Essays are due before midnight on Sunday Oct 11th (end of week 10). They
should be submitted online through the submission box provided in the
Assessments page on Moodle. You can submit in a range of file formats (MS
Word, WordPerfect, PDF, Postscript, HTML, RTF and plain text).
Essay Topics — Choose one of the following
1. History of Radio Telescopes
Describe the development of single dish radio telescopes and advantages of radio
interferometers. Discuss major discoveries that were possible after detection of
radio waves from space and how they changed our understanding of Universe.
2. The Earliest Evidence for Life
Review the earliest evidence for life on ...view middle of the document...
o The Cassini/Huygens mission to the Saturn system.
o The Mars Exploration Rover mission (Spirit and Opportunity rovers).
6. Exploration of Venus
Describe the history of missions to Venus and their achievements. How did we
learn about the thick atmosphere and high surface temperature of Venus and how
did we map its surface? Should we consider Venus as a possible site for life in our
7. Rosetta Mission
Explain why scientists study comets of the Solar system. Discuss the methods
applied in such studies. Describe the Rosetta mission and argue its importance in
understanding the history of our Solar system and development of life on Earth.
8. Space Weather
Our Sun is an active star. Describe different types of solar activity. Explain how
we can measure it and discuss its effects on life and human technology. What
strategies can be implemented to avoid damaging effects of solar activity?
9. Inside stars
Discuss internal composition of stars similar to our own Sun and compare it with
composition of white dwarfs and neutron stars. Explain how helioseismology and
solar neutrinos help to study interior of the Sun.
10. History of Stellar Classification
“OBAFGKM” – what does it mean? How was the spectral classification scheme
for stars developed and what does it tell us about the temperature of stars?
Describe the H-R diagram and its function in understanding evolution of stars.
11. Space mission to Pluto
The “New Horizons” mission is on its way to explore the outer Solar System.
Describe the objectives of the mission and important scientific instruments on the
space probe. Discuss what we have learnt about Pluto after the closest approach
to this dwarf planet. Explain how this mission helps us to understand the
processes of formation and evolution of the planetary system.
12. Kepler and TESS
Compare the strategy and objectives of the NASA Kepler mission and the new
planned TESS mission. Choose one extra solar planet detected by the Kepler
mission and discuss its importance for our understanding of other solar systems.
13. Habitability of Planets
Explain what makes a planet habitable. In the context of currently known extra
solar planetary systems discuss the likelihood of habitable planets in our Galactic