Education and Outreach

Summer School: Water on Planet Mars–Follow the Flow

By Keith Cowing
March 30, 2010

This two week summer course will be held in Utrecht, The Netherlands at the Universiteit Utrecht from July 5-16, 2010.

Planet Mars has water ice near its surface, and dry rivers, deltas and gigantic canyons attest to past water flow on the surface. But how much water did flow on Mars? What was the past climate, and how long was the planet wet? Was there ever life on Mars and could life exist there in the future? This course focusses on Mars surface dynamics and landforms related to water. Topics include a general introduction to the Mars, comparison of terrestrial and Martian fluvial systems with a variety of landforms including impact craters, drainage patterns, rivers, deltas and canyons. Techniques employed in the course include image analysis, quantitative data analysis, laboratory experiments and physics-based modelling.

The aims of this course are (i) to introduce the student to planet Mars, (ii) to develop a thorough understanding of fluvial and deltaic morphodynamics on Earth and Mars, and (iii) to infer the implications for past hydrology and climate of Mars. We believe that a combination of dedicated lectures, literature and hands-on observation (image and elevation analysis), experimentation (creating self-organising landscapes with water and sand) and physics-based modelling (in a spreadsheet) by the student greatly enhances the acquired understanding of earth- and planetary science. The end product of this course will be an extended abstract on a case study in the style of the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

For more information: [Source NAI newsletter]

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.