Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


Over the millennia our understanding of our place in space has changed dramatically. This unit takes students from traditional beliefs across different cultures (with a particular focus on the rich cultural tradition of Australian Aboriginal solar system astronomy) to modern discoveries about the planets, their internal structure and how they were created. Students will learn about the near-space environment of the Earth, and gain an understanding of "space weather" and "space debris" - sometimes referred to as space junk. This will be followed by an introduction to "space law" - which is becoming important for national security and the continuing use of space for commerce, such as mining the Moon and beyond. The last part of the unit focuses on the search for life elsewhere in the solar system, and the search for life-bearing planetary systems and extraterrestrial civilisations and the many missions to explore the Solar System.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) discuss the historical and cultural contexts of the connections between humans and space; (2) analyse the most likely theory of Solar System Formation, comparing the theory to observational data of our Solar System; (3) apply the principles of current Space Law to new and emerging situations; (4) discussthe difficulties of space colonisation and exploration; and (5) create, both orally and in written form, a technical and critical review of one of the key topics in the unit.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) short report; (2) written and oral projects; and (3) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor David Coward
Unit rules
Successful completion of
24 points of prior study.
SCIE1122 Our Solar System
Contact hours
Lectures: 2-hours per week
Practical Classes: 1-hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.