Planetary Exploration in the Classroom

S. M. Slivan, R. P. Binzel (MIT)

We have developed educational materials to seed a series of undergraduate level exercises on "Planetary Exploration in the Classroom." The goals of the series are to teach modern methods of planetary exploration and discovery to students having both science and non-science backgrounds. Using personal computers in a "hands-on" approach with images recorded by planetary spacecraft, students working through the exercises learn that modern scientific images are digital objects that can be examined and manipulated in quantitative detail. The initial exercises we've developed utilize NIH Image in conjunction with images from the Voyager spacecraft CDs. Current exercises are titled "Using 'NIH IMAGE' to View Voyager Images", "Resolving Surface Features on Io", "Discovery of Volcanoes on Io", and "Topography of Canyons on Ariel." We expect these exercises will be released during Fall 1997 and will be available via 'anonymous ftp'; detailed information about obtaining the exercises will be on the Web at "http://web.mit.edu/12s23/www/pec.html." This curriculum development was sponsored by NSF Grant DUE-9455329.