2016 Planetary Science Short Course (PLANETSC 9603A)

Offered through the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX), the Department of Earth Sciences, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Western Ontario & NSERC CREATE Technologies and Techniques in Earth and Space Exploration (

This is an intensive 7-day short course for graduate students, researchers, industry and government employees on planetary science. This course is mandatory for all new planetary science graduate students at Western and should be taken during the first year. The focus of the course will be on the fundamental processes that have shaped the terrestrial planets and their moons, and asteroids. Particular emphasis will be placed on investigations of the Moon, Mars, and asteroids, which represent the highest priority targets for the Canadian planetary science community and the Canadian Space Agency. Some of the world’s leading experts on planetary science will present 1 day or half-day modules on selected topics. The course will be suitable for advanced undergraduate students, graduate students and for professionals from industry and government. The course will feature both overview lectures on background theory, smaller topical study groups as well as hands-on activities involving imagery returned from unmanned orbiters and landers as well as astromaterials in the form of meteorites and analogue materials. Recent and ongoing planetary missions will be highlighted. It is intended to provide the non-specialist with a working knowledge of the multidisciplinary fields within planetary science. This course will focus on the following topics or modules:

Cosmogony – Origin of the solar system and planet formation.
Planetary interiors.
Planetary surfaces.
Planetary atmospheres.
Small solar system bodies
Specific topics that will be addressed within the modules, where applicable, include:

The use of remote sensing datasets from planetary missions.
Terrestrial analogues of space environments.
Astromaterials and analytical techniques for sample analysis.

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