AST330
Topics in Astrophysics: Mars Seminar
Mount Holyoke College, Fall 2012
Web site for this class: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/mdyar/ast330_Mars/
Site will be frequently updated: please check it regularly!

M. Darby Dyar
217 Kendade Hall
Mount Holyoke College
538-3073 or 538-3220
mdyar AT mtholyoke.edu
Caleb Fassett
213 Kendade Hall
Mount Holyoke College
538-2240
cfassett AT mtholyoke.edu

Class meets 4:15–6:45 PM, Monday afternoons, room 225 Clapp.

Click here for a list of students in the class. If you think you should be on the class list but are not listed, contact Caleb as soon as possible.

In case of bad weather on Mondays, check this website. If Mountain Day is a Monday, this class will not meet, but the assignments will still be due and can be dropped off at Caleb's office or emailed to him. In all other circumstances, assignments need to be handed in as a hardcopy.

Modifications to the course schedule will also be made here; be sure to check it frequently for changes.

What we expect of you in this class:
Be professional and participate actively in the course.
Do the reading.
Keep up with the work.
Do the reading.
Know the syllabus and be aware of important dates.
Do the reading.
Get help promptly if you need it.
Do the reading.
Seek me out if we can help you with problems of any kind, or if you just want to talk!
Do the reading.

Attendance:
You do not want to miss this class! If you have to be absent, please contact Darby or Caleb via e-mail before the class to let them know where you are. Assignments will be due at 4 pm on the date of class; late assignments will be accepted only under special circumstances. Remember that your grade in this class will be based largely on your participation in class on exercises and discussions, so it's absolutely necessary for you to attend every class.

Weekly Assignments:
Weekly readings will be posted below as we progress through the year. Many of them will involve writing (this is a seminar, after all).

Texts:
The Planet Mars, by William Sheehan; this is available to read online.

The main text of this class will be a book called "Mars: An Introduction to its interior, surface, and atmosphere" by Nadine Barlow (Cambridge, 2008). It's $82 to buy; we have scanned in portions of the book. We will tell you in class the password you'll need to access them.

For the final class, we will read "The Case for Mars" by Robert Zubrin.

Assessment:
There will be 14 class meetings. Except for the first week and Thanksgiving week, there will be a written assigment due at the beginning of class each week. Each of these will be graded and assigned a numerical grade. The written assignments (in the 4th column of the table below) should be a 1-2 page, single-spaced, 12 pt. font, critical summary of some aspect of that week's reading. Criteria for presentations are given here; criteria for grading written assignments are given here. These written assignments will constitute 40% of your final grade.

There will also be assigned readings, and in many cases, short presentations. At the end of each class, we will assign you a number grade based on your participation and, if applicable, your presentation. At the end of the semester, we will convert each of these 12 scores to a percentage out of 100%, drop the lowest of these grades, and add the rest together. Participation and presentations will constitute 40% of your final grade.

There will also be a more in-depth critical writing assignment. This will be worth 20% of your grade. See info on student projects, below.

Student projects:

Guidelines for the paper are given here. For ideas, check out the Mars articles on this website: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/PSRdiscoveries/Archive/Contents.html
If you want to run ideas for your final paper by Caleb or Darby, do so well in advance of when the paper is due.

Some examples of papers from previous years can be found here (but note that these papers were in a different assignment from what we are doing this year -- YOU are writing a critical review of a paper in a peer-reviewed journal)... (these are mostly from the Moon class, but they'll give you an idea of what we're looking for):

Yokota et al. (2009)
ALHA 80015
Langseth et al.(1970 )
Rutherford and Papale (2009)
Haruyama et a. (2008)
Schmitt (1991)
Schedule (*subject to change):

Topic Date Everyone must read: Most weeks you will read two additional papers per week and hand in a summary of one of them at start of class: Due during class
Introduction Sept. 10 n/a n/a n/a
History of Mars Exploration Sept. 17 The Planet Mars
(1st 12 chapters)

 

Each individual should hand in his or her own 1-2 page summary paper about a topic in the book.

You are each assigned one primary chapter (bold) and one secondary chapter (at right); come prepared to give a short verbal presentation with your partners (you can use ppt if you like) (5 minutes) on the chapters you focused on in detail.

