Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

News

AOSS students create solar system guide

Posted: December 17, 2013

Alumni Daniel Gershman and Kristen Mihalka worked with non-profit organization 826michigan when they were in graduate school to create a practical guide to the solar system, titled “The Moons Were Jealous.”

The nine chapters in the book each focus on a different celestial body. The chapters include a description of the body, questions and answers and a page about an AOSS researcher who studies that topic.

For example, the Mars chapter has a page on Associate Professor Mike Liemohn. A student wrote: “Would you like to live on Mars?”

“No. The atmosphere is very thin and very cold, so you would have to be inside or totally covered in a space suit,” Liemohn answered. “Plus, going outside means being exposed to harmful cosmic rays, which are not shielded away from the surface by a magnetic bubble and thick atmosphere like they are on Earth.”

The book also includes activities for teachers to try in class. These activities were tested in workshops for local students held at the 826michigan headquarters and Green Baxter Court Community Center. The workshops were the starting points for each chapter.

“My favorite part about putting the book together was working with the students themselves,” Mihalka says. “It was especially interesting to see what kind of fun creative stories they would come up with…I distinctly remember a student asking Earth if the moon was his girlfriend.”

Gershman agrees the best part of working on the book was helping with workshops.

“At each location we got to work with a lot of the same students, so we got to share several different activities/planets with them.”

Mihalka says she thinks the workshops introduced the students to science in a unique way.

“They got to use creativity and writing to express science, something that scientists do often, but something that we don't do as often as we'd like in schools. I hope the book itself will inspire more creativity in students.”

You may purchase the book online by visiting the 826michigan store.

The book is also available for sale at the 826michigan Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair store at 115 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor.