Astronomy current events question: solar wind versus Mars' atmosphere

Astronomy 210L, Spring Semester 2010
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students are assigned to read online articles on current astronomy events, and take a short current events quiz during the first 10 minutes of lab. (This motivates students to show up promptly to lab, as the time cut-off for the quiz is strictly enforced!)
Astronomy.com editors, "Solar Wind Pulses Help Blow Away Martian Atmosphere," March 11, 2010
According to European researchers, what evidence is there that solar wind pulses are a significant cause of Mars' atmosphere loss?
(A) Analyzing air pockets trapped in early and recent lava rocks.
(B) Absence of rings around Mars.
(C) Remote weather stations on Mars' surface.
(D) Tracking heavy ions leaving Mars' atmosphere.
(E) No global warming on Mars.

Correct answer: (D)

Student responses
Sections 30678, 30679, 30680
(A) : 9 students
(B) : 2 students
(C) : 3 students
(D) : 43 students
(E) : 4 students

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