Earth & Planetary Sciences 438 -
Advanced Topics in Geophysics
Mars: Life, Tectonics and Exploration
Winter Quarter 2017
Monday, 1-3:20, F380
Donna M. Jurdy
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
The first humans on Mars may revisit the landing
site of the Viking 2 Lander to study the effects that the Martian
surface and atmosphere have had over the decades on the spacecraft.
Viking 2, launched September 9, 1975, entered Mars orbit on August 7,
1976. Viking Lander 2 touched down at Utopia Planitia on September 3,
1976. The two Viking Landers transmitted images of the surface, took
surface samples and analyzed them for composition and signs of life;
also they studied atmospheric composition and meteorology, and
delivered seismometers that were mounted on the lander's legs. Viking
Lander 2 ended communication on April 11, 1980.
To this day no seismometer has been placed on the martian surface. A
seismic network would provide invaluable information about martian
tectonic activity as well as about the surface and interior
structure of Mars.
(This image produced for NASA by Pat Rawlings. Technical concepts from
NASA's Projects Office, Johnson Space Center, 1991).
The seminar will cover the red planet Mars, starting with its role
in history, orbit, satellites, formation, physical characteristics; also covering recent probes, successes and failures and the results,
and theories for its
evolution and tectonic activity, including evidence for water
and implications for life and its origin there as well as possible present existence.
Dates, Text (Chapters), Topics Covered (Syllabus)
- Tues., Jan. 3 - Introduction, History of Observations
- Mon., Jan 9 (C1,2) - Orbit, Physical characteristics
- Mon., Jan. 16 - MLK, No Class
- Mon., Jan. 23 (C3) - Interior structure; geophysical measurements
- Mon., Jan 30 (C4,5) - Surface and Tectonics, Geology
- Mon., Feb 6 (C6,7) - Water, Atmosphere, Climate
- Mon., Feb 13 (C8) - Life on Mars?
- Mon., Feb. 20 - Missions to Mars: Past, Ongoing
Aileen Yingst, PSI
- Mon., Feb. 27 - Presentations
Marsquake: Mars Seismic Studies, Jacoya Thompson
Martian Meteorites, Leah Saldtich
Composition of Mars, Michelle Wenz
- Mon., Mar. 6 - Project Presentations
Climate States of Early Mars, Howard Chen
Valles Marineris, Reece Elling
Magnetite on Mars, Pylindia Gant
Propulsion for Spacecraft to Mars, Shawn Sobel
- Wed., Mar. 8 - Seminar wrap up
Life on Mars, James Hedrick
Future Mars Missions
- March 8 - 11 - WCAS Reading Period
- March 13 - Papers due, start Exam Week
Mars: An Introduction to its Interior, Surface and Atmosphere, Nadine G. Barlow, Cambridge, 264pp., 2008.
Mars, ed. by H. H. Kieffer et al. (with 114 collaborating authors),
U. of Arizona Press, 1455 pp., 1992.
(summarizes research through the Viking mission)
Books on shelf in F380, along with other sources.
Depiction of Mars in Fiction and Film, Space Exploration or 'First
Mars has played a central role in science fiction presented in both movies and fiction.
In the 50's, pre-space missions, alien life, often intelligent, resided on "The Red Planet.
(list of movies, related books)
Reprints for download
Class Visuals, & References