Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Advanced Planetary Exploration
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Mutually Exclusive
PHM4810, PHM4910
Successful completion of Year 3 of a relevant BSc degree
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture This will vary between workshops, but typical figures are 6 hours.
Seminars / Tutorials 6 hours
Practical 10 x 2-hour practical sessions
Other Guided reading


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 4 reports x 4 pages (including diagrams), 17.5% per report  70%
Semester Assessment Research review of 10 pages (including diagrams)  30%
Supplementary Assessment As determined by the Departmental Examination Board.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Undertake self study and original research of relevant science areas (e.g. determination of wind and composition profiles in the Venusian atmosphere, transforming lunar composition data from space-based spectrometers into mapping frames of reference, comparing the results of surface profiles from stereo and shadow methods;
2. Identify research and applications problems in Solar-System Physics and Planetary Exploration and the appropriate methodologies to address and solve them;
3. Demonstrate a knowledge of current research issues in Solar-System Physics and Planetary Exploration;
4. Identify and operate research software used in Solar-System Physics and Planetary Exploration.

Brief description

The module draws on the breadth of experience in Solar-System Physics and planetary exploration available within the Institute by exposing the students to a selection of workshops. Out of a range of topics, four workshops will be taught in any given year. The workshop contents are intended to reflect the dynamic of the Institutes' evolving research interests. Where possible, external speakers will be brought in to supplement the department's expertise - although this is not required for the successful running of the module.


Workshop topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Investigating the Venusian atmosphere
  • Exploring the surface of Mars
  • Planetary mapping and cartography
  • Robotic vision in planetary science application
  • Mapping the composition of the Moon
  • Using the IDL software package
  • 3D modelling and visualization
  • Each workshop will have a different assessment which will be devised by the academic leading the workshop.


This module is at CQFW Level 7