[ image of Mars ]       

The Geography of Mars

Spring 2016

GEOG 441/541, seminar #6481/6489, lab #6490/6491

Christine M. Rodrigue, Ph.D.

Department of Geography
California State University
Long Beach, CA 90840-1101
1 (562) 985-4895

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             [ orthographic image of Mars on a black background ] [ Olympus Mons seen at oblique angle that gives a 3-d sense ] [ Olympus Mons seen at oblique angle that gives a 3-d sense ]

Welcome to GEOG 441/541

CSULB's Geography of Mars course is the first geography of Mars class ever offered as a regular course in any university on Earth!

Missions to Mars have been flown since the 1960s, and Mars has had an extraordinary number of successful missions in the two decades. These have yielded huge troves of data, which have been processed into stunning imagery that offer more information in some cases than we have for Earth! The latest mission to land on Mars is the spectacular Mars Science Laboratory called the Curiosity Rover, and two more orbiters arrived in September 2014: NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN) and ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan. Yet another mission is launching mid-semester (14 March 2016): ESA's first ExoMars mission, the Trace Gas Orbiter (orbit insertion in 2017) and the proof-of-concept Schiaparelli controlled lander (16-19 October 2016).

These data and images have often upended our understanding of Mars: It's as though our questions are growing far faster than our answers. Mars has a quality about it that invites interpretation in terms of what we know about Earth but then proceeds to undermine facile analogies. Sometimes it makes us question our understanding of our own planet. Mars truly is the "yes, but ..." planet!

Catalogue Description

Prerequisite/Corequisite: GEOG 130 or 140 or GEOL 102 and GEOG 280 or consent of instructor. Introduction to the geography of Mars, providing a physical regionalization of the Martian surface and climate and an understanding of underlying tectonic, geomorphic, and meteorological processes. The course reviews remote sensing fundamentals and data sources for geographical analysis of Mars. Letter grade only (A-F). (3 hours seminar, 2 hours activity).

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This document is maintained by Dr. Rodrigue
First placed online: 01/15/07
Last Updated: 04/27/16