There is several topics which writer can choose
There are many interesting topics related to this course that we will not have time to discuss in
class. Answering a discussion question will provide an opportunity to explore additional topics
on your own. This report is worth 50 points and 15% of your overall grade.
In your report, be sure to explain your response and why you think it is correct. The report
must be at least 600 words long and can be no more than 800 words long, as measured by a
word processing program. The word count should be given at the end of the report, before any
figures or citations. Reports can be hard copy (preferred) or submitted electronically as PDF.
Typed, APA style, Arial font, 11pt size double spaced with 1” margins all around. No bolding or
special formatting (except italics for book titles in the references). Left-hand justified, except for
a center–justified title.
In Upper left corner put: Date, class section, period
In Upper Right Corner : Name, ID
At the end, put your word count then list all of your references that you used as sources within
To help, use these websites for style guides
Perdue U. OWL online writing lab https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
The APA FAQ http://www.apastyle.org/learn/faqs/index.aspx
When you write a fact or idea in the report you need to cite your source along with it, to show
where you got it from. When you use ideas from a source, list the author and date in the text
when you use the idea (Challis, 2013). If there are multiple authors, use (Bennett et al., 2014).
At the end of your paper, list each reference and it will be clear who’s material you are using.
Here how the end references will look:
Your journal/periodical references
Malin, M. and Edgitt, K. (2000). Evidence for recent groundwater seepage and surface runoff
on Mars. Science , 288, 2330-2334.
Your book references
Beatty, J., C. Peterson, and A. Chaikin (2005). The New Solar System (4th ed.). Cambridge
MA: Cambridge press.
Your website references
Naeye, R. (2004, Sept 28th )Mars Methane Boosts Chances for Life. Sky and Telescope
Magazine. http://skyandtelescope.com/news/article_1358_1.asp (date you accessed site).
Each report must cite at least one external source (not including our textbook). These sources
can be magazine articles, books, or websites, but must be less than five years old. Internet
sources are the easiest to obtain, but they also have no publisher’s quality control. Use only
reputable sources, such as NASA & other agency sites like JPL, or university sites -Do not use
wikipedia. You should have about 4-5 sources and, at least, one must NOT be a website
As you write your report, be careful not to plagiarize your response from a book or website. It is
not acceptable to cut and paste pieces of text from one or more websites, with only minor
grammatical changes, into your report.Do NOT use quotes. Be sure that everything is
expressed in your own words. If plagiarism is detected, you will receive zero points for
Here is a general list of dos and don’ts for writing
Organize the report so it flows logically. Use
paragraphing skills like introductions and
Jump around putting random ideas and sentences
down with no linkage between them.
Use the impersonal. Write like a text book Give me personal anecdotes
include diagrams/figures where needed and
discuss them in you text
tack on diagrams that you don’t understand, then
not explain them.
Cite your sources within the text and list them all
at the end, after the word count
Insert long quotations just to add length. It shows
you don’t understand.
Be concise (it’s a vital skill), so always look to
see how to cut down the number of words.
Try to spread a weak analysis and other fluff over
Write in your own words, limit the number and
length of quotations.
Cut and paste text from websites – you are not
thinking and it shows.
Identifying and describing key issues: 20pts
Depth of information: 15pts
Appropriateness/quality of references: 5pts
Organization and Grammar: 5pts
Meets length and formatting: 5pts
Report Due Nov 19: Choose One of These Questions:
1) Pick a culture that is not part of the European tradition and discuss how they used the sky
(Archeoastronomy). Some sample questions to ask yourself: What sky objects were special to them?
What constellations did they create? Did they build observatories or sky-aligned temples?
2) What is adaptive optics? How does it work and why do astronomers use it?
3) You are going to be the first to put a lander on Mercury (it hasn’t been done yet). What do
you want to find out? What are some of the challenges your lander must overcome? What
instruments would you put on your lander?
4) Discuss the pros and cons of changing Pluto’s status from a planet to a dwarf planet. Why is
this being done? What alternatives are there? What would you recommend?
5) Pick a current mission in the solar system, write about it’s purpose, instruments and at least
2 key discoveries. Explain why these discoveries answer the purpose of the mission. (if you pick
an old mission that has been re-purposed, then use discoveries about the current part of the mission)
6) Pick an interesting geological feature on any world and write about it. How did we get data
on this feature? How do we think it formed? Why do we think this?
7) How does the Earth’s orbit and other astronomical phenomena affect our long-term climate
and produce ice ages?
8) Do earth-like planets exist elsewhere? How can we find them?
9) What is the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe? How do we go about finding it?