Developing an Undergraduate Planetary Geoscience Course at Montana State University - Bozeman

PI: James G. Schmitt, Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University - Bozeman

Funding is requested to support curricular development of an introductory Planetary Geoscience course in the Department of Earth Sciences at Montana State University-Bozeman. This course will provide undergraduates the opportunity to learn about the formation, geochemical and mineralogic composition and development, interior and surficial processes, and exobiology of the planets and moons of our solar system, as well as known exo-planets. Funds are requested to provide the PI with release time to devote to the content and pedagogical development of the course, and an opportunity to learn the most recent advances in planetary science.

Course emphasis will be placed on ways scientists acquire remotely sensed data from other planets and planetary systems and using both inductive and deductive reasoning, test hypotheses concerning planetary evolution and surface conditions. As such, the course will address observations and data relative to planetary interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres, using principles derived from integration of the chemical, physical, geologic, biologic, and engineering sciences. Discoveries in planetary science will be placed in a historical context of solar system exploration, focused on both mission objectives and evolution of progressively advanced data collection techniques.

This course will also provide science and non-science majors greater understating of applications of science, engineering, and technology to understanding the natural world beyond Earth, an appreciation for the synergistic power of interdisciplinary interactions in science and technology, and content background enabling them to appreciate the relevance of planetary geoscience to addressing larger questions such as the development of life in our solar system and beyond.


Contact Information

Mail: James G. Schmitt
Department of Earth Sciences
Montana State University - Bozeman
Bozeman, MT 59717
E-mail: James Schmitt
Phone: (406) 994-3331

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Updated September 19, 2014