Solar System Exploration
 Instructor:
Cheng Li
 Grader:
Ramya Bhaskarapanthula
 Ombuds Person:
Kenneth Lam
 Email:
 Office Hours:
Monday 2  4 pm
 Office Location:
1535 Space Research Building
Note
Students requiring accommodations or special assistance with course requirements should contact us as soon as possible (by the mid of January) to discuss appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.
 Solar System Exploration
 Course Schedule
 Glossary
 Projects
 Homework 1
 Instruction
 Solar Property Table
 Planet Fact Sheet
 1. (5’) Revisit Laplace’s view of planetary formation
 2. Angular Momentum of the Solar System  Part I
 (a) (1’) Calculate the angular velocity of the Sun in rad/s.
 (b) (1’) Fill in the missing steps in deriving the above equation
 (c) (2’) Finish the steps in the integration
 (d) (1’) Calculate the angular momentum of the Sun
 (e) (bonus 1’) Explain why the density of the Sun is \(\rho_\odot = 1.35 \times 10^3\) kg/m^3
 3. Minimum Mass Solar Nebula
 4. Nbody simulation with Python
 (a) (1’) Clone the Github repository and download the Nbody simulation code
 (b) (1’) Run the Nbody simulation code
 (c) (1’) Read the code and understand how it works
 (d) (1’) Change the initial conditions of the simulation to simulate the SunEarth system
 (e) (1’) Change the initial conditions of the simulation to be solar system like
 Homework 3
 Homework 4
 Course Objectives
 Textbooks
 Evaluation
 Other Resources
 Course Schedule
 Glossary
 Projects
 Homework 1
 Instruction
 Solar Property Table
 Planet Fact Sheet
 1. (5’) Revisit Laplace’s view of planetary formation
 2. Angular Momentum of the Solar System  Part I
 (a) (1’) Calculate the angular velocity of the Sun in rad/s.
 (b) (1’) Fill in the missing steps in deriving the above equation
 (c) (2’) Finish the steps in the integration
 (d) (1’) Calculate the angular momentum of the Sun
 (e) (bonus 1’) Explain why the density of the Sun is \(\rho_\odot = 1.35 \times 10^3\) kg/m^3
 3. Minimum Mass Solar Nebula
 4. Nbody simulation with Python
 (a) (1’) Clone the Github repository and download the Nbody simulation code
 (b) (1’) Run the Nbody simulation code
 (c) (1’) Read the code and understand how it works
 (d) (1’) Change the initial conditions of the simulation to simulate the SunEarth system
 (e) (1’) Change the initial conditions of the simulation to be solar system like
 Homework 3
 Homework 4
Course Objectives
Know major space missions to planets in the Solar System.
Understand the history of the Solar System and the major planets.
Be able to apply remote sensing and in situ measurement techniques to understand planetary environments.
Have an extensive knowledge of one space instrument.
Textbooks
You will be given reading assignments from the following textbooks. You are not required to purchase them. Some of them are freely available online, others are available through the UM library.
Nontechnical Readings
Linda Billings (2021). “50 Years of Solar System Exploration: Historical Perspectives” [Ebook link]
Fred Taylor (2016). “Exploring The Planets: A Memoir” [Ebook link]
Technical Reading:
Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 20232032
[Download]
Jack J. Lissauer and Imke de Pater (2015). “Fundamental Planetary Science: Physics, Chemistry and Habitability” [link]
Evaluation
You will be evaluated based on your knowledge and skills learned in this course. The following table shows the weight of each component. In particular, the scope of the miniproject consists of two parts:
A thorough discussion of your project, including the scientific motivation, the technology, and the impact/results. This part contributes 15% of your total grade.
Your technical report should involve proper formatted examples, figures, tables, computer programs, and other visualizations to demonstrate your understanding of the project. This part contributes another 15% of your total grade.
The skills you learned during the course and doing the homework assignments will help you to complete the miniproject. You are encouraged to discuss with the instructor as early as possible to choose a project that you are interested in.
Component 
Weight 
Letter Grade 


Knowledge 
Attendance 
10% 

Homework 
40% 

Midterm Exam 
20% 

Miniproject 
15% 

Skill 
Programming 
5% 

Presentation 
5% 

Techinical Writing 
5% 
Other Resources
Basics
These resources provide general guidelines to prepare you for the technical aspects of the course. They are modern tools that ease your effort of writing computer programs and technical documents. If you are already familiar with them, you can skip this section. Otherwise, instructions will be given in class when you need to review the material. You will not be evaluated on learning these materials. But your homework and miniproject may require you to use them.
Advanced
These resources are for students who wish to learn a graduate level of planetary science and advanced numerical simulation. These materials are not required for the course.