Astrobiology and Astrobiophysics


The Astrobiology and Astrobiophysics (ABABP) program consists of several lectures, seminars and tutorials grouped into three courses.






The ABABP I and ABABP II lectures deal with the processes leading to the emergence of life as well as those supporting and sustaining it, and with the integration of these processes into their environments. In addition to astrophysical and biological points of view, approaches from mathematics and information theory are also taken into account. The lectures extend over two semesters and are divided into ABABP I (winter semester) and ABABP II (summer semester).

In ABABP I, subject matter ranging from biogenesis to intelligence and communication is presented. ABABP II deals with the course of events extending from the origin of the cosmos to the formation of an environment suitable for life.

Both lectures can be attended separately and in any order, which makes it possible to begin with the courses in either semester (summer or winter).



The ABABP III lecture deals with manned missions and associated challenges posed to living organisms. The basics of radiation biophysics, effects of microgravity, and survival strategies for space missions (especially on space stations in near earth orbit) are discussed.

This lecture is independent from ABABP I and II; however, it requires basic knowledge of biophysics or of the contents of ABABP I and II.

ABABP III is a designated master’s course, but it can also be attended as part of one’s Bachelor’s studies.


The lectures are given by both astronomy and biophysics lecturers and mainly address Master’s and Bachelor’s students from physics and life sciences; of course, interested students from other faculties are also welcome.




Each of the lectures is accompanied by a seminar in which the backgrounds of scientific research on selected topics from the respective lecture are presented by participants; additionally, open questions and alternative approaches are developed in discussions.

The seminars can be attended independently from the lectures.




In addition to the ABABP I and II lectures, selected planetary systems and their habitable zones with possible life scenarios are discussed in interactive tutorials.

Participation in the tutorials is not a requirement for attending the lectures. However, it is recommended to have attended at least one of the lectures in order to participate in the tutorials.


Topics for theses


We constantly offer student projects as well as Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Diploma theses. If you are interested, please contact Prof. Grebel or Prof. Hausmann.

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Software Analysis of Tidal Accelerations in the Solar System and in Extrasolar Planetary Systems
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Software package for publication "Analysis of Tidal Accelerations in the Solar System and in Extrasolar Planetary Systems"

This source code can be used to simulate tidal accelerations within systems of celestial bodies (e.g. moon systems around planets, the whole solar system, exosystems). The tidal acceleration vectors between the celestial bodies are calculated for each time step. These are additionally added vectorially to calculate the total tidal acceleration acting on an object and its change during a time step. The source code must be compiled at least in the C++11-standard together with integration of the library "Eigen" ( Via CSV files the physical properties and orbit parameters of the celestial bodies must be read into the simulation. During execution CSV files are created, which contain for each time step the absolute values of the tidal accelerations for each celestial body. The also available Python3 script allows you to display these results in bar graphs.