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PHYSICS 3010

SPACE EXPLORATION

 

COURSE SYLLABUS

FALL 2009

 

Instructor:              Ludger Scherliess

Office:                   SER 316

Office Hours:        By appointment

Tel:                        7-7189

Fax:                       7-2992

E-mail:                   ludger.scherliess@usu.edu

Classroom:            Old Main 119

Times:                   Tuesday/Thursday  3:00 - 4:15 p.m.

Class website:       http://www.physics.usu.edu/

                              Click Class Websites

                              Click PHYX 3010 in Fall 2009 column

Textbook:              There is no textbook, the PowerPoint slides for each class section will be accessible at the class website.  Additional material can be found in books and from professional web sites such as www.nasa.gov.

 

Course Goals:

 

Science is the basis of the advanced technology that affects our lives today in countless ways.  Whether it is the macroscopic world of the machines we use every day, or the microscopic world of atoms that play a crucial role in the functioning of those machines.  Technology is ultimately driven by energy, so studies of our prime energy source, the sun, and understanding its very large-scale motion is a strong influence on our lives.  Finally, on the ultimate size scale of the universe astronomical phenomena are of consuming interest to most of the population and their curiosity as to whether other life forms exist in the cosmos has been and continues to be a very powerful driver of space exploration.

 

The decisions on which technologies are promoted are governed by many other considerations than the science behind them.  Wide-ranging political and economic considerations play a major part in the advance of technology.  In turn the consequences of these political and economic decisions have extensive social implications to the population.  The feedback between the people and the political and the economic powers operates in quite different ways leading to the very complex interactions in our modern society.

 

In this course we will use the development of space exploration, primarily of the near earth environment, as an example of the effects of the interaction of science, technology and society.  The term “Space Exploration” will be used to encompass exploration for the acquisition of fundamental knowledge, for commerce and for national defense.

 

In summary, the goals of the course are as follows:

1.     Become more aware of the technology behind space exploration, manned and unmanned and for scientific, commercial or defense uses of this technology.

2.     Understand the increasing effects of this technology on all our lives, for both good and bad.

3.     Appreciate the roles of society to affect the direction and use of new technologies, and also to be aware of ethical, environmental and legal issues arising from our increasing use of space technology.

4.     Increase your skepticism and criticism of the claims made as new technologies and new uses for existing technologies emerge into the public arena.

5.     Leave the class as a more aware, informed and responsible citizen of the world.

 

 

Course Outline

 

 

 

 

Tentative Schedule

 

 

TUESDAY

 

THURSDAY

QUIZ topic

25-Aug

Course Format/Introduction

27-Aug

Introduction

 

1-Sep

Near Space Environment

3

Near Space Environment

 

8

Near Space Environment

10

Near Space Environment

 

15

Getting into Space QUIZ#1

17

Getting into Space

Near space environment

22

Getting into Space

24

History of Space Exploration

 

29

History of Space Exploration QUIZ#2

1-Oct

Science exploration

Getting into space

6

Science exploration

8

Science exploration

 

13

Science exploration

15

No class (Fall Break)

 

20

Commerce exploration QUIZ#3

22

Commerce exploration

Science exploration

27

Defense exploration QUIZ#4

29

Defense exploration

Commerce exploration

3-Nov

Earth Observation

5

Earth Observation

 

10

Space exploration and nationalism QUIZ#5

12

Space exploration and nationalism

Defense exploration

17

Present status

19

Present status

 

24

Future Exploration QUIZ#6

26

No class (Thanks Giving)

Space exploration and nationalism

1-Dec

Future Exploration

3-Dec

 

 

 

 

 

Class quizzes

 

The above timetable shows the dates and topics of six quizzes to be given throughout the semester.  The grades for all six of the quizzes will be included in the final grade computation.

