Scale of the Universe

Powers of Ten

The following categories are organized around the Drake Equation:

R*  x  fp  x  ne  x  fl  x  fi  x  fc  x  L  =  N

Star Formation (R*)

Interstellar Molecules
Continually updated list of interstellar molecules
Star Formation
Has images and a "movie" simulating star formation
Star Formation
Star formation research at the University of Texas

The Fraction of Stars with Planetary Systems (fp)

 Planet searches

  Results so far
Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia
Lots of links to other sites

Habitable Planets Encyclopedia

  Transit Searches
European mission launched Dec. 2006
Chemical analysis of an exoplanet atmosphere using the transit technique

  Astrometric Searches

  Direct Detection
Mission being planned by NASA for direct detection of earth-like planets.
European mission comparable to TPF

UC Berkeley
Set of links to many sites containing information on exoplanet searches and astrobiology/SETI in general
JPL Intermerometer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory exoplanet site, specializing in Keck, SIM, and TPF interferometer missions
Transit search program (1 detection so far). Contains brief tutorial on other methods and links
Searches 1
Extended summary of many aspects of exoplanet searches
Signs of Life
NASA summary of search for atmospheric signs of life
Searches 2
Excellent summary of different search methods; part of Kepler transit mission web site

Our Solar System (ne)

Interactive Solar System
Applet that shows scaled version of solar system and planet location

  Life in Extreme Circumstances
Lake Vostok (Antarctica)
Discussion in connection to life on Europa

  Probes to Planets in our Solar System
Planetary Missions
Links to upcoming missions, resources

Magellan Mission to Venus
Has archive of Magellan results
Venus Express
ESA mission launched Nov. 2005

Viking Missions to Mars
Description of mission and basic results
Mars Missions
Has information on Mars Odyssey and Global Surveyor
Mars Odyssey
Orbiter began search for water Feb. 2002
Mars Exploration Rover Mission
Mars Rovers launched 2003
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Launched 2005, arrive April 2006
Phoenix Mission to Mars
Scheduled to launch in 2007
Mars Science Laboratory
Scheduled for launch in late 2011

  Martian Meteorites
Martian Meteorites
Many links, includes other Martian Meteorites

Project Galileo

Cassini-Huygens Home
Plans and status of mission

Europa and Other Moons
Lots of Europa links
Cassini-Huygens ESA Home
Results from the Huygens lander on Titan

Origins of Life (fl)

Life in Extreme Environments
Many interesting links
NASA Astrobiology Institute
NASA Astrobiology home page
How to Search for Life
National Report on Life Detection Methods
The Genetic Code Evolution
Under construction in 2002, but could have useful tutorials
General Astrobiology Links
Links to many areas not covered at other sites
Excellent discussion of astrobiology, oriented toward panspermia arguments
Strother Origin of Life Course Notes
Origin and evolution of life on earth course + many web resources
Walters Evolution Course
Duke Univ. Course
Duke Univ. Introduction to Exobiology course
U. Wash. Graduate Program
Description of Ph.D. program and ongoing research
On-Line Biology Book
Excellent presentations with many illustrations
U. Conn. microbiology course
MIT Biology Hypertext
Kimball's Biology Pages
Comprehensive, covers many topics of inerest in this course
The Astrobiology Index
Probably more links than anyone could get through, with links to original articles (many of them at popular level)
Tree of Life website
Website of author, Dr. David Hillis, UT Austin Integrative Biology. The Tree of Life pdf can also be found here - pdf.

Evolution of Life (fi)

Institute of Human Origins
Many useful items under the "Resources" link
Human Evolution: UCSB Site
Has gallery of crania
Excellent site with latest genetic data
PBS web site re: evolution
Companion site to TV series on evolution
National Center for Science Education
NCSE defends teaching of evolution
National Academy on Evolution
Concise booklet from respected scientists
Human Origins Program
Smithsonian Institution site
Evolution and Intelligent Design Q & A
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) site
Human Genome Project

Cultural Evolution (fc)

Origin of Oral Language
Seems interesting, but not sure about credentials
Origin of Written Language
Strange source, but looks good
Origin of Agriculture
Notes from a plant biology class
More on Origin of Agriculture
Another class notes; has interesting list of consequences

Lifetime of a Technological Civilization (L )

UN Population Report 2001
Report on population and related issues
US Census Bureau Population Clock
You can watch the population grow
US Census Data base
Links to real data
US Geological Survey Estimates
Facts and graphics
Energy Information Administration
Govt. agency website: lots of info about US
BP Review of World Energy
Very thorough report from British Petroleum Corp.
Federation of American Scientists
Many useful analyses
Center for Defense Information
General defense information
Spacewatch Project
Describes project to search for Near Earth Asteroids
Mix of science and speculation
NASA Office of Space Flight
Links to Space Shuttle, Space Station, etc.

Evaluating Your Drake Equation

Interstellar Communication (SETI )

Index of Searches
Index of all searches; appendix to Tarter review 2001
Are We Alone (web radio)
Discussion with SETI Institute staff (Sunday nights)
SETI Institute
Home site for SETI Institute; many links
Project Phoenix
Description of project results
Allen Telescope Array
Description of dedicated SETI instrument under construction
Project BAMBI
Amateur SETI
Harvard SETI
Project BETA, META, and others
Project BETA
SETI at home
(how you can join the search)
The movie
Space Site
A number of links re: searches
Electromagnetic Wave Demo
Demo of electromagnetic wave that moves
Satellte Radio
Description of how satellite radio works

Interstellar Travel  

Status of Warp Drives
Sober description of prospects
Why is it so hard?
Good review of the difficulties
Based on Ordinary Physics
Descriptions of Orion, Daedalus, ...
Project Phoenix
Description of project results
Where are They?
Scientific American article
The Fermi Paradox
Summary of the Fermi argument
Fairly high level discussion of worm holes and difficulties; has movies of falling into black holes and wormholes
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
Home page of the main debunkers of claims
Perry Klass Files
Klass has debunked many UFO claims

Websites for Chapter 2 on Galaxy Formation

Galaxy Formation  

Galaxy formation
has movies and some explanation
Galaxy and Structure formation
Most extensive calculation as of 2007; lots of movies.