• Class Number 7939
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Penelope King
    • AsPr Charles Lineweaver
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course provides an introduction to planetary geology with a view to understanding what makes planet Earth so special in a galactic context. We will explore the solar system and humans' place in it. We will examine the essential ingredients for life on planets and how the planets come by them. We will step back in time to examine the earliest solar system, going back to the origin of the elements themselves and the processes that have occurred in carrying matter from where it formed to where it can build new solar systems. The conditions on individual planets appears to be the result of many stochastic processes and it can be concluded that our solar system is the end-product of many accidental and chance events, leading to a philosophical discussion of whether planets similar to Earth will be discovered elsewhere in the universe.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain, in scientific terms, the astronomical context of planet formation in general and the formation of our solar system in particular, recent exoplanet detections, our planetary system, meteoritics and cosmochemistry, chronology of the early Earth, composition of the Earth, the Moon-forming impact.
  2. Present a scientific discussion of planetary science topics in both written and oral form.
  3. Demonstrate laboratory skills through a range of modules requiring, for example, experimental analysis of radioactive decay, petrographic description of rocks from the solar system, and crater counting methodology for Mars and Moon. 
  4. Recognition of key visual aspects of planetary science through observations of Sun, planets, and star forming regions

Research-Led Teaching

This course will introduce you to real world problems and give you the opportunity to figure out strategies for solving them. Some tutorial sessions will allow you to create new knowledge that you can then assess. The research essay will provide you with the opportunity to learn about the cutting-edge research going on in planetary sciences. You will have the opportunity to review another student's essay and to present your research essay in an oral presentation- both skills required in research.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment

Foreign language dictionary with permission of the convenor.

Required Resources



Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments (on assessment items and via Wattle)
  • Verbal comments (in the classroom, lab, and via Wattle)
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups (in person and via Wattle)

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Please note, that where there are multiple assessment tasks of the same type, e.g. tutorial assignments, a date range is used in the Assessment Summary. The first date is the approximate due date of the first task, the return date is the approximate return date for the final task. Further information is provided in the assessment section of the class summary, and details are provided on the course wattle site

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 The Solar System
2 The Solar System (ctd.)
3 Origins Tutorial 1 Assignment
4 Planet Compositions Seek approval for Essay title
5 Planetary Motions, Accretion & Impact Tutorial 2 Assignment
6 Crater Counting & Dating Surfaces Tutorial 3 & 4 Assignment
7 Planetary Interiors & Energy Start peer review of Essay (essays due to peer reviewer)
8 Planetary Atmospheres Peer review of Essay due
9 Searching for Life Essay due
10 Searching for Life (ctd.) Tutorial 5 Assignment
11 Research Presentations Research Presentation (or Week 12)
12 Research Presentations and Review Research Presentation (or Week 11)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Assignments 20 % 05/08/2019 21/10/2019 1,3,4
Research Essay 25 % 30/09/2019 14/10/2019 1, 2
Peer-review of another student’s essay and peer-review of student research presentations 10 % 23/09/2019 31/10/2019 2
Research Presentation 10 % 14/10/2019 31/10/2019 1, 2
Final Exam 35 % 31/10/2019 28/11/2019 1, 2, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Participation is expected in the tutorials (assessment item 1) and in peer-review items (assessment item 3).


As above, 3 hr exam on the course material. Marked based on the completeness and quality of the answer, with % given for each question.

Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and results returned to the student (official end of Semester results released on ISIS). Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 05/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 21/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4

Tutorial Assignments

WHAT: Five assignments will be introduced in the tutorial & completed within a week.

PURPOSE: Solving problems related to planetary science

GRADING: These are short-answer questions that will be given % for each question. The best 4/5 assignments will count towards the grade.

Assignments are due Monday, 1 week after the tutorial:

1) 2019-08-05,

2) 2019-08-19,

3) 2019-08-26,

4) 2019-09-02,

5) 2019-10-07.

The date range for these tasks indicates the approximate due date for the first assignment, and the approximate return date for the last assignment. There are 5 assignments due over the semester. Assignments will be graded based on completeness and quality of the answer. It is intended that the marked assignments will be returned within 2 weeks after submission. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 30/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 14/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Research Essay

WHAT: 1800 – 2500 word essay, plus figures or tables to illustrate points, plus bibliography.

PURPOSE: Finding recent, high quality literature on a topic you are interested in & synthesizing it. Writing a set piece with clarity for an educated reader. Evaluating & preparing figures/tables to illustrate points. Responding to peer-review of your work.

GRADING: Marked based upon the content (introduction, literature review, synthesis, discussion), figures and/or tables, clarity & organization, grammar & spelling, response to peer-reviewer’s suggestions, & references.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 23/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2

Peer-review of another student’s essay and peer-review of student research presentations

WHAT: Evaluation of another student’s essay that includes constructive feedback. Evaluation of other students’ research presentations.

PURPOSE: Providing constructive feedback to peers.

GRADING: Assessed based on: 1) Depth of understanding revealed in the comments; and 2) Constructive nature of the comments.

The peer-review of another student's essay is due in Week 7 and peer-review of other students' research presentations takes place over Weeks 11-12. These are the dates reflected in the assessment summary table.


Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 14/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Research Presentation

WHAT: 5 min oral presentation in class with 1 min questions.

PURPOSE: Presenting a research topic in an oral format.

GRADING: Assessed based upon structure & content, use and quality of visual aids, attributes of speaker, audience interaction, and response to questions.

The research presentation takes place over the last two weeks of the teaching period. These are the dates reflected in the assessment summary table.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 31/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4

Final Exam

WHAT: 3 hr exam on the course material.

PURPOSE: Presenting consolidated knowledge on planetary science and applying it to new situations.

GRADING: Marked based on the completeness and quality of the answer, with % given for each question.

The date range in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location exam.


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

All assessment items will need to be submitted via Wattle as a PDF file.

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission


Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks, without an extension, are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Staff will make their best efforts to give students feedback on assessment items (online) within two weeks of submission.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Assignments can only be resubmitted in exceptional circumstances by emailing the course convenor within 5 working days of the return of the assignment.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Penelope King

Research Interests

Penelope King

Tuesday 12:00 13:00
AsPr Charles Lineweaver

Research Interests

AsPr Charles Lineweaver

Thursday 12:00 13:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions