for alien life.
The course is being provided as part of the Coursera scheme, a project encouraging leading institutions to provide high-calibre courses to people all over the world. Entitled "Introduction to Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life", the new course will be headed by astrobiologist Professor Charles Cockell and will explore questions such as "Is there life on other planetary bodies ?" and "How is it distributed throughout the Universe ?"
"We are trying to pick subjects that will interest people who may not have a higher education background, but at the same time these courses are based on a strong basis of knowledge," said university spokesman Ranald Leask.
"Edinburgh University will launch a series of short courses accessible online to the public for free from late 2012, including an opportunity to study an "Introduction to Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life"."
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