Subject 12.000 provides an opportunity for entering freshmen to gain first-hand experience with working as part of a team to develop effective approaches to complex problems in earth system science and engineering that do not have straightforward solutions. Each year's class explores a different problem in detail through the study of complimentary case histories and the development of creative solution strategies. It includes training in website development, effective written and oral communication, and team building. Receiving major financial support from the Alex and Britt d'Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in MIT Education, 12.000 is designed to enhance the freshman experience by helping students develop contexts for other subjects in the sciences and humanities, and by helping them to establish learning communities that include upperclassmen, faculty, MIT alumni, and professionals in science and engineering fields.

The subject was offered first in Fall 2000, when the assignment ("Mission 2004") was to develop a viable mission plan for the exploration of Mars with the aim of finding evidence for the present or past existence of life. The assignment for Fall 2001 was to design permanent research stations in the ocean realm. In future years, the topics may range from establishing protocols for protecting fragile marine ecosystems to designing better energy resource development programs for developing nations. Suggestions are welcome for future project themes....

In Fall 2002, 12.000 became a core subject of the Terrascope freshman program. Part of MIT's new Earth System Initiative, Terrascope is designed to provide context for the MIT freshman-year experience by focussing on the role of physical, chemical, and biological processes in Earth evolution.
You can view the final presentation by students in Mission 2006 which is to be webcast live on December 6, 2002 at 7:30pm (at MIT, building 34-101). Follow this link to see the final student web sites for Mission 2005
or to watch the final student presentation of the Mission plan.



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