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AS270 410 - Planetary Surface Processes

This course explores processes that influence the evolution of planetary surfaces, including impact cratering, tectonics, volcanism, weathering, and sediment transport. These processes manifest themselves as structural deformation of planetary crusts due to loading by volcanoes, formation of craters by asteroid impacts, modification of surfaces by flowing landslides, rivers and glaciers, and the accumulation and transport of sand in dune fields on various planets. Emphasis is on the relationship to similar Earth processes, and the integrated geologic histories of the terrestrial planets, satellites, and asteroids. The focus will be on developing a physical understanding of these processes to interpret the surface characteristics and evolution of planets, satellites, asteroids, and comets from both qualitative assessments and quantitative measurements obtained from spacecraft data. A key component of the class will be the interpretation of these observations from recent and current planetary missions to the Moon, Mars, and other terrestrial bodies. Recommended Course Background: A sound knowledge of Calculus and Introductory Physics, and some prior knowledge of Earth and/or Planetary Science.
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