Support materials only that illustrate some possible contexts for exploring Science as a Human Endeavour concepts in relation to Science Understanding content.
Study of contemporary atmospheric changes includes analysis of materials and chemicals present in the atmosphere, as well as properties such as air quality, surface pressure, surface temperature and humidity. Since the 1980s, the Global Atmosphere Watch, established by the World Meteorological Organisation, a United Nations agency, has been monitoring trends in Earth’s atmosphere. The program seeks to identify and understand changes in the atmosphere in order to be able to predict future change and provide advice about ways to mitigate the effect of human-induced atmospheric change (ACSES014). A number of environmental conventions have been ratified as a consequence of information derived from the global monitoring of the atmosphere (ACSES012).
The search for evidence of life on other planets is often initially focused on identification of extraterrestrial liquid water. Based on models of Earth, scientists theorise that planets with surface water will occur within a ‘Goldilocks zone’ of distance from their sun, where surface temperatures are not too hot and not too cold (ACSES009). However new theories suggest that if a planet outside the ‘Goldilocks zone’ is large enough, and produces enough internal heat, it could still contain deep reservoirs of liquid water capable of supporting life. Development of satellite and probe technologies has enabled identification of natural satellites and dwarf planets in our solar system that have evidence of liquids below the surface, and both Venus and Mars are thought to have had large areas of surface water in their past. The Hubble space telescope has enabled identification of the atmosphere of planets outside our solar system (ACSES010).