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 2017)

 

Credits: 1.  Meet once per week for one hour

 

Class times: TBD
(Spring Semester 2017)

 

Text: selected readings from Vision and Voyages, Solar System Exploration Decadal Survey; Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration, and various mission-descriptive internet sources (NASA, ESA, JPL, APL, etc.)

 

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 (15%)

Project (25%)

Essay (10%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Course Outline: EPSc 106, Exploring Planets

 

 

 

week

date

schedule (set at beginning of semester)

 

 

(schedule below reflects example from a previous semester)

1

 

Introductions, Setting the Table

2

 

Decadal Survey: Visions for the future

3

 

Lightning Round* 1: Kepler, Voyager

4

 

Lightning Round 2: Europa, New Horizons, Rosetta

5

 

Lightning Round 3: Juno, Cassini

6

 

Round 2, Dawn (Vesta, Ceres), MER

7

 

Round 2, MESSENGER, MSL (Curiosity)

8

 

Special topic: current mission scientist presentation

9

 

Spring Break

10

 

Lunar & Planetary Sci. Conf., no class, work on projects

11

 

Round 2, MRO, LADEE

12

 

Round 2, GRAIL, Venus Express

13

 

Round 2, Cassini, Odyssey

14

 

Round 2, LRO, MER (Opportunity)

15

 

Project Presentations

16

 

Project Presentations

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

Planetarium / Observatory visit, schedule permitting

 - will try to schedule for an evening, around middle of semester

 

* Lightning rounds are brief overviews of currently active missions.
Round 2 presentation and discussion are more in-depth.

Presentations led by a combination of students and instructors.

 



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 Jan. 2017