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This is a lesson about using the light from the star during an occultation event to identify the atmosphere of a planet. Learners will add and subtract light curves (presented as a series of geometrical shapes) to understand how this could occur.... (View More) The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. (View Less)
This is a website about gravitational waves. Learners will read about how the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission will detect gravitational waves.
This website provides instructions on how to find and download images directly from the WISE archive. With a computer and Internet connection, users can access high-resolution, infrared images from the WISE mission. Instructions are provided to... (View More) explain how to get access the images from the archive. (View Less)
This is a series of three webpages about how humans and computers communicate. Learners will explore the binary and hexidecimal systems and how engineers use them to translate spacecraft data into images.
This is a game about data compression. Learners will use virtual foam balls to explore the different compression methods (lossless, lossy, and superchannel) used by the Earth Observing 3 mission.
This is a lesson about visual spectra. Learners will explore different ways of displaying visual spectra, including colored "barcode" spectra, like those produced by a diffraction grating, and line plots displaying intensity versus color, or... (View More) wavelength. Students learn that a diffraction grating acts like a prism, bending light into its component colors. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. (View Less)
This is a lesson about how to plan a mission to explore another world in the Solar System. Learners will discuss the path of a spacecraft traveling between planets, examining the journey from the Earth to Mars as an example. In Activity 1, students... (View More) determine the pros and cons for different ways we can explore another world, either by observing from the Earth or by sending a spacecraft to fly by, orbit, or land on the world. In Activity 2, the students plan a complete mission to explore another world in the Solar System. By the end of the lesson, the students come to understand that what scientists want to learn about an object determines how they plan the mission, but real-life constraints such as cost and time determine what actually can be accomplished. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the value of exploring our solar system and others in the Universe. Learners will investigate, compare, and describe patterns in Solar System data. They will then hypothesize about the formation of the Solar System based on... (View More) data and explain how extrasolar planets can be discovered. In the first activity, the students investigate Solar System data to find clues to how our planetary system was formed. By the end of the activity, the students come to understand that other stars form just like the Sun, and, therefore, many stars could have planets around them. The second activity examines how scientists can find these extrasolar planets. By observing the behavior of a model star-planet system, the students come to understand that it is possible to see the effect a planet has on its parent star even if the planet cannot be seen directly. By comparing the properties of our Solar System with other planetary systems, we can gain a deeper understanding of planetary systems across the Universe. (View Less)