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This page created 13 February 2014

Last update 17 February 2014

Handouts from Life, the Universe, and Everything 32

For the Naming Your Characters Panel on 13 February 2014
Naming Your Characters, Julia H. West's handout

For the Planet Building Panel on 13 February 2014
"Main sequence stars run from very hot and bright (O, B, and many A stars) through sunlike stars (dimmer A class stars, and G stars) and down to dimmer and (relative to the sun anyway) very dim stars (class K and M stars). Main sequence stars are sometimes referred to as dwarfs in contrast with giant and supergiant stars. So you will see sunlike stars sometimes referred to as "yellow dwarfs" and class M stars referred to as "red dwarfs" -- they're relatively dim and red." Read more at Stellar Classification, Brook West's blog post about Star Classes.

"Habitable Planets for Man examines and estimates the probabilities of finding planets habitable to human beings, where they might be found, and the number there may be in our own galaxy. The author presents in detail the characteristics of a planet that can provide an acceptable environment for humankind, itemizes the stars nearest the earth most likely to possess habitable planets, and discusses how to search for habitable planets. Interestingly for our time, he also gives an appraisal of the earth as a planet and describes how its habitability would be changed if some of its basic properties were altered. Habitable Planets for Man was published at the height of the space race, a few years before the first moon landing, when it was assumed that in the not-too-distant future human beings "will be able to travel the vast distances to other stars." More than forty years after its initial publication, and to celebrate RAND's 60th Anniversary, RAND is proud to bring this classic work back into print in paperback and digital formats." Free pdf of Habitable Planets for Man

Jim Bambra reviewed the first edition of GURPS Space for Dragon magazine #141 (January 1989). Bambra comments in his evalution: "Even if you never intend to play the GURPS game, the GURPS Space game is worth picking up on the basis of its ideas alone. For GMs who enjoy designing unique backgrounds for their players, and for GURPS players everywhere, this book is well worth getting." Quote from GURPS Space Wikipedia article.
Third Edition of GURPS Space
Fourth Edition of GURPS Space

Imagining Other Earths

For anyone interested in worldbuilding, there is a FREE online course from Princeton University) (through Coursera) entitled Imagining Other Earths. Even though (on February 17th when this is posted) the class has already started (it began February 3rd and runs for 12 weeks), you can still sign up for it. Or if you don't sign up for it, you can still watch (or download) the lectures. Here's a list of the lectures:

Introductory Lectures
Lecture 1: The Universe is Big!
Lecture 2: What is life?

The Solar System
Lecture 3: Energy balance: What determines planetary temperature?
Lecture 4: Snowball Earth
Lecture 5: Planetary Atmospheres
Lecture 6: Earth, Venus and Mars: the goldilocks story
Lecture 7: Mars and the search for life
Lecture 8: The Moon and tides
Lecture 9: Titan and Europa: habitable moons?
Assignment 1: Report on Planetary Exploration Missions

Stars and Extrasolar Planets
Lecture 10: Keplerís Laws Radial Velocity Searches for Planets
Lecture 11: Kepler Mission
Lecture 12: Imaging Other Planets
Lecture 13: Life of Stars
Lecture 14: Origin of the Elements
Lecture 15: Stellar Atmospheres Lecture 16: Jovian Planets
Assignment 2: Report on Astronomy Missions

Earth and the Origin of Life
Lecture 17: Formation History of the Earth and the Origin of Water
Lecture 18: Proteins, RNA, and DNA: Origin of Life
Lecture 19: Tree of Life
Lecture 20: Evolution
Lecture 21: Sex and the Origin of Complex Life
Lecture 22: Extremophiles
Lecture 23: Extinctions and Evolution Imagining Other Planets
Lecture 24: Aliens and the Future of Space Travel
Final Assignment: Design your own planetary system