 

 

Group Portfolio

 

There will be no final examination in this course, but a group portfolio will be required.  This document must be handed in no later than 5:00 pm December 3, 2009.  Because of stringent time restrictions on submitting grades to allow degree certificates to be presented at commencement any portfolios later than the deadline will not be graded.

 

One of the following topics should be chosen for the portfolio:

 

The History of Space Exploration

 

Space Science

 

Space Commerce

 

Space Defense

 

Space Imaging

 

Space Exploration and Nationalism

 

The Future of Space Exploration

 

Other topics are possible, but your group must obtain my approval of the topic.

 

In order to address several of the pedagogy guidelines for a University Studies depth course and to be able to implement them in a large class a group portfolio will be used to complete the final grade computation.  After the initial dropping/adding has settled down, I will assign you to groups of sufficient number to end up with no more than 15-20 groups.  Each group will produce a portfolio providing you with valuable experience in working collaboratively and experience in writing and research all of which are goals of the University Studies program.

 

            In the third or fourth week of the semester I will assign the groups discussed above.  Each group should meet and select a spokesperson.  This spokesperson will be the link to me in matters connected with the portfolio.  The prime method of communication will be e-mail.

 

In order that all class members will be free to meet with their groups at least once, I will devote one partial class period for group meetings in the classroom.  The group meeting will be to select a group spokesperson, to select a topic for the portfolio and to discuss what each group member will contribute to the portfolio.  After this meeting the group spokesperson should send me an e-mail indicating who he/she is and which topic has been selected.  I encourage groups to arrange additional meetings in their own time if this is possible.  Groups should also utilize e-mail to share and discuss contributions to the portfolio.

 

            I will only grade one portfolio for each group, and each group member who contributes to the portfolio will receive the same mark for the common elements of the portfolio which are an accurate and complete cover page and table of contents and the general content and format of the portfolio.  These common marks will be given to each group member whose name appears on the cover page.  That list of names will also match the individual contributions in the portfolio.  Each individual contribution to the portfolio will also gain additional marks for the individual, so the individual group member names must be clearly shown on their contributions.

 

The group spokesperson will be responsible for contacting the group, organizing meetings and progressing individual contributions.  The group spokesperson will also assemble the final document for submission at the end of the semester.  He or she will gain extra credit of 5% when a complete, acceptable group portfolio document is handed in.

 

            The portfolio should include parts that are written, illustrations with written descriptions, graphical/tabular with written descriptions, quantitative calculations with written descriptions, references and any other media that is appropriate to the topic of the portfolio.  The material should be organized in a logical manner to provide the reader with a clear view of the background, issues and future prospects involving the topic chosen.  A more detailed description of the portfolios will be distributed later.  There is no need for elaborate binding of the portfolio – a collection of the items in a manila folder will be adequate.

 

Course Grade Computation

 

6 quizzes                                                                                 50%

Portfolio                                                                                  50%

 

A percentage score will be computed for each student and the letter grade assigned according to the conversion table below:

 

Letter grade     A         A-        B+       B         B-        C+       C         C-        D+       D

% score           90        85        80        75        70        65        60        55        50        45

 

The scores represent the lower bound for the adjacent letter grades.  For example a B grade will be given for all aggregate % scores, weighted as described earlier, which fall between 75.0% and 79.9%.  Marks of 44.9% and below will be graded F.


Late Adds and Drops

 

For Fall 2009 semester, the last day to add a class is 14 September 2009.  The University is enforcing late adds and drops with more rigor than in the past and students will not be able to receive credit for the class if they are not officially registered by that date.

 

For Fall 2009 semester, the last day to drop a class without a notation in your transcript is 14 September 2009.

 

 

Materials for Persons with Disabilities

 

In cooperation with the Disability Resource Center, reasonable accommodation will be provided for students with disabilities.  Please meet with the instructor and contact the Disability Resource Center (797-2444) as soon as possible during the first week of class to make arrangements.  Alternative format print materials, large print, audio, diskette or Braille will be available through the Disability Resource Center.