Life in our Solar System discussion

Discussion Topic for Session 4: Post an article that is about Searching for Life in Our Solar System.This can be about a planet, a moon, or any other body orbiting our sun.

General Information about Discussions: The purpose of the discussions is to keep up to date with recent discoveries and also to engage you in rich, scientific discussion. Each session you are asked to post an article from the Internet and to lead a discussion about the content of the article with a group of your classmates. Discussions are an important part of the course and thus are worth 33% of your grade. They are live during each session and can not be made up later.

For each session you should:

  1. Post a scientifically-valid article on the session’s topic with its URL and a 1-3 paragraph summary of the article for your groupmates. Do this well before the Deadline 1 (see top of page). You must post a unique article that no one has posted yet in the group.
  2. For the rest of the session, you should read others’ articles and ask questions as well as respond to questions people ask about your article. discuss the articles in your groups with your groupmates. On your own article you should respond to people’s questions by doing deeper research using other valid scientific articles to provide evidence.

A total of at least seven substantive posts for each session is required for top marks. A substantive post will show that you read the article, add new information to the conversation, and promote the scientific, evidence-based reasoning. Non-substantive posts (e.g. “Wow – great post!”, “I agree”, “oops -forgot the link”) do not count towards the seven required. Posts must also be distributed throughout the session.

Discussions are graded for five sessions (sessions 2-6) so each session’s discussion is worth about 7.5 points out of your total grade. They are marked out of 10 points. About 1 point is lost for each missing or late post (articles posted after the first deadline). Up to 2 points are taken off for discussions that only include posts from right before the deadlines. Up to 3 points are taken off for bogus articles from non-scientific sites. Discussions are not given any credit after the second deadline.

The success of discussions relies on solid scientific information. This means avoiding propoganda or “alternate facts”. Here, again, are some sites that advise how to ensure the validity of information on the Internet:

I typically stay out of the discussion while it is ongoing but I do read everything at the end of the session. If you have questions that are not being answered in the discussions, and you want my help, please post the question in the Ask Jodi Discussion Thread or please email me at:

Specific websites you may want to use for searching for articles include:

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