Appendix A | Appendix B |
Appendix C | Appendix D
Japan 2001 - Science, Creativity and the Young Mind Workshop
Space Science Team
Welcome to our Team
Welcome to our Team. We are looking forward to meeting you and working
with you in Bristol. You will be working with two Bristol people during
the week - Stuart Stansfield and Carsten Riedel - both of us work at
the Centre for Environmental and Geophysical Flows of the University
of Bristol Earth Sciences Department. You will also meet Professor Steve
Sparks, FRS, our Centre Director, who is taking a close interest in
your time with us. People working in our Centre in Bristol try to understand
the behaviour of flow systems inside and outside volcanoes. Some people
deal with the formation of glaciers.
Here is some information to give you a bit of idea what we're going
to be doing, and how your investigations can make a real contribution
The Space Science dimension comes because we will be studying volcanoes
on the planet Mars. In this work we will be guided by videolink with
Dr Joseph Kolecki at the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
Glenn Research Centre in the USA who will also be very much part of
our team. I must also mention Lawrence Williams, who will be working
with us in Bristol and has a lot of experience in using videoconferencing
between schools in Britain and Japan and has close personal links with
What will the Team be doing at Bristol?
During the week we are going to look at volcanoes on the surface of
Mars and explore new ideas about the formation and structure of these
volcanoes, by comparing them to equivalent volcanoes on planet earth.
As indicated, during this week you will have the unique opportunity
to speak to experts of NASA by using modern videoconferencing equipment,
i.e. talking real-time to people from NASA in the USA.
What is so important about Mars?
There have been a lot of people already who have worked on photos from
the surface of Mars. The study of the red planet dates back to early
times, and in the last hundred years it has evoked speculations on bizarre
lifeforms and advanced civilizations.
Although this is now discredited, by looking at meteorites in the last
few years the idea that some form of simple life may have existed on
Mars cannot be ruled out entirely. So by comparing today's empty planet
with Earth it might be possible to find out how life survived on Earth
but not on Mars. One essential feature for life is the presence of water.
Mars is a very dry planet. Today water ice occurs in the polar ice caps
of Mars, but liquid water cannot exist because the planet is very cold.
If there was once liquid water, and there is evidence for this, there
must have been another heat source adding to the heat coming from the
Remnants of this heat source are the big volcanoes on Mars' surface.
One of these volcanoes, Olympus Mons in the so-called Tharsis area of
Mars, is huge (26 km high) and is so big that the whole island of Hawaii,
and even the underwater volcanoes around Hawaiia, could easily fit into
it. And Mauna Loa on Hawaii is already the biggest volcano on earth.
How and why could Olympus Mons grow so high and what could have led
to its formation? How are the other volcanoes on Earth and on Mars related
to Olympus Mons? How can we find out more about these Martian volcanoes?
Mars can only be explored from satellites so far, by a technique we
call remote sensing. And by finding out something about Mars' volcanoes
we also learn something about how remote sensing can help us
to understand volcanoes on Earth.
When you arrive
Once you have arrived in our department we will give you some background
information and show you how to access photos from the Martian volcanoes
on the Internet from NASA. We will show you how to compare volcanoes
on other planets with those volcanoes on Earth that we investigate in
our Centre. You can check out all the new photos from the new Mars Global
Surveyor and discuss what you want to do further - with us and with
Joe Kolecki at NASA.
Since the data are relatively new you could well discover something
that other people have not noticed before or come up with an explanation
that nobody has thought of. This would be a really important contribution
you could make to the study of our "red planet" and to the
possibility of life at some stage on all terrestrial (earth-like) planets
(Earth, Mars, Mercury and Venus).
Before you arrive, you may want to look at a few websites that we will
be studying in detail once you are here. Maybe you know something of
the volcanoes of Hawaii or Japan, especially the big ones to compare
with those on Mars. Any book, TV documentation, or video about earth
science will supply some relevant information. Refresh your knowledge
and bring this information with you to Bristol or try to think how the
volcanoes in the books or TV documentaries compare to pictures at:
There is an interesting book The New Solar System edited by J Kelly
Beatty, Carolyn Collins Petersen, and Andrew Chaikin (Sky Publishing
Corporation and Cambridge University Press) 1999, 4th Edition (ISBN
Number 0933346867) with a good chapter on Mars. It is a bit technical
and do not go to a lot of trouble to get it; but if there is a library
with it, it is worth a read.
We (Carsten or Stuart) will be very happy to hear from any of you beforehand
if you have any questions or comments. Our email addresses are:
We look forward to welcoming you to the Japan 2001 Workshop in the
very near future.