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GG 404 FALL 2018

TR 1:30 to 4:20 pm, POST 544

Chemistry of Planetary Surfaces

A solar flare solar monitor (SAX) spectrum, corresponding Gas Proportional Counter (GPC)
X-ray spectra of filtered and unfiltered detectors, and a final data product Mg/Si map of
Mercury as obtained by MESSENGER are presented side by side. The two endpoint products,
recorded spectra and global elemental abundance (elemental ratio) maps illuminate
sophistication and success in elemental mapping with planetary X-ray fluorescence
Figure a) shows an example of an averaged solar monitor spectrum and corresponding
XRS spectra obtained from a solar flare (26 October 2013, from 9:32 through 9:36 UTC)
(MESSENGER X-Ray Spectrometer Calibrated Data Record archived at NASA’s Planetary
Data System) with a flare temperature of 14.9 MK (Weider et al. 2015). X-ray spectra of each
of the three GPCs are shown in black for the unfiltered, in red for the Mg-filtered, and in blue
for the Al-filtered detector; backgrounds have not been subtracted. The solar monitor spectrum
shows a drop off at energies less than 2 keV due to a decrease in efficiency caused by the
detector’s Be-window. The SAX spectrometer resolution at the time of measurement was in the
order of 635 eV at 6.49 keV (Starr et al. 2016). The response of the SAX Si-PIN detector shows
the 6.4 keV Fe emission line from highly ionized Fe atoms in the solar corona. From this
spectrum best-fit solar coronal emission can be calculated using CHIANTI5.2 (Landi et al.
2006). During flares, Mercury surface fluorescence from elements up to Fe is observed.
Figure b) presents a map of the Mg/Si elemental weight ratio derived from
MESSENGER X-Ray spectrometer measurements (MESSENGER X-Ray Spectrometer
Reduced Data Record archived at NASA’s Planetary Data System). Construction of the map is
based on solar flare and quiet sun X-ray spectra.

Course Description
Essential techniques for remote compositional analysis of planets; understanding spectroscopy,
mineralogy, and geochemistry of planetary surfaces. Comparative studies of fundamental
planetary science phenomena. Planetary surface science discoveries. Sustainability of planetary

Contact information:
Dr. Peter Englert: POST 508B, 808-384-3500,
Office Hour: T/R 11 am to noon, or by appointment

Course materials
At the beginning of the semester and at the start of each learning section, instructional materials
will be posted on Laulima in the GG 404 resources folder.

GG101, or GG105, or GG107, or ASTR150, and CHEM161, MATH241, MATH242, PHYS 272,
or consent.

Class contact hours

Tuesday/Thursday 1:30 to 4:20 pm, POST 544

Pre-class assignments and course material is posted on Laulima.
Please check Laulima for pre-class assignments before each class period in the GG 404
resources folder!

Learning Objectives/Course Objectives

University-Level Learning Objectives
The design and structure of the course delivers learning outcomes aligned with the University of
Hawaii Institutional Learning Objectives for Undergraduate Students. The course:
 Gives in depth experience in the conduct of scientific inquiry and research,
 Engages students in continuous practice with critical and creative thinking: •Is structured
around procedures of conducting research in Earth and Planetary science:
 Engages students through intensive interaction with instructors and peers by means of
classroom activities and projects,
 Directly cultivates the habits of scholarly inquiry and intellectual curiosity, including
inquiry across disciplines.
 Through examination of the environmental consequences of processes on other planetary
bodies, the course raises awareness of consequences to changes (natural and man-made)
of the natural environment.

Department-Level Learning Objectives

Department of Geology & Geophysics Bachelor Degree learning outcomes are also considered.
Through completing the course:
 Students can explain the relevance of geology and geophysics to human needs.
 Students can apply technical knowledge of relevant computer applications,
laboratory methods, field methods, and the supporting disciplines to solve real
world problems.
 Students use the scientific method to define, critically analyze, and solve a problem
in earth science.
 Students can reconstruct, clearly and ethically, geological knowledge in both oral
presentations and written reports.
 Students can evaluate, interpret, and summarize the basic principles of geology and
geophysics, and their context in relationship to other core sciences, to explain
complex phenomena in geology and geophysics.

Course-Level Student Learning Objectives

This will be achieved through course activities aimed at:
 acquiring knowledge of the principles, instrumentation, and application of planetary
remote sensing..

 developing an ability to make sound assessments of applications of
measurement/experiment remote sensing research modalities past and present.
 learning how to address increasingly complex planetary sciences problems that can be
addressed using geochemical remote sensing.
 improving critical reasoning skills and expanded ability to formulate scientific arguments
in the area of geochemical remote sensing..
 improving research and writing skills.

