Astro 104

Extra Credit Assignment:

What credit can you get?
        The Extra Credit Assignment will Replace Either your 2 lowest homework scores or your
lowest Quiz. You must specify which of these you want when submitting it.

What is the catch?
        This project is intended for people who have had a bad couple of weeks (or missed some) on
homeworks or just plain blew a quiz.  It's not intended for those who are looking to move up 1/2 grade on a quiz, or who are already getting an A.   To that end, you should understand that the 'catch' is that whatever grade you get on this project will replace your lowest quiz or 2 homeworks, even if you do worse on the project! This policy exists to ensure that those who do the project really need the extra credit.  (By the way, it will be hard to do worse if you put any work into this.  The purpose here is to limit submissions to those that are serious efforts.)

      If you are doing consistent work in this class, you will not benefit too much from this project.
It can only affect, at most, 10% of your grade (the weight of one quiz).  If you aren't sure if you need to do it, then you probably are better off spending your time working on the remaining homeworks, quiz and final (they count for a lot more and will require less effort).

Enough Disclaimers Already!  What's the Project?
        In keeping with the theme of this course, your project will be to explore some object in the solar system.  Specifically, you must do the following things.

                This sounds like a lot, but you don't have to go into great depth. The goal here is to get you thinking about what goes into a mission like Mars Pathfinder or Magellan.

                The culmination of this is a paper of 4 (or less) pages addressing your conclusions.  The
format of the paper must be single spaced, 12 pt. font, with 1 inch margins on all sides.

Where do I start?

                First you should decide on a problem.  You might want to look ahead at some of the
topics we have been covering since the mid term. Check on the web for information about that object.  A good site might be Bill Arnett's 'The Nine Planets' (, they actually go into the subject of unanswered questions. You should also look to NASA's missions page at This will give you a sense of what has been tried and what you can expect to get for a reasonable cost.

                Finally, you may want to look through the notes and books for ideas.  They all discuss
the outstanding issues.  And, as always feel free to use office hours and to contact me directly.

DUE 5/12/00

Ok then.... Go to it!