Ge 151 (Fall 2013), Credits: 9

Fundamentals of Planetary Surfaces

Review of surface histories and processes responsible for the formation and modification of the surfaces of the terrestrial planets and the Jovian satellites. Topics: exogenic surface processes, including impact, gravitational degradation, atmospheric modification of surfaces by wind and water, and the direct interaction of surfaces with plasmas; endogenic modification of surfaces by tectonics and volcanism; surface histories of Mercury, Venus, the moon, and Mars; the surfaces of icy bodies.


Ge/EE 157c (Spring 2013), Credits: 9

Remote Sensing for Environmental & Geological Applications

Use of different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum (visible, ultraviolet, infrared, and radio wavelengths) for interpretation of physical and chemical characteristics of the surfaces of Earth and other planets. Topics: interaction of light with materials, spectroscopy of minerals and vegetation, atmospheric removal, image analysis, classification, and multi-temporal studies. This course is complementary to EE 157ab with additional emphasis on applications for geological and environmental problems, using data acquired from airborne and orbiting remote sensing platforms. Students will work with digital remote sensing datasets in the laboratory and there will be one field trip.


Ge 194b, Special Topics in Planetary Sciences (Winter 2012), Credits: 6

Current issues in Understanding the Reservoirs of Water on Mars

Over the past decade spacecraft missions have made major discoveries regarding subsurface ice, hydrated minerals, ancient and modern-day liquid water, and obliquity-driven climate change on Mars. The time is ripe to update basic models of water on Mars for understanding the sources (accretion vs. late veneer), sinks (loss to space, loss to a crustal reservoir), and cycling (groundwater-fed lakes, mid-latitude glaciations, catastrophic outflows) of water and other volatiles. In this seminar, we will seek to understand the history of water on Mars quantitatively through examination of evidence for the size of the reservoirs and their fluxes through time. In addition to furthering understanding of current issues in Mars science, we will work to construct a working box model, constrained by predictions of isotopic ratios, that allows exploration of scenarios for water on Mars through time. The course will be based upon selected, wide-ranging readings from the literature. Each student will take a role in preparing a discussion subtopic for each class, will be responsible for writing a brief synthesis of the discussion for 1-2 classes, and as a final project will lead construction of a component of the model.