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Planetary Science  
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Students combine science and systems engineering to develop a mission to search for life in our solar system. The mission must meet budgetary, mass and power constraints while still producing significant science. An extensive set of "equipment... (View More)

In this game, students use the accompanying "playing cards" to plan a mission to Mars. The mission must produce significant science returns while also meeting several constraints such as budget, mass and power. The lesson is part of the Mars... (View More)

This paper model shows the orbit of Comet ISON (late 2013) with respect to the innermost planets of the solar system. After reading background information about comets - how they form and where they come from - students cut out and tape together the... (View More)

This is an activity about the way distance, albedo, and atmosphere affect the temperature of a planet. Learners will create a planet using a computer game and change features of the planet to increase or decrease the planet's temperature. They will... (View More)

This is an activity about the atmospheric conditions (greenhouse strength, atmospheric thickness) Mars needs to maintain surface water. Learners will use a computer interactive to learn about Mars past and present before exploring the pressure and... (View More)

This is an activity about the way distance, reflectivity, and atmosphere affect the temperature of a planet. Learners will create a planet using a computer game and change features of the planet to increase or decrease the planet's temperature. This... (View More)

Keywords: Water; Climate

This is a lesson about measurement and cratering. Learners will read about the origin of the foot as a standardized unit of measure, work collaboratively to conduct an experiment about cratering, and collect and record data to draw logical and... (View More)

Learners will construct a mock-up of planetary surface rover. They begin by exploring the importance of engineering in our society and work as a team to build a prototype of the team's rover using student science notebooks and team sketches as a... (View More)

Keywords: Spacecraft Design
Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $5 - $10 per group of students

Learners will visit a sequence of stations to discover how the dark and light areas and craters we see on the Moon's face today record major events of its lifetime. While they may visit the stations in any order, the stations trace the Moon's... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

Learners go outside on a clear evening and view the sky to see the Moon for themselves. Using sky charts, children navigate the Moon’s impact craters, flat plains (maria), and mountains with the naked eye and binoculars or telescopes. This outdoor... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: Free