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NATS 1570 UT Exploring the Solar System Mission Proposal Question

 

INTRODUCTION

You are a member of a team of space scientists who require funding to send a robotic space craft to an object in our solar system. You are submitting a mission proposal to an international funding organization for space missions; this organization only funds missions that are conducting research in the following four areas:

  • The potential for human habitability on another planet or moon in our solar system
  • The search for extraterrestrial life on another planet, moon, comet or asteroid in oursolar system
  • The potential for the discovery of natural resources on another planet, moon, cometor asteroid in our solar system
  • Climate change on another planet or moon in our solar systemYou will write an original proposal, that describes a mission to an object that is beyond Earth but within the solar system (e.g., a planet, a dwarf planet, moon, asteroid or comet within our solar system); your proposed mission will conduct an investigation that advances the work already being done by today’s space scientists in the areas listed above. Since the members of the funding organization are not necessarily specialists in your area of research, your writing must be in layperson terms.INSTRUCTIONS

1. Inspiration: for inspiration, you will choose a news article from a popular science source below. The article must meet the following criteria:

  1. it must have been published between September 2020 and the due date of theproject
  2. the article must describe research and scientific results that have application tothe four categories above (it doesn’t have to specifically mention something from the four categories, but you must be able to draw connections to those categories)
  3. the article must be specifically talking about an object in our solar system beyond Earth but within our solar system If you choose something outside the solar system, you will likely fail this project. If you chose an article discussing Earth you will likely fail this project.
  4. Note also that the article you choose must be reporting results about a scientific discovery. (e.g., ‘Perseverance has landed on Mars’ is not a scientific discovery).
  5. it must be from the list of allowable sources belowpage1image1992998544 page1image1992998960

Allowable Sources:

  • Astronomy Magazine (Astronomy News): www.astronomy.com/news
  • NASA Science News: science.nasa.gov/science-news
  • Astrobiology Magazine: www.astrobio.net
  • Space.com News: www.space.com/news
  • Universe Today: www.universetoday.com (be sure to read the full article, not justthe introduction shown on the title page)
  • Scientific American (space section): www.scientificamerican.com/space
  • BBC (Science and Environment): www.bbc.co.uk/news/science_and_environment(type ‘Astronomy’ in the Search box to find Astronomy-related articles
  • New York Times (Science – Space and Astronomy): www.nytimes.com/pages/science/space
  • Nature: www.nature.com/subjects/astronomy-and-planetary-sc… (Note:Nature is written for an audience with at least a 1st-year undergraduate level of scientific fluency, but if you have a strong interest in science, I encourage you to challenge yourself!)
  • The Planetary Society: https://www.planetary.org/articles NOTE:
    1. Some articles are only a few paragraphs – be sure that your chosen article has enough content to sufficiently complete the requirements in the steps below. Or be prepared to do research outside your chosen article to determine the required information
    2. The article must be a text article (not a video clip).
    3. All York students have access to all of the above sources free of charge. If youaccess the sources from York’s WIFI network, you will not be asked for subscription fees. If you are working remotely, you may need to first login to York’s library portal using your Passport York user ID at www.library.yorku.ca/ web/ask-services/computing/off-campus-access/ in order to avoid subscription fees
    4. If you find an article that you are very passionate about, that you believe meets the criteria a-through-d above BUT is not on the list of allowable sources, then bring it to office hours and we can chat about it
  1. Submit the Article Information Form: Click on the “Your Article Information” Form link in the Project section of our eClass site and complete the form. This form requires you to enter your article’s title, publication date, publication source (Astronomy Magazine, Universe Today, etc.), URL and subject (e.g. the Sun, the Moon, asteroids, etc). 
  2. Read your article and define scientific concepts: Read through your article, identifying all scientific terms and concepts that you’re either unfamiliar with or that need clarifying for a layperson audience. Look up their definitions or descriptions,then create a glossary by describing each term or concept in your own, layperson words. Be sure to include the web address for each glossary item as you may need it later on (NOTE: Wikipedia is NOT a permissible source).?

** Not all of the work you do in this step will not be turned in for marking, but creating a comprehensive glossary will help you to understand the research being explained, and help you communicate it to a layperson audience ** 

4. Write your funding proposal: Your mission proposal must be handed in using the “Project – Mission Proposal – Template.docx,” which you can download from the course’s eClass site. Fill in each of the sections with your work as described below:

  1. Academic Honesty Statement: Read and sign the academic honesty statement by typing your name in the space provided. Your assignment will not be marked unless this statement is signed.
  2. Background on your object of interest (400-450 words): In layperson terms and in your own words (no quotes), provide a 400-450 word background report on the object of interest from your chosen research article. (i.e., if the article you chose is about Mars, then you would write about Mars.)
    • Specifically, provide a description of the object’s location in the solar system, orbit/period, what type of object it is, its internal structure, atmosphere, surface features, etc.
    • When writing this section, be sure to connect to various concepts and content that we’ve learned in lectures• citations are required for any facts or ideas that are not your own. Note this means an in-text citation AND a full citation in the Works Cited section is required (section H). Your in-text citation can only be a number in brackets that corresponds to a full citation in the Works Cited section.
  3. Scientific Glossary: Choose 5 concepts/terms from the glossary you created in step 3 and include your explanations of these terms in the Scientific Glossary section of your template. This must be done in layperson terms and in your own words (no quotes). After each glossary item, include a full citation of the source of your information. This means that for the glossary, the citations don’t need to be placed in the Works Cited section.
  4. Summarize the Research (300-350 words): Describe, in layperson terms and in your own words (no quotes), the research and results that were reported on in the article you chose. Be sure to include:• Who: The name of the research teams and/or institution(s) which conducted the research?
    When: A general description of the period of time during which the research was conducted 

Where: A general description of the telescope/observatory/dataset used to conduct the research?

What: A description of the object or type(s) of objects being studied, the discoveries that were made about the object(s), and the significance of the discoveries, as stated in the article. Be sure to include all important scientific results mentioned in the article. 

How: A general explanation of the method used to make the discovery.

  • citations are required for any facts or ideas that are not your own. Note this means an in-text citation AND a full citation in the Works Cited section is required. Your in-text citation can only be a number in brackets that corresponds to a full citation in the Works Cited section.
  1. Research Next Steps (75-100 words): In layperson terms and in your own words (no quotes), provide a justification for further investigation to advance the discovery/research. Some guiding questions:
    • What questions were left unanswered by the work in the article?
    • What questions will your mission attempt to answer?
    • citations are required for any facts or ideas that are not your own. Note this means an in-text citation AND a full citation in the Works Cited section is required. Your in-text citation can only be a number in brackets that corresponds to a full citation in the Works Cited section.
  2. Mission Description (300-350 words): Describe, in layperson terms and in your own words (no quotes), how your mission will attempt to answer the question(s) you’ve raised above, and why this investigation should be funded. Your argument should be reasonable, informed, and thoughtful. You must include:
    • How your mission will attempt to answer the question(s) (photographs? measuring samples? sample return to Earth? measurement of something else?)
    • An explanation of how your mission meets the mandate of the funding organization. i.e., by contributing to knowledge in at least 1 of the 4 areas listed in the Introduction section above
    • The type of spacecraft(s) that will best meet your objectives. e.g., orbiter, lander, rover, etc) and why
    • Why should this mission be funded? i.e., what value does it have to our understanding of the universe, and what value does it have to humanity in general (not just to scientists)
    • Any additional arguments you can provide to convince the funding organization of your mission’s value. e.g., Maybe there is already a mission proposed to go to your object, how will your mission be different? how will your mission compliment the other mission?
  • G. Calculation of Orbital Parameters (table, image, calculations): Provide a launch plan that proposes a date the spacecraft will launch from Earth, and how long it will take to get to your target. Specifically:?
     

G.1. Fill out the first four columns of the table found in G.1. Column #3 requires you to determine the best date to launch your spacecraft. Provide the day/ month/year of your launch. Your launch date must be IN THE FUTURE.?
 

How to determine the launch date of your spacecraft: The best time to launch a spacecraft to any object in the solar system is when the object is at opposition. Opposition is an astronomical term that indicates the object is opposite the Sun in the sky (i.e., Earth is in-between the Sun and your object). To find opposition for your object, use the website The Sky Live (https:// theskylive.com/3dsolarsystem). Navigate to the website, and you will see the following: 

page5image1878911808 page5image1878912096 page5image1878912384

Use the search bar to find your object in the solar system. Use your mouse to orient the solar system such that you are looking down from above the plane of the solar system and can see Earth, the Sun, and your target. Click on the little clock icon (next to the camera icon), and move time forward until your object is at opposition. 

Example: In the image below, Mars is at opposition (note in this example I have specifically chosen a date in the past, which you cannot do) 

page6image1879035616 page6image1879035904

Once you have found a date that works (in the future), fill in the appropriate portions of the table found in G.1. of your Template.?
 

G.2. Click on the camera icon to download an image to include in your report (the above image is an example of what the camera icon provides). Provide a brief caption under the image, and provide an in-text citation in your caption to cite the source of the image (The Sky Live). 

G.3. Calculate how long it will take to fly a spacecraft to your object’s location using Kepler’s 3rd Law. Instructions on how to do this will be provided in-class. Carry out this calculation by hand on paper with a pen or pencil (or with a tablet/ stylus). Take a clear and zoomed in photo (or scan) of your calculation and include it in your report in section G.3. Fill in the last column of the table in G.1. 

page6image2047848048

**** If the mission you are planning is to Mercury or Venus****

Choose a date in the future where the Mercury/Venus is in-between Earth and the Sun.?
 

**** If the mission you are planning is to the Moon ****

G.1. The best time to launch to the Moon is when the Moon is at Perigee. Use TimeandDate.com (link below) to determine the perigee date that is closest to your NEXT birthday. Use this website:?
 

https://www.timeanddate.com/moon/canada/toronto?mo… 

page7image2047628816

Change the month/year to match your next birthday, and then find the day when the Moon is at perigee that is closest to your birthday. Once you have found a date that works (in the future), fill in the appropriate portions of the table found in G.1. of your Template. 

G.2. Provide an image of the location of the Moon in the sky on the date you found for G.1., use this link: https://theskylive.com/planetarium?obj=moon, click on the clock icon to change the date, and the camera icon to download an image. Provide a brief caption under the image, and provide an in-text citation in your caption to cite the source of the image (The Sky Live).?
 

G.3. Calculate how long it will take to fly a spacecraft to your object’s location using Kepler’s 3rd Law. Instructions on how to do this will be provided in-class. Carry out this calculation by hand on paper with a pen/pencil (or with a tablet/ stylus). Take a clear and zoomed in photo (or scan) of your calculation and include it in your report in section G.3. Fill in the last column of the table in G.1.

H. Works Cited: Provide a numbered list of the resources you used to obtain your information in Sections B, C, D, E, F, and G (including any images you used). Everything that you take from other sources must be cited. Each work need only be numbered once, and then you may use that number multiple times for in-text citations in the sections above. 

4. Edit your work: When you’ve finished filling out all the sections of the “Project – Mission Proposal – Template.docx,” make sure to have it spell checked and grammar checked and get it edited so that you don’t lose marks for poor writing. Both your grammar and your spelling will be marked. Here are some ways to get your work edited:

PLEASE NOTE:

  • While I appreciate that students are anxious to receive their marks, please be aware that high-quality and thorough marking of written assignments is a time-consuming process. Students are therefore asked to refrain from requesting their marks. Marking updates will be posted via the Course Announcements forum.
  • If you feel that a marking error has occurred (as opposed to a disagreement with the strictness of the marking), you can report the error to the professor by completing the Marking Error Form in the Need Help? section on eClass.  

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