 

Ch. 1: Bellows; Meyer
Ch. 2: Kashyap; Bellows
Ch. 3: Macie; Kashyap
Ch. 4: Azari; Macie
Ch. 5: Glines; Azari
Ch. 6: Federenko; Glines
Ch. 7: Feng; Federenko
Ch. 8: Aureli; Feng
Ch. 9: Mack; Sharma
Ch. 10: Khatri; Mack
Ch. 11: Meyer; Khatri
Ch. 12: Sharma; Aureli

Exploration of Mars from its Surface and the SNC meteorites Sept. 24

Barlow Ch. 1

Each individual should hand in his or her own 1-2 page summary paper about a mission or samples.

Be sure to discuss the major science outcomes from the mission (or samples) with references. Provide context for why these results are important.

As a group, you will present a 15 minute presentation about your mission(s), complete with Powerpoint slides (maximum 10 per group). We will give you 45 minutes at the beginning of class to work together and prepare; however, it is important to come to class with some candidate slides prepared about your topic.

Viking Landers
( 1 and 2
): Azari, Kashyap, Khatri

Mars Pathfinder: Meyer, Aureli, Fedorenko

Mars Exploration Rovers: Glines, Sharma, Mack

SNC Meteorites: Feng, Macie, Bellows

Formation of Mars / Building Terrestrial Planets Oct. 1 Barlow Ch. 2

READ at least two of the following. Come prepared to lead discussion on the one listed with your last name at right, AND write a 1-2 page, single-spaced critical commentary of that paper.

Chambers, 2004
Halliday et al., 2001
Raymond et al., 2009
Walsh et al., 2011

Chambers: Sharma, Khatri, Bellows

Halliday: Meyer, Feng, Aureli

Raymond:
Mack, Glines, Azari

Walsh
: Macie, Fedorenko, Kashyap

break Oct. 8 n/a no class - October Break n/a

Orbital Missions to Mars: Spectroscopy, Mineralogy, and Chemistry

Oct. 15

Barlow Ch. 4

READ Chapter 4 from Barlow

THEN, read at least two of the following. Come prepared to lead discussion on the one listed with your last name at right, AND write a 1-2 page, single-spaced critical commentary of that paper.

Bibring et al. 2006
Boynton et al., 2007
McSween et al., 2009
Osterloo et al., 2008

Bibring: Kashyap, Meyer, Khatri

Boynton: Feng, Mack

McSween: Azari, Aureli, Sharma

Osterloo: Glines, Fedorenko, Bellows

Early Evolution of Mars

Oct. 22

Barlow Ch. 3

Kiefer, 2008

paper tips

READ at least two of the following. Come prepared to lead discussion on the one listed with your last name at right, AND write a 1-2 page, single-spaced critical commentary of that paper.

Neumann et al., 2004

Solomon et al., 2005
Andrews-Hanna et al., 2008
Marinova et al., 2008

Neumann: Sharma, Aureli

Solomon: Bellows, Mack, Kashyap

Andrews-Hanna: Azari, Fedorenko, Khatri

Marinova: Glines, Meyer, Feng

Hurricane Sandy! Oct. 29   Class cancelled -- all assignments postponed until next week  
Processes that modify the crust: Impact Cratering and Volcanism Nov. 5 Barlow Ch. 5 (through 5.3.2)

READ both of the following. Come prepared to lead discussion on the one listed with your last name at right, AND write a 1-2 page, single-spaced critical commentary of that paper.

Hartmann and Neukum, 2001.
Wilson and Head, 1994.

Hartmann and Neukum: Azari, Fedorenko, Kashyap, Khatri, Mack, Sharma

Wilson and Head: Aureli, Bellows, Feng, Glines, Meyer


Glaciation and the Flow of Ice on Mars

Special Guest:
Jay Dickson, Brown University

Nov. 12

Barlow 5.3.7

READ at least two of the following. Come prepared to lead discussion on the one listed with your last name at right, AND write a 1-2 page, single-spaced critical commentary of that paper.

