#SC-03-12 Atmospheric Chemistry: Planets and Life Beyond Earth

  • Categories Science
  • Duration 12h
  • Total Enrolled 6
  • Last Update November 30, 2020

About Course

University of Leeds


Discover the extraordinary world of atmospheric chemistry.

On this course you will learn about planetary atmospheres across our solar system and beyond. You will discover what an atmosphere is, how it’s formed, and how data collected from space missions is used to determine a planet’s atmosphere.

You’ll also look into the factors needed to support life, explore the possibility of life beyond Earth and start the search for habitable planets. You’ll understand how atmospheric chemistry is communicated in the media and get a flavour of one of the most fascinating subjects explored during an undergraduate degree in Chemistry.

Who will you learn with?

Julia Lehman

I’m a University Academic Fellow in the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds. I work with lasers to probe chemical reactions important in planetary atmospheres.



Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

What Will I Learn?

  • Explore the diversity of planetary atmospheres across the solar system.
  • Investigate what scientific data on the composition of planetary atmospheres can be gathered from Earth and from space probes.
  • Reflect on the search for habitable planets.
  • Assess how the science of planetary atmospheres is presented in the media.

Topics for this course

10 Lessons12h

Atmospheres of planets in our solar system?

In this activity, you will learn how atmospheres are created and how they can change over time. This will help you understand the diversity of planetary atmospheres across the solar system.
How are atmospheres formed?00:02:12
Finding out more about planetary atmospheres00:00:57
Researching planets in our solar system
Planetary atmospheres in our solar system00:03:47

Active and Passive exploration missions?

In this activity, you will gain an understanding of the methods used to collect scientific data within our solar system, and see how scientists are able to use this data to determine a planet's atmospheric composition.

Cassini-Huygens Case Study?

This activity focuses on the Cassini-Huygens mission, an active exploration mission to Saturn and one of its moons which ended in 2017. It provides details about the mission, its objectives, findings and the missions end.


You are also introduced to some of the options for studying at the University of Leeds and to the topics covered next.

Student Feedback


Total 4 Ratings

3 ratings
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I have always enjoyed the knowledge of astronomy, and this course allowed me to understand how atmospheric chemistry is transmitted in the media, and to get a taste of one of the most fascinating topics to explore during my undergraduate degree in chemistry. It's really great.

The course led us to work together on the factors needed to support life, to explore the possibilities for life beyond Earth, and to begin the search for habitable planets. I learned a lot.

It's an amazing course to learn about what the atmosphere is, how it's formed, and how to use data collected from space missions to determine the atmosphere of a planet.

In this course, I learned about the solar system and the atmosphere of planets outside the solar system, and marveled at the vastness of the universe.


Material Includes

  • Official Certificate

Target Audience

  • The course is for anyone with a general interest in atmospheric chemistry but it will be particularly useful for students at schools and colleges who want to study chemistry at university. The course is part of the Going to University collection and completing it can help improve your university application by broadening your chemistry knowledge and developing your independent learning skills.