• March 21st, 2016

Space Flight and Exploration

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

Grading Rubric for NATS 1530 – Mission Paper
(With input from Paul Delaney, based on NATS 1880)
As described in the syllabus, 16% of the term mark is given for a paper describing a potential space mission. The Mission paper will be based on your reading of the course-book Martian Summer by Andrew Kessler and invites you to devise your own robotic planetary exploration mission. Your paper should be 1600 words (+/- 400 words – 25%) and you can include drawings, figures or other graphics, but where you did not create these yourself they must be attributed and referenced. In addition to the topics covered in class and in Martian Summer research and reference at least two (2) other sources.
In contrast to the Opinion-Essay, this is intended as a piece of technical writing, by which we mean descriptive prose that does not argue a particular viewpoint. The main goal of technical writing is clarity and brevity. Typically such writing can be identified by the use of clarifying section titles that demonstrate how the main topic of the paper is broken down and internally referencing other sections for brevity. Subsection titles may also be used to break down each section, though for this length of paper it is unlikely that you will need to break down the subsections themselves. Outlining is therefore a critical step in your writing process.
Here are the sections you should use:
(a) Where your mission will go? (Describe the destination)
(b) Why go to your destination? (e.g. what will be learned by going there) (c) What will your spacecraft look like?
(d) What tools or instruments will you bring with you?
(e) Who would you put in control of the mission and why?
Note: your audience in this case is a professional planetary scientist who is trying to decide whether your mission should be approved and flown.
Here is how your Mission Paper will be graded. The total value is out of sixteen (16) marks:
1. 10 marks will be given for the Quality of the Researched material and how it is presented. Each section has equal weighting and therefore a value of 2 marks.
a. Please avoid the use of jargon unless you are prepared to spend some of your word allocation explaining the meaning of unfamiliar terms to a general audience.
b. 2 marks will be awarded for a thorough and thoughtful investigation of your topic of choice. Accuracy is essential, and excellent in this section!
c. 1 mark may be awarded for a reasonable discussion of the topic that is presented with a modest level of understanding and includes some research. In this section, accuracy is acceptable, but there may be factual errors or unclear/incomplete explanations.
d. 0.5 marks or less may be awarded if the research is basic or non-existent with little value added beyond what was presented in class or in the course-book. In this section, accuracy is poor, suggesting a lack of understanding of the material being discussed.
e. Note: Including excessive extraneous information outside the scope of the section or substantially repeating materials between sections or subsections -1 mark to -2 marks. Note: substantial here is intended to mean that the two sections convey close to the

same information, internal references are permitted and encouraged where description requires repetition.
2. 6 marks will be given for Quality of Format/Presentation: good grammar, accuracy of spelling, use and number of sections, footnotes/bibliography/references used at the end of the mission paper (these do not count in the word count). Each section is worth 1.2 marks.
a. Neglecting to sub-divide a long and complicated section into subsections -0.6 mark per section
b. Not using the section headers above -1.2 marks per section (and it might be difficult to award the 10 marks for Quality of Researched Material as well!)
c. If spelling errors are frequent or if excessively poor English construction throughout makes reading difficult, at least 0.6 marks and possibly all 1.2 marks will be deducted per section.
3. Penalties – over and above the rubric above, specific actions will incur additional penalties.
a. “Cutting and Pasting” without attribution receives 0 marks and are instances of
academic dishonesty and will be dealt with according to policy.
b. “Cutting and Pasting” with attribution simply receives 0 marks
c. Not referencing Martian Summer in any section -4 marks
d. Outside the word limit by more than 25%: +400 or -400 words, -4 marks
e. Outside the word limit by more than 50%: +800 or -800 words, -8 marks
f. No bibliography or source citations: -4 marks. Poor or incomplete -2 marks
g. Not submitting as a pdf: -4 marks

4. Bonuses – over and above the rubric above, additional marks may be awarded at the discretion of the TA.
a. Identifying equations that pertain to a particular section and correctly describing how they apply up to +0.5 marks
b. Performing calculations correctly that demonstrate the strength of your proposal up to +1 marks total over the paper in addition to 4(a)
c. Diagrams and drawings of the spacecraft, its trajectory, organizational charts, a mission patch or other clarifying graphic that you generate, up to +1 marks over the paper


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