Astronomy 23/223 Homework:

Burning Questions in Planetary Science

The process of scientific inquiry involves a series of questions, which often lead to more questions. If we have done our jobs this semester, by this point you have in mind a few questions of your own that you would like to have answered. In this week’s homework, I invite you to formalize those questions and spend a bit of time thinking about how they might be answered.

 
1.

List three questions (or more if lots of things are bugging you) regarding the solar system.

 
   
2.

What are some ways to answer them? What data do you need? What smaller questions could help answer the larger ones?

 
   
3. Is there a reasonable chance of answering any of these questions in the near future (missions, observations, technology development in progress)?
 
   
  Example:
1. Is the Moon really made of green cheese?
   
2. Means to the answer:
    Go there and taste it.
    Observe a spectrum emitted by green cheese in the lab and compare it to one from the moon.
 
    Look for traces of green cheese in moon rocks brought back by astronauts.
 
   
3. Spectra can be taken, but there are not any missions currently planned for our Moon. The current sample of moon rocks do not seem to have green cheese components, so it is not likely that the moon is made of green cheese.
 
 


This page was created by Darby Dyar and is maintained by Darby Dyar and Rebekah Robson-May.
Last updated on 30 April, 2002.