On August 6th, 2012, ?at 1:32 a.m. Eastern time, NASA’s Curiosityrover successfully landed on the surface of Mars, kicking off a new era for the American space agency and sending cheers across the Internet in celebration of humanity’s latest scientific milestone.? (PCMag.com) (or, ?Smith, PCMag.com).

For Essay #1, you will write a descriptive essay. You will prepare a report for the six members of the Executive Committee of your Public Relations firm, Exeter Communications. Your job is to describe the key points of the mission and to suggest possible implications of the event for the business community. Four of the six executives were on vacation when this historic mission culminated in its landing. All of the members will want a coherent understanding of the event so that they may talk intelligently, thought not in great detail, about the mission and its impact to current and prospective clients of the firm.

Your assignment is to present to these executives what they need to know about the mission in order to appear knowledgeable to clients. Your essay will describe the most important technical achievements of the mission and, in very general terms, suggest at least one of the possible ramifications of the event for those in the space and technology industries. Thus, your thesis statement must announce that the report will cover the above requirements, and the body of your essay must do so.

Your two-page essay may use any source you wish (Wikipedia.com, NASA.org, NBC News.com, about.com, latimes.com), but be very careful to use a minimal in-text citation at the end of any sentence or passage that you quote or paraphrase from anther source. By minimal citation, I only want the author and publication or publication if that is all that is available. My citation above is sufficient. If you feel confident in using the full text of the citation and a Works Cited page, please do so. I will give extra credit for this additional effort.

As always, use double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman as your font, and follow the general page layout that you find on pages 80 through 82 in the Diane Hacker book. Importantly, I want you to read and incorporate the guidelines for formal writing. These appear in a document on Blackboard.

See also the JPL video at: http://news.discovery.com/space/live-mars-rover-curiosity-landing-120802.html

Remember that in formal writing:
Don’t use contractions.
Don’t use abbreviations except for titles (Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc).
Don’t use “texting” spellings. (U are always there 4 me.)
Don’t use slang, profane, sexist, or hate language.
Don’t use colloquialisms.
Don’t forget to use Check Your Spelling (electronically if possible).
Don’t use rhetorical questions.

Don’t use the second-person perspective. (When you read about this greed and ruthlessness, you wonder how our country can survive.)
Don’t use the first-person perspective (I believe Mr. Sowell uses generalizations to smear students as irresponsible.)

“Were” is the past tense form of “is” (they were at home).
“Whether” is a conjunction; “weather” is a noun referring to a set of meteorological conditions.
Use “because” or “since,” not due to.

Remember that when you try to join two independent clauses, you must use:
A comma plus one of the FANBOYS (I drive trucks, and she drives vans.)
A semicolon (“;”) (I drive trucks; she drives vans.)
A period and a new sentence (I drive trucks. She drives vans.)

He hit a three-point shot, and the crowd went wild.
He drove to the store, but it was out of napkins.

She turned in her paper; it was one of her best.
Charlie finished the novel; he was deeply moved by the ending.

He hit a three point shot. The crowd went wild.
He drove to the store. It was out of napkins.

Remember that subordinating conjunctions always make a clause dependent (subordinate) and that when a subordinate (dependent) clause begins a sentence, you must use a comma to separate the subordinate clause from the main clause as in:

When I woke up this morning, I made breakfast.

Because the writer used too many adverbs, his prose seemed oddly flat.

If the student uses the passive voice too often, the writing is likely to be lame, vague, and diffuse.

Remember that transition words (formally called conjunctive adverbs) always require a comma after the word. See you Handbook for a complete list. See also “Conjunctions” under the Resource Tab.

Accordingly, we all filed out.
However, I protested until the last day.
Both teams really wanted to play that last game; however, the umps called it on account of rain.
Nonetheless, the evidence was insurmountable.
First, there are reasons to believe the car will be built.
Secondly, the trees have survived this long.
Lastly, A.IG. offered fraudulent tax shelters to wealthy American investors.
In conclusion, Homer Hickam’s father is a mixture of traits.

Remember to use commas to set off introductory clauses and phrases.

To get a head start, he left five minutes early.
Thinking it would be all right, Homer set it up on the back fence.
When she gave him the book on rocket mathematics, he was thrilled.
When Sonny learned that she was going out with his brother, Sonny was crushed.

Remember to use the apostrophe ( ‘ ) to indicate possession (or contractions, but not in formal writing).

At that point Homer’s will to succeed finally failed him.
The government’s auditors played an important role in the conviction.

Remember to spell words that sound (homonyms) alike correctly:

“There” indicates a place or direction. He went there.
“Their” indicates possession. She washed all of their shirts.
“They’re” is the contraction for “they are.” They’re our friends

“Were” is the past plural form of the verb to be. They were on board.
“We’re” is the contraction for “we are.” We’re going home. (somos in Spanish)
“Where” is a question or direction word. We can play where we want to. (donde)

It’s means “It is” (?es? in Spanish).
Its is the possessive of the pronoun “it.”

?Past? means as a adjective: ?previous to the present, gone by or elapsed in time.? As a noun ?past? means a period of time prior to the present.?
?Passed? means ?having completed the act of passing, or ?having successfully completed some examination.?

Insert a clear, carefully constructed thesis statement in your opening paragraph (usually the last sentence of this paragraph).

Use a clear, carefully constructed topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph. Within paragraphs make sure use only ideas or evidence that relate to or support your topic sentence,

Avoid errors in pronoun reference. Each pronoun, particularly “it,” “they,” “them,” “which,” must reference to a specific antecedent and match the antecedent noun in number (singular or plural).

Remember “who” refers back to antecedents that are persons.
The coach plays the players who work the hardest.

Remember “which” refers back to antecedents that are not persons.
Thomas Sowell makes a number of assertions that he does not support with sufficient evidence.