The course of “Planetary Materials” for the students majored in Astronomy and Space Science are taught by Prof. Dr. Kun Wang from Washington University (Wash U), and Prof.Mikhail Zolotov from Arizona State University (ASU), on July 4~22.
Three experts have made remarkable work in planetary science. Prof. Wang, guest professor of Shandong University (SDU) and Ph. D. supervisor, research professor of Wash U. She is an internationally famous planetary spectroscopist and devotes herself to data analyses of planetary missions, thermodynamics and reaction kinetics of hydrated sulfates relevant to Mars and Raman imaging of extraterrestrial materials. Additionally, she is involved in several planetary exploration missions, such as NASA MER, ESA ExoMars mission, etc. Dr. Wang, assistant professor of Wash U, works on isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry, He applies non-traditional isotope tools to samples ranging from plants, water, terrestrial and lunar rocks to meteorites from Mars and asteroids. His research interests are to understand the origin of solar system, planetary formations, core-mantle differentiation and crustal evolution as well as analytical development and application of high precision isotopic measurements using Multi Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS). Prof. Zolotov, from School of Earth and Space Exploration in ASU, mainly studies theoretical geochemistry of volatiles (H, O, C, N, S, Cl, and alkalis) on solar system bodies: 1) Gas-water-mineral type chemical interactions on Venus, Mars, Ceres, icy satellites and parent bodies of chondrites (asteroids) 2) Formation and chemical evolution of oceans on icy satellites 3) Chemical weathering of rocks on Venus and Mars 4) Oxidation states of planetary surfaces, asteroids and icy satellites 5) Geochemistry of planetary volcanic gases and hydrothermal systems.
In the course, Prof. Wang started with cosmic origin and expanded to Mars basics, then explained igneous, sedimentary materials and hydrous salts on Mars through missions and meteorites. Details about the classifications of meteorites, isotope chemistry, and materials from the early stage of solar system were explained by Dr. Wang. Prof. Zolotov combined latest results from remote sensing, delivered basic knowledges about the Mercury, Venus, Earth-Moon system, asteroids, dwarf planets and icy moons. Besides, The students observed and tested the rocks and minerals to understand their basic physical characteristics in the lab sessions.
In general, students learned much about the basic materials and geological evolution history of planets through this course, which greatly inspired their interests on studies and scientific researches. “Planetary Materials” is a part of the project “Foreign high-quality Curriculum System introductions”, that will form a unique course system for the educations of planetary science in China combined with “Introductions of Planetary Science” and “Planetary Remote Sensing and Spectroscopy” previously introduced from Wash U. Overall, as the fruit of deepen cooperation in planetary science between Wash U and SDU, this curriculum system is believed that will further improve the cultivation level of our students majored in astronomy and space sciences.