Mars for Earthlings > Lesson Modules > Homework 1- Mars Ocean Press Release

Mars Ocean Press Release

Homework 1_Water World

Julia Kahmann-Robinson PhD and Marjorie Chan PhD, University of Utah Department of Geology & Geophysics

Purpose

Critically assess the validity of media-released discoveries of Mars; in this case a Mars ocean.

Directions/Questions

Navigate to the following press release by CU-Boulder in June 2010:

http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2010/06/13/new-cu-boulder-study-indicates-ancient-ocean-may-have-covered-one-third

  1. What evidence does the article use to support an ancient Mars ocean?
  2. In what geologic age of Mars would oceans most likely have existed? [Noachian, Hesperian or Amazonian] *You may need to do some outside research to answer this question. [Noachian, thought to be the wettest period on Mars]
  3. What evidence is needed to make the claim that an ocean existed on Mars that you wish was presented by this research?
  4. How would you improve the press release overall?
  5. Contrast the Science Daily press-release: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100613181245.htm of the same topic with CU-Boulder's press release. Do they differ? Depending on the your answer, is this good or bad?

Evaluate

After students turn in this assignment, have students discuss these answers in class, time permitting. It is important for students to discern fact (clear observations) from fiction (interpretations from incomplete evidence or wishful thinking) and recognize a properly-executed scientific inquiry.