PHYS1160 Essays: why astronomers put telescopes in space. Describe the Hubble Space Telescope and some of its achievements. How will the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope differ from Hubble and what new science should be possible with it.

PHYS1160 Essays: why astronomers put telescopes in space. Describe the Hubble Space Telescope and some of its achievements. How will the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope differ from Hubble and what new science should be possible with it. 150 150 Affordable Capstone Projects Written from Scratch

PHYS1160 Essays: Why do astrobiologists think that liquid water is the most important requirement for life?
What is the evidence for the past presence of liquid water on Mars? Is it possible that
there is still liquid water on Mars today?

Essays are due before midnight on Sunday Sep 23rd (end of week 9). They should be
submitted online through the submission box provided in the Assessments page on
Moodle. You can submit it in a range of file formats (MS Word, WordPerfect, PDF,
Postscript, HTML, RTF and plain text).
Essay Topics — Choose one of the following
1. Space Telescopes
Explain why astronomers put telescopes in space. Describe the Hubble Space Telescope
and some of its achievements. How will the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope
differ from Hubble and what new science should be possible with it.
2. The Earliest Evidence for Life
Review the earliest evidence for life on Earth. What form does the evidence take and
where is it found? Discuss the controversies relating to some of this evidence and give
your conclusion on the earliest date at which we can be confident that life was present on
Earth.
3. Follow the Water
Why do astrobiologists think that liquid water is the most important requirement for life?
What is the evidence for the past presence of liquid water on Mars? Is it possible that
there is still liquid water on Mars today?
4. Life in Extreme Conditions
Explain what extremophile life forms are and w
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6. Exploration of Venus
Describe the history of missions to Venus and their achievements. How did we learn about
the thick atmosphere and high surface temperature of Venus and how did we map its
surface? Should we consider Venus as a possible site for life in our Solar system?
7. Gravitational Waves
On Feb 11 2016 the announcement was made of the detection of gravitational waves from
space using the Advanced LIGO facility. What are gravitational waves? How does LIGO
detect them and why is this discovery significant?
8. Small Solar System Bodies
Describe how space missions have been used to study small Solar system bodies (comets
and asteroids). What have we learned about these bodies? How might such studies help
us understand the origin of life on Earth?
9. Inside stars
Explain how helioseismology and solar neutrinos help to study interior of the Sun. Based
on two examples, a low mass star like our Sun and the star that is twenty times more
massive than the Sun, discuss how the internal composition of the stars changes during
their life.
10. Space mission to Pluto
The “New Horizons” mission is exploring the outer Solar System. Describe the objectives
of the mission and important scientific instruments on the space probe. Discuss what we
have learnt about Pluto after the closest approach to this dwarf planet. Explain how this
mission helps us to understand the processes of formation and evolution of the planetary
system.
11. Formation of planetary systems
Discuss the early ideas about the formation of our Solar system. Compare our solar
system with other multi-planetary systems discovered in the last 20 years. Explain what we
have learnt about formation of planets from these discoveries. Describe the concept of
planetary migration.
12. Kepler and TESS
Compare the strategy and objectives of the NASA Kepler mission and the new planned
TESS mission. Describe what observations are needed in order to confirm that an extra
solar planet has similar physical characteristics to our Earth. Discuss the role of the NASA
Kepler and TESS missions in search for planets similar to the Earth.
13. Habitability of Planets
Explain what makes a planet habitable. In the context of currently known extra solar
planetary systems discuss the likelihood of habitable planets in our Galactic
neighbourhood. Describe some examples of recently discovered extra solar planets, which
are suggested to be habitable and explain why.
14. Role model astronomer/astrobiologist
Science advances by efforts of large collective of collaborating people, but there are
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outstanding individuals that we all admire for their role in moving us forward in
understanding our world. Choose your favourite contemporary (that is born not earlier than
in the twentieth century) astronomer or astrobiologist that you learnt about in studying this
course, and describe their contribution to their field of research. Explain why this person
inspired you personally.
15. The Standard Cosmological Model
Describe the standard cosmological model (also known as the Lambda-CDM model of the
universe). What is the observational evidence that supports the model?
16. The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence
Explain what is SETI and how it approaches the search for the ET. Explain why radio
telescopes are particularly useful in such a search. If we make contact with an advanced
extraterrestrial civilization discuss how likely it is that we will benefit from the encounter
through, for example, the information they may provide on advanced technologies, or are
we likely to suffer through the hostility of a species that competes for our resources and
perhaps our planet? Based on your assessment should we be advertising our presence by
sending messages to the stars or would we be better keeping quiet?
Factors you may wish to consider could include:
o Do we expect advanced intelligent species to be friendly or hostile to other species
(based on evolutionary theory, and the requirements of survival of such a
species)?
o Has the human race developed more or less tolerance of different peoples and
cultures as civilization has developed?
o The historical record of encounters between colonial and indigenous peoples on
Earth.
o Our record of treatment of closely related species such as the great apes.
o The vast distances between stars and the difficulty of physical contact with
extraterrestrial neighbours.
17. Manned Missions to Mars
There is discussion of sending a crewed mission to Mars in the future. Discuss how such a
mission could be executed and describe its challenges. Describe possible benefits and
drawbacks of such a mission in comparison with the previous and future robotic
exploration of Mars.


 

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