Astronomy 201: Spring 2003
Mars Semester project

Using any format (Word document; three-ring binder; notebook) you choose, you are to track the status and accomplishments of active NASA and ESA missions to Mars. You may include NASA press releases and/or images, but your tracking of this information should also include some effort, on your part, to put into your own words the significance of the science announced, the reason why these data were collected and analyzed, etc.  You should begin your "notebook" with a general summary of the mission(s) [e.g., launch dates, arrival dates at Mars, mission objectives, scientific instrument payload].  You should conclude your "notebook" with your own summary as to whether it appears to you that Mars Exploration is worthwhile, is accomplishing the goals set out by NASA, and is worth the expenditure of your taxpayer dollars.

Your project notes must be turned in on January 31 (intermediate check), February 28 (intermediate check) and April 18.

Grading: (5% of course grade)

January 31 intermediate check: due 5 PM.  10 pts. Not accepted late.
February 28 intermediate check: due 5 PM.  10 pts.  Not accepted late.
April 18: 80 pts x Letter Grade (on a 4.0 grade scale).  Late penalty: 20 pts per day.
The following links (also found on the regular class webpage) will be useful:
 Mars Odyssey mission
 Mars Global Surveyor mission
 countdown to: Mars Rover mission
 countdown to: Mars Express mission
 JPL link to all Mars missions
You might also find subscribing to NASA's press release service useful:
 NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to  In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe press-release" (no quotes).  The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription.  A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. NASA releases also are available via CompuServe using the command GO NASA.