Ast 233-01

Learning Goal: I’m working on a astronomy presentation and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.


We’ve covered a lot of ground–and space–in class this semester: this project is the capstone of all the things we’ve discussed. Choose (or invent) a solar system body or extra-solar world that you would like to know more about, and design a mission to visit that world.

Carefully consider the science objectives of your mission: which questions do you have about that world? What kind of explorer would you send? What kind of instruments would your explorer need to make measurements that address the science questions you have about that world? Give your mission a name (acronyms are always welcome in astronomy; the more strained, the better) and create a PRESENTATION introducing your exploration mission to the public. Make sure a general audience can engage with your presentation (avoid jargon or highly-technical language). Please create a slide present for your project based on the rubric below.


Your presentation should include the following elements, and will be graded in the listed proportions:

  • (40%) Which world will your mission visit, and why? What is interesting about this world, and what do you want to know about it that is currently a mystery?
    • Include facts that are already known about the world, and anything known about the star it orbits (and the planet it orbits, if you’d like to study a moon)
  • (30%) What kind of mission is it?
    • Include whether it will be a fly-by, an orbiter; will it include elements like a lander, a rover, or sample return? What technical elements do you need to consider based on the environment your mission will be flying through or encountering upon arrival?
    • (10%) What instruments will you need to use to make measurements that answer your science questions?
      • It’s ok if you don’t have names for them: a good description like, “an imager in ___ wavelength range,” or, “a spectrograph to measure ___ wavelength range,” or “an instrument that measures chemical composition” is entirely acceptable!
      • Consider the effort going into a mission: NASA likes to get the most out of these, so multiple instruments are the best idea.
  • (5%) What is your mission’s name?
  • The final 15% of your project score will be for creativity. If you were presenting/promoting your exploration mission to the world, what kind of #branding elements would you consider?
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