April 18, 2021 @ 1:00 pm EDT - 3:30 pm EDT
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World Building: Oceans & Waterworlds
Our global ocean defines our world and makes life possible, and our search for life elsewhere is based on the premise that this will hold true on other worlds as well. But how and why is the ocean so important to life on Earth, and will other living worlds also need oceans? In this Research for Writers seminar, we will explore the many layers of our ocean, from its sunlit surface to the frigid and lightless seafloor. We will examine the formation of this global ocean and how it has both changed and remained constant throughout our planet’s geological history. We will survey the dynamics of oceanic circulation, and see how atmospheric winds can affect currents in the dark abyss. We will consider the interplay of continents and climate, and we will see how a planet’s oceans can freeze over entirely–and how they return to normal again. We will conclude by examining the prospect of subsurface oceans on nearby moons, the likelihood of waterworlds around other stars, and what this may mean for life elsewhere in the galaxy.
Please note: This class is an online class. To participate, students must have a stable internet connection with a computer or device with a webcam and microphone.