Open Courseware options through MIT (FREE)

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One of the coolest things I’ve come across in a long time is called MIT Open Courseware.

Wikipedia says:

MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to put all of the educational materials from its undergraduate- and graduate-level courses online, free and openly available to anyone, anywhere, by the end of the year 2007. MIT OpenCourseWare can be considered as a large-scale, web-based publication of MIT course materials.

I surveyed their catalog and the following are a list of free courses related to space, astronomy, and the solar system:

Undergraduate courses

  • 12.400 – The Solar System – This is an introduction to the study of the solar system with emphasis on the latest spacecraft results. The subject covers basic principles rather than detailed mathematical and physical models. Topics include: an overview of the solar system, planetary orbits, rings, planetary formation, meteorites, asteroids, comets, planetary surfaces and cratering, planetary interiors, planetary atmospheres, and life in the solar system.
  • 12.402J – Introduction to Astronomy – Introduction to Astronomy provides a quantitative introduction to the physics of the solar system, stars, the interstellar medium, the galaxy, and the universe, as determined from a variety of astronomical observations and models.
  • 12.409Hands-On Astronomy: Observing Stars and Planets – This class introduces the student to the use of small telescopes, either for formal research or as a hobby. This course covers background for and techniques of visual observation, electronic imaging, and spectroscopy of the Moon, planets, satellites, stars, and brighter deep-space objects. Weekly outdoor observing sessions using 8-inch diameter telescopes when weather permits. Indoor sessions introduce needed skills. Introduction to contemporary observational astronomy including astronomical computing, image and data processing, and how astronomers work. Student must maintain a careful and complete written log which is graded. (Limited enrollment with priority to freshmen. Consumes an entire evening each week; 100% attendance at observing sessions required to pass.)
  • 16.891JSpace Policy Seminar – Students will learn about the history of the space enterprise, its history, stakeholders, and governing laws. The class will participate in a group project that includes researching, writing, and presenting options for development of a new reusable launch vehicle.
  • 16.892J – Space System Architecture and Design – Space System Architecture and Design incorporates lectures, readings and discussion on topics in the architecting of space systems. The class reviews existing space system architectures and the classical methods of designing them. Sessions focus on multi-attribute utility theory as a new design paradigm for space systems, when combined with integrated concurrent engineering and efficient searches of large architectural tradespaces. Designing for flexibility and uncertainty is considered, as are policy and product development issues.
  • 16.522 – Space PropulsionSpace Propulsion begins with a review of rocket propulsion fundamentals. The course then proceeds into advanced propulsion concepts, ranging from chemical to electrical engines. Propulsion system selection criteria and mission analysis are introduced. The bulk of the semester is devoted to the physics and engineering of various engine classes, including electrothermal, electrostatic and electro-magnetic. Specific topics include arcjets, ion engines, Hall thrusters and colloid thrusters.


~ by tellinghistory on January 2, 2008.

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