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ERIC Number: EJ1163969
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Aug
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Spectral Feature Analysis of Minerals and Planetary Surfaces in an Introductory Planetary Science Course
Urban, Michael J.
Journal of Geoscience Education, v61 n3 p291-296 Aug 2013
Using an ALTA II reflectance spectrometer, the USGS digital spectral library, graphs of planetary spectra, and a few mineral hand samples, one can teach how light can be used to study planets and moons. The author created the hands-on, inquiry-based activity for an undergraduate planetary science course consisting of freshman to senior level science majors and nonmajors. The activity follows a guided-inquiry approach that unites lab-based investigation of minerals with online datasets, and enables students to import, configure, graph, analyze, and compare data using spreadsheet software. The activity includes two parts: (1) analysis of mineral hand samples and spectra, and (2) exploration of planetary reflectance spectra. The activity culminates with students using techniques analogous to those employed by planetary scientists to establish rationales for determining compositional information about, and categorizing and identifying, several planetary bodies in the solar system based solely on reflectance spectra.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A