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NAAP Atmosphere — Pedagogical Objectives

Escape Velocity

  • Students will understand the concept of escape velocity.
  • Students will understand that escape velocity is different than escape by a rocket.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate that escape velocity is not solely determined by mass, but also size/density of the planet.

Maxwell Distribution

  • Students will understand conceptually what a Maxwell Distribution is.
  • Students will be able to recognize a generic Maxwell distribution shape.
  • Students will be able to approximate the average velocity from a Maxwell distribution.

Atmospheric Loss

  • Students will understand that a primary atmospheric loss mechanism is from gas particles escaping.
  • Students will be aware that escape occurs only for a very small portion of the curve and that atmospheric loss typically takes a very long time.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate the relationship between mass and temperature for the Maxwell distribution.
  • Students will be able to identify which gases are likely to escape for which bodies.
  • Students will be able to state several causes for deviation from this first-step atmospheric loss material.