Course Content and topics

Week 1:
Setting the stage:
 History of human and robotic space exploration
 Space exploration and sensor technology developments
 Space Radiation: electromagnetic and particle radiation
 Overview over geological exploration of planetary bodies (planets, moons)
General: In short lectures and student discussions information obtained in prerequisite courses
and independent acquisition of knowledge is recalled.
Laboratory: Laboratory activities include break out problem solving sessions accompanying
lecture topics. Introduction in to database searches for images, movies, and animations on space
exploration, space environment, and surface geology of planets and moons is a focused lab

Week 2:
Terrestrial planets and moons
 Overview of terrestrial planets and moons
o Photo-geological field observations and comparisons (morphology).
o Atmospheres and their composition.
o General physical surface and rock properties.
o The search for water.
General: Short lectures and student discussions provide information on general principles of
photo-geological exploration, planetary atmospheres, physical surface properties, and surface
Laboratory: Group projects, using historical and current lunar and planetary surface photographs
focus on qualitative comparisons of terrestrial planets and moons, their surface features, and
surface properties.

Weeks 3-5:
Introduction to remote composition analysis tools
 Theory of remote compositional analysis techniques and laboratory measurements.
o Theory and laboratory measurements on visible and near-infrared wavelengths.
o Theory and laboratory measurements pertaining to Raman Spectroscopy.
o Nuclear analytical remote sensing and laboratory techniques.
o Radar remote sensing.
 Identification and assignment of semester-long individual research projects. Students will
be assigned one individual project leading to a term paper to be submitted at the end of
the semester for grading.
 Identification and assignment of semester-long group research projects: Students will be
assigned one group project per self-selected group, leading to a tangible product, a report,
and an oral presentation at the end of the semester for grading.

General: Short lectures and student discussions will provide information on the principal
experimental modalities of geochemical planetary remote sensing. Instrument design aspects
under space environmental and space exploration conditions will be explored through group
projects. Historical development of space probes for orbital and rover applications will be
critically evaluated.
Laboratory: Basic physics and laboratory aspects of tools and techniques for remote
compositional analysis are demonstrated with laboratory instruments available for X-ray, gamma-
ray, and infrared spectrometry.

Weeks 6-7:
Terrestrial field and airborne remote composition analysis tools
 Visible and near infrared
 Thermal infrared
 Raman Spectroscopy
 Nuclear analytical
General: Short lectures and student discussions provide details on instruments for terrestrial
geochemical remote sensing.
Laboratory: Group projects explore historical and current designs of field instruments for
geochemical remote sensing and the application of remote sensing tools in terrestrial
environments. Experience with handheld infrared, XRF, and radiation detection instruments on
campus complement the group projects.

Weeks 8-9:
Analysis methods for remote radiation and particle spectroscopy
 General methods of spectral analysis: Qualitative decoding of information
 General methods of spectral analysis: Quantitative decoding of information
 Geochemical interpretations of multiple remote data sets
General: A lecture will introduce a mathematical tool for spectral analysis in the visible, infrared,
Raman, and nuclear domains.
Laboratory: The analysis topic is heavily laboratory focused. Students learn to analyze spectra
with a mathematical tool provide (or of their choice). Spectra are interpreted in qualitative and
quantitative ways, using the tools provided in class. Analysis of ‘knowns’ and ‘unknowns’ will
give students confidence in applying the tools provided or more specialized tools that are
available for the measurement modalities.

Weeks 10-11
Applications to planetary surfaces
 Selected topics: The Moon,
 Selected topics: Mars, Mercury, asteroids
 Selected topics: Other planetary bodies of interest (Ceres, Europa, Titan)
General: An overview lecture on comprehensive remote studies of planets and moons engages
students in selecting objects for detailed investigation. In group and class discussions the
exploration history of and current missions to the selected objects will be studied.
Laboratory: In groups, each concentrating on a selected object, students will discover the
systematic progress made in understanding solar system bodies through comprehensive remote
geochemical analysis. Students will discover knowledge gaps waiting to be addressed in the

Week 12-13
The big questions

 Water in the solar system
 Life in the solar system
General: An overview lecture will summarize the strength of analytical evidence for water on
moons and planets, the presence of liquid water on Earth and the relation to the formation of life.
Laboratory: Using acquired knowledge on analytical tools, analytical methods, and on
comprehensive research of planetary bodies (weeks 10-11), group discussions will uncover past,
present, and potential future water resources on solar system bodies. The origin and distribution
of water on solar system bodies will be explored. Theories of the formation of life as we know it
and its possible development on solar system bodies will be discussed.