Forget et al., 2006
Dickson et al., 2008
Holt et al., 2008
Byrne et al., 2009

Forget: Azari, Sharma, Glines

Dickson: Federenko, Aureli, Meyer

Holt: Kashyap, Bellows

Byrne: Khatri, Mack, Feng

Mars Movie Night Nov. 19 Thanksgiving week Joint meeting with Astrobiology Class at Hampshire for Mars Movie Night! (7 PM room to be announced)  
Mars Atmosphere and Mars Atmosphere/Surface Interactions Nov. 26

Barlow Chpt. 5.3.5 and Chpt. 6

Jakosky and Phillips, 2001

READ both of the following. Come prepared to lead discussion on the one listed with your last name at right, AND write a 1-2 page, single-spaced critical commentary of that paper.

Bridges et al., 2011
Hayward et al., 2009

Bridges: Azari, Aureli, Federenko, Bellows, Mack

Hayward: Kashyap, Khatri, Sharma, Feng, Glines, Meyer

Evidence for Water on Early Mars

Project Paper Due!

Dec. 3

 

Barlow 5.3.6

and

Chpt. 7

 

READ at least two of the following. Come prepared to lead discussion on the one listed with your last name at right. (No written summaries necessary).

Di Achille and Hynek, 2010 
Hynek et al., 2010
Murchie et al., 2009
Ehlmann et al., 2008

Di Achille: Aureli, Mack

Hynek: Azari, Kashyap, Glines

Murchie
: Bellows, Khatri, Meyer

Ehlmann
: Federenko, Feng, Sharma

The Early Mars Climate Debate

Dec. 10 Hand, 2012

READ at least two of the following. Come prepared to lead discussion on the one listed with your last name at right, AND write a 1-2 page, single-spaced critical commentary of that paper.

Segura et al. 2012
Wordsworth et al. 2012
Craddock and Howard, 2002
Halevy et al., 2007

Segura: Azari, Mack, Feng

Wordsworth
: Aureli, Kashyap, Glines

Craddock
: Federenko, Khatri, Meyer

Halevy
: Bellows, Sharma

Requisites of a Good Discussion
Remember that everyone in the class will get a discussion grade EVERY week. So you need to learn to be a good class participant. We really care about teaching you to interact with colleagues in scientific discussions.

The single most important fact to remember is that the class discussion is a cooperative effort--a collective good. Good discussions are not at the expense of someone else, and are susceptible to the problems of free riders. It is important to treat all comments with respect. If there is a point of disagreement, you have an obligation to raise it--but its purpose should be to assist the discussion, not to score points. This is an extraordinarily important point. Any other attitude will lead to the disintegration of the class. A few other points:

First, to have a good discussion, the participants must listen carefully to each other. Your colleagues have much to say, they generally are insightful, and their point of view deserves careful attention. You should respond directly to their comments.

Second, be precise in what you say. If there is ambiguity in the discussion, ask that it stop in order to clarify a muddled point. Definitions are important, and you should expect to be able to give them when necessary.

Third, be concise in your statements. This does not mean that you should necessarily limit your comments to one or two sentences. It does, however, mean that you should not ramble or develop peripheral points at great length. There is one outstanding characteristic of oral discussion: people begin to think about what you have said in your first or second sentences, which means that they are listening less attentively to any subsequent sentences. If you do not make your point early, it will not have the force or impact that you desire. You should therefore always try to have your conclusion up front--working inductively to a conclusion very rarely works.

Fourth, do not be intimidated by the prospect of having to speak in a class of twenty people. There is plenty of time for everyone to say what she thinks. Moreover, your evaluations will be based on what you say, not on how much you say. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that to do well in the course you need to hold the floor for a very long period of time.

Fifth, and this is most important, you should be prepared to make an argument and not just drop comments where they seem appropriate. Essentially reactive statements serve a useful clarifying purpose, but they do not constitute an argument. The best way to build an oral argument is to have one prepared before class that can be presented very quickly, and then to use the discussion as a foil for amplifying your basic argument. Do not think that you can "build" an argument while the class is running. The conversation is too fast, too complex, and too unorganized for you to figure out what you want to say while you are saying it. The class is extremely demanding in this respect, but its difficulty is matched by its rewards: having made a solid argument in a group discussion, with helpful and constructive criticisms from others is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have in a classroom.

Finally, do not attempt to intimidate or dominate. This is not an exercise in debate or public speaking. Extended monologues, orations, and harangues are to be avoided, and will be negatively evaluated. Remember, however, that the primary responsibility for preventing such misfortunes remains in your hands--either to not do them yourself, or to gently remind others to avoid them.