Terraforming Mars

Description:  Aside from ethical concerns, turning the planet Mars into a habitable planet would be a scientific challenge. The planet is too cold, lacks a useable atmosphere, and the lack of a magnetic field leaves it susceptible to space weather. Increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere could solves two of these problems through the greenhouse effect. This thought-experiment could provide students an opportunity to better understand interactions between Earth systems.

Web Resource:  Terraforming Mars - Wikipedia


The Dark Snow Project

Description:  The Dark Snow project is a crowd-funded citizen science project to quantify changes in the reflectivity of the ice in Greenland. They are attempting to combine climate change with social media to impact research in the area of albedo-temperature feedback. They have funded two campaigns to study the ice using drones and satellite imagery. The work of this group could allow students to study feedback between Earth systems, discuss climate change, or as a jumpstart for a project of their own.

Web Resources:  Dark Snow Project - Wikipedia, The Dark Snow Project


The Great Oxygenation Event

Description:  The Great Oxygenation Event occurred when cyanobacteria living in the oceans started producing oxygen through photosynthesis. As oxygen built up in the atmosphere anaerobic bacteria were killed leading to the Earth's first mass extinction. The change in diversity and the arrival of appreciable atmospheric oxygen (as evidenced by the red bands in the rocks) can be analyzed to see what happens when a resource that was scarce becomes very abundant.

Web Resource: Great Oxygenation Event - Wikipedia