EPS 106, Freshman Seminar in Earth and Planetary Sciences,

                   Exploring Planets: Current Missions

 

 

Course Description: Presentation & discussion of currently active space exploration missions investigating planets in our Solar System and beyond.  Each week, a different mission (or two) will be discussed, including science context and objectives, and new discoveries.  We will discuss as a class why and how we explore other planets and Solar System objects.  Each student will be responsible for collecting background information and leading discussion for one (or two) mission(s).  Several class periods will include presentations by EPSc faculty or researchers who are active participants in a planetary mission (for example, MER, MSL, MRO, LRO, New Horizons). 

 

Professors: Brad Jolliff and Bill McKinnon (Spring 2018)

 

Credits: 1.  Meet once per week for one hour

 

Class times: Wednesdays, 1:10-2:00
(Spring Semester 2018)

 

Text: selected readings from the National Academy of Science’s Vision and Voyages, Solar System Exploration Decadal Survey, and Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration, as well as recent popular articles and various mission-descriptive internet sources (NASA, ESA, JPL, APL)

 

Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022

solarsystem.nasa.gov/docs/Vision_and_Voyages-FINAL.pdf

 

Text Box:

 

Grading:

 

Mission Presentation(s)

     – Preparation (25%)

     – Presentation (25%)

Class Participation (20%)

Project (20%)

Essay (10%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Course Outline: EPSc 106, Exploring Planets

 

 

 

 

 

week

date

schedule (topics and order to be set at beginning of semester)

 

 

 

 

 

1

1/17

Introductions, Recent and Current Missions

 

2

1/24

Decadal Survey & Pathways to Exploration:
Science visions and Human Exploration for the future

 

3

1/31

MER: Exploring Mars with the Twin Rovers

 

4

2/7

*Cassini – Farewell to Saturn’s Flagship mission

 

5

2/14

New Horizons – the Pluto System and Beyond

 

6

2/21

*Dawn: exploring Vesta and Ceres

 

7

2/28

MSL Curiosity roving in Gale Crater, Mars

 

8

3/7

*Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), Odyssey, MAVEN and MOM at Mars

 

9

3/14

Spring Break

 

10

3/21

Lunar & Planetary Sci. Conf., no class; work on Essay

 

11

3/28

*Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

 

12

4/4

*OSIRIS-REx and other asteroid exploration missions

 

13

4/11

*Looking forward: Plans for Europa and Ocean Worlds

 

14

4/18

Student Group Project Presentations

 

15

4/25

Student Group Project Presentations

 

 

 

 

 

Project: Design a mission to explore a planet or moon (student groups)

 

Essay: What should be the exploration priorities for the Solar System and why?  Robotic exploration, human exploration…

 

 

 

 

Planetarium / Observatory visit, schedule permitting

 

 - will schedule for an evening, around the middle of the semester

 

 

 

 

*Presentation of missions and discussion of science and technology objectives.   
Short presentations given by students & instructors, followed by class discussion.

 


See below for currently active missions

Currently active missions: 

 

From the Planetary Society:

http://www.planetary.org/multimedia/space-images/charts/whats-up-in-the-solar-system-frohn.html

Text Box: updated as of Nov. 2017