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This is a video about the IAU definition of a planet. Learners will watch 3D animation designed to illustrate the history behind the discussion defining the question, what is a planet?, and to outline some of the traits that may be associated with... (View More) the definition of a planet. (View Less)
In this activity, learners replicate the scientific processes of observing, forming an explanation, revising and communicating about a model of a comet. Learners construct a model of features of a comet using an assortment of common craft supplies.... (View More) This activity relates to several NASA comet missions such as Deep Impact, Stardust, Stardust-NExT, and EPOXI and can be used to emulate a process that scientists and engineers follow on all missions. (View Less)
This is an online interactive about asteroid composition. Learners will explore how scientists learn about the composition of an asteroid by studying energy and neutrons that emanate from it. Includes audio (and transcription) explaining the diagram.
This is a lesson about the shape of objects in space. Learners will observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers use variations in reflective brightness to determine the shape of asteroids.
This is a lesson about the characteristics of planets, comets, asteroids, and trans-Neptunian objects. Learners will classify objects and then apply what they have learned by participating in a formal debate about a solar system object discovered by... (View More) the New Horizons spacecraft and by defining the term planet. (View Less)
This is a video about NASA's Dawn mission to the asteroids Vesta and Ceres. Learners will follow the mission from paper to launch pad to asteroid belt and beyond. The video features the planning, instrumentation and technological challenges of this... (View More) unique mission. Leonard Nimoy narrates. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the essential components and variables of an ion propulsion system. Activities include an on-line ion propulsion engine simulation and design. Included... (View More) are changes in energy and fuel consumption as a result of variable changes (dependent/independent variable relationships). This is activity 5 of 5 in Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the science supporting the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the concepts of formation and discharge of charged particles, attractive and repulsive forces between charged particles, and the... (View More) properties of ions in the plasma phase. The lesson may or may not be completed on-line. This is activity 2 of 5 in Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the path of one xenon ion through an ion propulsion engine. Learners will focus on what a single xenon ion sees and does as it goes through the reactions and processes that provide the ion jet propulsion engine's thrust. They... (View More) will learn to adopt an informed, experimental method for use in a later lesson. A tightly-scripted slide-by-slide presentation is provided. Preconceptions are discussed. This is activity 4 of 5 in Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion. (View Less)