Science of Space Flight & Exploration (Blended)
Instructions for completing your Space Mission Reviews
Please read all of the information below carefully before beginning your assignment.
PURPOSE OF THIS ASSIGNMENT: To expose you to future space missions and to improve your
scientific literacy and critical thinking by providing an opportunity to formulate an informed opinion
about the value of space exploration.
INTRODUCTION: You are a member of the advisory committee of an international funding
organization for space missions. The funding objective of your organization is:
Assisting the world’s government-funded space agencies in the exploration of space for the
tangible benefit of humanity by contributing to our knowledge in at least one of the following
• The potential for habitability on another planet or moon
• The potential for the discovery of natural resources on another planet, moon, comet or
• Climate change on another planet or moon
Each year, your organization chooses 1 space mission to contribute funding for. Your job is to identify
two future space missions that are still in the planning stage and to submit a summary of each mission as
well as an argument for why each mission is consistent with your organization’s funding objectives.
NOTE: One of your reviews will be due in the middle of the term and the other review will be due
near the end of the term. This will give you the opportunity to use the feedback from your 1st review
to improve on your 2nd review. The due dates for each review can be found at the Course Schedule
link in the General Information section of our Moodle site as well as at
INSTRUCTIONS: For each review, follow the steps below.
1. Download the Mission Review Template (a link to this template can also be found in the Space
Mission Review section of our Moodle site).
2. Choose a future space mission: At present, there are 4 government-funded space agencies with
interplanetary launch capabilities and for which mission information is publically available. These
|Space Agency||Agency mission website|
|European Space Agency||ESA|
|Indian Space Research Organization||ISRO|
|Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency||JAXA|
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||NASA|
Choose a future space mission from one of the agency websites in the list above. The target of the
mission must be a planet (other than Earth) or a moon, asteroid or comet. The mission can be in any
stage of the planning/development process as long as it is not currently in operation (ie, post-launch).
3. Complete the Mission Review Template: Complete the mission review template by filling in the
Mission Review: Instructions • NATS1530M • W2018
• Mission Information: provide the space agency, mission name, target(s) and proposed launch
date. (Year only is sufficient if the date and month have not been specified by the space agency).
• Mission Summary (350-400 words): Provide a summary of the mission and its science
objective(s). Include any other information that you deem relevant for the summary (eg, the
length of the mission, the cost of the mission, any targets that the craft will visit on the way to its
final destination, features that make the mission unique, etc.) Your summary must be in your
own words, with no quoting from other sources, and the language must be comprehensible to
someone with no scientific background. Acronyms must be defined and technical lingo must be
explained in layperson’s terms, which means that you may need to look up unfamiliar words
using an encyclopaedic source such as Wikipedia.
VERY IMPORTANT: All information in your summary must include an in-text citation so that
the reader can fact-check your statements. Each statement (or block of related statements) should
be followed by a number in superscript (eg, “Here is a fact.”1). The superscript must correspond
to one of the references in the Sources section (see below).
• Mission Justification (300-350 words): Provide an argument in support of funding for your
chosen mission by explaining how the science objectives meet your funding organization’s
vision to contribute to the “…exploration of space for the tangible benefit of humanity…” in
at least one of the 3 areas listed in the Introduction section above. Your arguments do not need to
be infallible, but they do need to be reasonable and thoughtful.
NOTE: If you include any additional facts or figures in this section, be sure to include in-text
citations after each fact.
TIP: Making a strong argument is much easier when you are arguing about something that you
are passionate about. When choosing your mission, try to choose something that you feel a
strong reaction to when you read about it.
• Sources: Provide the primary website that you obtained your mission information from. The
website should be referenced using the MLA citation format. Also, if you include any facts or
figures from other sources, be sure to reference these sources in this section as well.
TIP: A handy online generator for MLA references can be found at http://www.easybib.com/.
Citations to Wikipedia pages can be generated by clicking on the “Cite this page” link on the
relevant page, then scrolling down to the citation listed under “MLA style”.
4. Edit your work: When you’ve completed your mission review, make sure to have it spell-checked
and edited so that you don’t lose marks for poor writing. Here are some ways to get your work
• Ask a friend or family member with excellent English writing skills, preferably someone with no
science background so they can confirm that your writing is understandable for a layperson.
• Use an editing tool, either built into your word-processor or online (eg, Grammarly at
• Take (or send) your work to York’s Writing Center (http://writing-centre.writ.laps.yorku.ca/).
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Mission Review: Instructions • NATS1530M • W2018
• Meet with a writing instructor at York’s Learning Commons Hub, located on the 2nd floor of the
Scott Library. Visit the Hub in person to find out their hours.
