Using the Web

1.
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Go to the U.S. Geological Survey’s “Latest Earthquakes in the World” website (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww) and look at the earthquakes for the past week. Were there any really large ones? Compare the map of recent earthquakes with Figure 8.20 in the text. Are any of them in surprising locations? Click on “Significant EQ Archive.” Where was the most recent one? Back at the starting address, click on “Info by Region” and select your state. Does it have a lot of seismic activity?
2a.
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Use the Google Earth platform to explore the Moon, Mercury, and Mars

View all sides of the Moon. Does one hemisphere look more heavily cratered than others, and if so, why?
2b.
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View the planet Mercury. In what ways is Mercury similar to and in what ways different from the Moon? (You might need to get the Mercury KMZ file: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/the_mission/google.html.)
2c.
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View all sides of the planet Mars. What differences can you see between the northern and southern hemispheres?
3.
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In his project Full Moon, artist Michael Light digitized many of the Apollo mission photographs. Some prints are hanging in museums; many can be seen on his website (http://michaellight.net/workFullMoon.html). Click on “Explore Full Moon” to bring up the images. What does the surface of the Moon look like? Why does the footprint in image 48 look unchanged after 40 years? Why is there no color except for in the objects brought from Earth?
4.
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The International Astronomical Union adopted a plan to have all features on Venus (with a few exceptions for large features discovered earlier) named after historical or mythological women. Categories of features are paired with specific subcategories of women; for example, large craters (greater than about 15 km) are named after famous women, smaller craters have female first names, mountains are named after goddesses, and so on. Go to the Venus Crater Database (http://lpi.usra.edu/resources/vc/vchome.html), click on “Craters by Image Map,” click on a region to zoom in on, and then select a few craters. For each crater, consider these questions: What is the “morphologic” class of the crater? Is there another crater very close by? What is the crater’s diameter? How high is the elevation? Who was the large crater named after (if you didn’t get a large one, go back to the starting address and click on “Craters by Descending Diameter”).
5.
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Go to the website for Moon Zoo (http://www.moonzoo.org/), a project that lets everyone participate in the analysis of images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Read through the FAQ; then click on “Tutorials” and select “How to Take Part.” (You will need to create an account if you haven’t already done so for PlanetHunters in Chapter 7; all of these Zooniverse projects use the same log-in.) You will be counting craters on the Moon, noting where there are boulders, classifying some of these features, and looking for hardware left over from exploration missions.
6a.
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Space missions:

Go to NASA’s GRAIL mission website (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/grail/home.cfm). The two spacecraft entered lunar orbit in 2012 and are studying the gravitational field and thermal history of the Moon. Are there any mission results? What has been learned?
6b.
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Go to the website for NASA’s Messenger mission to Mercury (http://messenger.jhuapl.edu). Click on “Gallery” and then “Science Images,” and look at a few of the pictures. Why are some taken with the narrow-angle camera and some with the wide-angle camera? Are the color images using real or false colors? Click on “News Center.” Is the mission still collecting data? Describe a recent result. How does this result correspond to one of the six goals of the mission (listed under “Why Mercury?”)?
6c.
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Go to the website for the Mars Science Laboratory (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl), launched in 2011. Is it taking data? What are the latest science results?
6d.
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The Chandrayaan-2 Moon lander and rover, a joint India-Russia mission, is scheduled to launch in 2013. Chang’e 3, another Moon lander and rover, is scheduled for launch from China in 2013. Do a news search to find the status of these missions. Are there any scientific results yet? What are these countries’ plans for future lunar exploration?
7.
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Do a news search to see the latest news story about water on the Moon or water on Mars. What is the story based on—new space data? Improved analysis of old data? If the information comes from a current space mission, go to the mission website and read the original press release. How does the news story compare with the press release? Is it just a summation? Did the writer get comments from scientists who were not directly involved in the study? How certain are the results about water?
8.
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The Google Lunar X Prize (http://googlelunarxprize.org) goes to the first privately funded team to send a robot to the Moon. The winning robot must travel some distance on the Moon’s surface, and send back pictures, by December 2015. On the website, click on “The Teams” and read about a few of the teams. For each team, consider these questions: What kind of people and companies are on the team? What is their plan to go to the Moon? Aside from this prize, why do they want to go to the Moon; what commercial opportunities on the Moon do they anticipate?

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