|Is a Mars Sample Return Mission too Risky?: A Public Hearing Case Study|
These are the teaching notes for a case study in which students explore the scientific and public policy issues surrounding the advisability of a return mission to Mars for further sampling and, more generally, the question of whether or not there is life on that planet. The case was designed to illustrate the importance of interdisciplinary efforts in scientific research, define the criteria needed to establish whether something is living, raise general awareness of the planned Mars Sample Return Mission, and examine how the scientific method is used to develop a scientific hypothesis. It also serves to critically evaluate interpretations of experimental data and show how different people draw different conclusions from the same data. Other objectives of the activity are to provide an understanding of how public hearings are used to shape science policy in the United States, examine cost/benefit analysis and the element of risk in formulating public policy, and promote critical thinking for development of possible alternatives to the Mars Sample Return Mission.
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DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-008-595
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Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Troy D. Wood
Department of Chemistry
State University of New York at Buffalo
Publisher: State University of New York at Buffalo
National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science