AEON Project Archive

This site is an archive of a project of AEON

MIT Terrascope visit to NMMU: 22 – 28 March 2014


About Terrascope (

Terrascope is a learning program for MIT students that begins each year with a class (12.000 or Mission 20XX) devoted to understanding and proposing solutions to a complex problem related to Earth’s environment and sustainability. This year in Mission 2017 students were challenged to develop a plan to ensure that all nations have access to clean fresh water

Students researched the problem in the fall (spring in RSA) semester and developed a series of possible solutions. Their ideas were presented in a public forum, and critiqued by a panel of experts. They also produced a website with comprehensive information on the plan ( At the end of the second semester the students partook in a fieldtrip, which this year was to the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

The field visit to South Africa enables students to extend their learning in Mission by gaining first-hand experience with many of the issues they identified during the semester as critical to equitable access to sources of clean water. The boots on the ground view of the problem will be quite different from that in Boston, USA.

Terrascope is designed for students to learn how to tackle large transdisciplinary problems that require development of teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. The focus of the class is on seemingly intractable problems related to the environment and sustainability science, as well as to help students emerge as confident and responsible earth stewards.
(Course coordinator: Prof Samuel Bowring of the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science Department of MIT).

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