Week 15:
Reports on semester-long projects.
 Submission of individual research project reports
 Submission of group project reports
 Presentation of group project results.

Course delivery
The main elements of course delivery are mini-lectures, guided group discussions, and project-
based learning activities. A seminar style course expects an active role in the learning process
from students and instructor alike, assisting each other through participation in in-class activities.
Students are engaged in studying foundational publications in the field.
The laboratory component of the course is characterized by the integration of practice
throughout the class meeting periods. In the initial weeks the laboratory component is comprised
of break-out group work and practice on real problems underpinning lecture and group
discussions. Later in the semester, break-out group work will increase in time to about half of the
meeting period time (on a weekly basis). In addition to problem solving, there will be
experimental demonstrations and laboratory experiments.
The majority of learning objectives is achieved through group-based problem solving in
class. In parallel, one individual and one group research project is completed by each student.
Laboratory time is research time for these projects. Students may have the opportunity to analyze
data of the most recent Earth and Planetary science research as part of their in depth studies.

Attendance in class is essential. There will be up to 10 quizzes throughout the semester at random
at the beginning or end of class. Each missed quizz will lead to a 1% deduction from your grade
point achievement.

A letter grade will be assigned on the basis of the following components: class participation (5%),
selected project based learning activity outcomes (15%), an individual research project paper
(40%), and a group research project, report and presentation (40%). Details of grading
components will be discussed and finalized in the first class meeting.
Participation 5%
Learning activity outcomes 15%
Individual research project paper 40%
Group research project 40%
Letter grade breakdown: A- = 90 – 92%, A = 93 – 96%, A+ = 97 – 100%
B- = 80 – 82%, B = 83 – 86%, B+ = 87 – 89%
C- = 70 – 72%, C = 73 – 76%, C+ = 77 – 79%
D- = 60 – 62%, D = 63 – 66%, D+ = 67 – 69%

F = < 60%

Textbook and publications

The recommended course textbook is currently in its final stages of preparation.
Remote Compositional Analysis: Techniques for Understanding Spectroscopy, Mineralogy, and
Geochemistry of Planetary Surfaces, Editors: Janice L. Bishop, Jeffrey E. Moersh, and James F.
Bell, III. Publisher: Cambridge University Press (in preparation).
The textbook functions as a resource for class activities
and research projects. Its anticipated role is that of a
supplementary reference rather than a core resource of course
topics. Relevant textbook chapters (preprints) will be made
available in the GG 404 resources folder.
In addition, foundational publications in Earth and
Planetary science will be made available to critically evaluate
research design, data acquisition, and data analysis and research
outcomes of current and past planetary exploration programs.

Recommended additional reading

Remote Sensing Tools for Exploration: Observing and
Interpreting the Electromagnetic Spectrum, Pamela Elizabeth
Clark and Michael Lee Rilee, Springer, 2010. A reference copy
will be held at the UH library.

Remote Geochemical Analysis: Elemental and Mineralogical

Composition, Carle M. Pieters and Peter A.J. Englert, Cambridge
University Press 1993. A PDF copy will be available in the course
resources folder of Laulima. Hardcopies are available at the library
in POST 544.

Extra Credit
Opportunities for extra credit will be announced during the

Other Resources
Disability Access:
The Geology and Geophysics Department will make every effort to assist those with disability
and related access needs. For confidential services, please contact the Office for Students with
Disabilities (known as “Kokua”) located in the Queen Lili'uokalani Center for Student Services
(Room 013): 956-7511,,

Learning Assistance Center (LAC) is here to help students:

 Use appropriate study skills to achieve academic goals.
 Learn how to adjust learning approaches to fit their individual learning needs.
 Learn how to study effectively with others.
 Use effective learning practices.
 Use self-reliant learning behaviors.

 Have a functional understanding of course content.

Gender-Based Discrimination or Violence

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promotes personal integrity, civility, and mutual respect and is free of all forms of sex
discrimination and gender-based violence, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender-
based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. If you or someone you know
is experiencing any of these, the University has staff and resources to support and assist you. Staff
can also direct you to community resources. Here are some options:
 If you wish to speak with someone CONFIDENTIALLY, contact the confidential
resources available here:
 If you wish to REPORT an incident of sex discrimination or gender-based violence,
contact: Dee Uwono, Title IX Coordinator, Hawaiʻi Hall 124,, (808)
 As members of the University faculty, your instructors are required to immediately
report any incident of potential sex discrimination or gender- based violence to the
campus Title IX Coordinator. Although the Title IX Coordinator and your instructors
cannot guarantee confidentiality, you will still have options about how your case will be
handled. Our goal is to make sure you are aware of the range of options available to you
and have access to the resources and support you need.