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Your Mission
Learning Targets
  • I can describe methods and equipment used to explore the solar system and beyond
  • I can research and communicate scientific theories that explain how the solar system was formed
  • I can use computer data sets and simulations to explore objects in the solar system
  • I can compare and contrast various bodies in the solar system.

Task:
Part A
In your TEAM of 4, decide which crew member will be responsible for the following sets of research criteria:

Crew Member 1 - The Neighborhood
  • Terrestrial (rocky inner planet) or Jovian (outer gas giant) planet?
  • How was your planet formed?
  • Average distance from the sun, aphelion, and perihelion (in miles and km)
  • Distance from earth (in miles and km)
  • Time a voyage from earth would take (using speed formula) and the average speed of a conventional rocket, about 17,000 mph or 27,000 km/hr
Media: Images (including charts or graphs) and/or animations that illustrate your planet's location within the solar system. Illustrations should help the viewer understand your planets distance from the sun and location in the solar system in comparison to the other planets. If videos are included, they must be less than one minute long.

Crew Member 2 - Where Man Has Gone Before
  • Describe at least 2 previous scientific missions that have traveled to or observed your planet.
  • Describe what discoveries were made and how the data was collected (visible light, infrared, ultraviolet, gamma rays, etc.).
Media: Images and/or animations that illustrate important prior scientific missions to your planet. Illustrations should show ships, probes or other equipment involved in the mission.  If videos are included, they must be less than one minute long.
 
Crew Member 3 - Vital Statistics
  • Size: diameter and mass
  • Revolution - how many earth years around the sun 
  • Rotation - how many earth days for one rotation
  • Planetary and atmospheric composition
  • Number of moons or rings if applicable
Media:  Images (may include charts or graphs) and/or animations that illustrate planetary data for your planet. Illustrations should help the viewer understand your planets characteristics (size, orbital path, composition, etc.) in comparison to the other planets.  If videos are included, they must be less than one minute long.

Crew Member 4 - Showcase
  • Describe any characteristics that make your planet and/or its moons unique and interesting (amazing facts) and does not duplicate information from other crew members.
  • Resources or scientific information that make it a useful place for earth to explore
Media: Images (may include charts or graphs) and/or animations that illustrate unique features and characteristics for your planet and/or surrounding moons. Illustrations should help the viewer understand your planets uniqueness and issues of scientific interest in comparison to the other planets. If videos are included, they must be less than one minute long.

Resources
General Solar System Resources

NASA Solar System Exploration

The premier source for Solar System research!

How Planets Form - LASP Video: Birth of the Solar System

Glossary of Astronomy Terms - from Sea and Sky

Specific Planet Resources
Calculators and Conversions

Images and Media
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These are sites that have public domain images or can be used by permission
Planetary Photojournal: NASA's Image Access Home Page NASA's
Multimedia - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
HubbleSite - Hubble Showcase Click on a planet and get all the Hubble Space Telescope's photos