• If you are an ESL student, make an appointment at York’s ESL Open Learning Centre
5. Submit your work: Go to the Space Mission Review section of our Moodle site and click on the
appropriate ‘Mission Review <#>: Upload’ link, then click on the ‘Submit to TurnItIn’ icon ( )
to upload your completed file.
NOTE: When uploading your file, please enter the name of your chosen mission as the Submission
6. Check that your file was submitted successfully: After uploading your file, click on the link in the
‘Similarity’ column (even if it says ‘Pending’). This should open your report in the TurnItIn
document viewer. Confirm that your file appears as it should.
NOTE: Within 24 hours of submitting your file, your work will be assigned a ‘Similarity’ score.
This is the percentage of your content that matches existing sources, such as web sites or other
students’ papers. A similarity score of 0%-30% is normal for this type of assignment. If your
similarity score is greater than 30%, you should click on the link to your file in the ‘Similarity’
column to open your file in the TurnItIn document viewer. Text that has been matched with existing
sources will be highlighted. If the highlighted sections are primarily lists of names or places, then no
revisions are necessary. However, if the highlighted sections contain complete sentences from an
existing source, you should rewrite the sentence in your own words to avoid losing marks. Revised
files can be resubmitted up to the deadline.
ALSO NOTE: If you submit your file within 24 hours of the due date, the similarity report might
not be completed by the submission deadline. This does not mean that your file is late, but it does
mean that you will not be able to revise your file if the similarity score is high. So, try to submit your
file at least 48 hours in advance of the deadline.
Your file must be submitted using the Mission Review Template. If you submit a different
document, a 1-mark penalty will be applied.
You must choose a target beyond Earth, and the target must be different for each mission review.
If the target is not beyond Earth or if you use the same target twice, your mission review will
receive a failing mark.
You must provide in-text citations for each statement (or block of related statements) containing
facts or figures from published sources. If in-text citations are not provided, marks will be
deducted based on the extent to which you included unreferenced information.
You must provide, in the Sources section, the links to all websites from which you obtained
information for your review. If this requirement isn’t met, a 1-mark penalty will be applied.
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Mission Review: Instructions • NATS1530M • W2018
Your reviews must be written using full sentences (ie, point-form answers are not acceptable)
and each section must be within the specified word count.
Your reviews must be in YOUR OWN WORDS, with no quoting from other sources.
Your writing must be comprehensible to readers with no science background. Acronyms must be
defined and technical lingo must be explained in layperson’s terms.
The Mission Summary and Mission Justification sections each have a specific purpose, so be
careful not to repeat information in both sections. When you read over your work, make sure that
every statement brings in a new piece of information or a new thought/idea.
Your writing is expected to be free of spelling and grammatical errors. Refer to step 4 above for
suggestions for getting your work edited. If your work contains spelling and/or grammatical
errors, a 1-mark penalty will be applied.
When uploading your file, enter the name of your chosen mission as the Submission Title.
Late submissions will incur a 10% penalty per day. Technical difficulties are not an acceptable
excuse for missing deadlines. Be sure to attempt your submission at least one weekday before the
deadline so you have time to resolve any technical problems that may arise. If you are not able to
upload your file, email your file to email@example.com before the deadline so that it can be timestamped. Please do not email your file unless you are sure that your submission has failed.
PLAGIARSM: Plagiarism is a major academic offence and carries serious penalties, ranging from a
failing grade on the work in question to a failing grade in the course. Students who have not conducted
University-level writing assignments are encouraged to refer to York ’s Academic Integrity Tutorial at
www.yorku.ca/tutorial/academic_integrity/?g11n.enc=UTF-8. This is a very useful tutorial for learning
the important distinction between presenting someone else’s work and plagiarizing their work.
EVALUATION: The evaluation of your work will be available approximately 3-4 weeks after each due
date. Your total mark for each review is computed from a detailed rubric. A preview of the rubric can be
found here. After each of your reviews has been marked, the completed rubric can be viewed as follows:
1. From the ‘Mission Review <#>: Upload’ link, click on the link to your submitted file. This will
open your file in the TurnItIn document viewer.
2. On the right side of the viewer, you’ll see a column of buttons. Click on the Rubric/Form button
( ).This will open up the evaluation rubric, where you can see a detailed breakdown of your
mark as well as a justification for the marks awarded in each category.
PLEASE NOTE: While we appreciate that students are anxious to receive their marks, please be aware
that high-quality and thorough marking of written assignments is a time-consuming process. Students
are therefore asked to refrain from requesting their marks. A course announcement will be posted when
the marking has been completed for each set of reviews.
ALSO NOTE: If you feel that a review(s) has been marked incorrectly, you will have an opportunity at
the end of the course to request a reassessment in cases where the marking error is preventing you from
achieving the next highest letter grade. Details about this process will be provided in the Course
Announcements forum at the end of the term.
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