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Space Exploration and Remote Sensing

Each activity or resource is labeled by access mode:

Requires computer access
Requires downloading from the Web
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Main Topics & Concepts
  • Solar system exploration through satellites has greatly extended our knowledge of "local" history and conditions.
  • Remote sensing is an important research tool.
  • Earth-Orbiting Satellites do astronomy at different wavelengths.
This topic touches on California state standard 2d in 9th grade Earth science. 

Science Probe Text
Science Probe II § 2.1 Exploring Space, 2.2 Getting into Space, and 2.3 Earth-Orbit Satellites

Activity Access Description
S P II: Activity 2A Questions About Space Exploration:
 Students start a journal around their own questions concerning space exploration and technology. To be continued throughout the unit.
S P II: Activity  2C Looking at a Satellite Image
 Students are asked to examine a satellite image of the Earth's surface and make inferences about its usefulness in various contexts.

Activities & Lessons
Activity Access Description

Space Based Astronomy

web A teaching guide with activities that can be printed out in PDF format.  Requires an Acrobat PDF reader.

Geography from Space



web Remote sensing: Examine LandSat images on line and use hints to determine what part of Earth is shown.


webpaper Students learn to interpret images of the planets from important space satellite missions.

Get the Picture!


NASA/Imagine the Universe
web Students use a simulated 2-dimensional detector to create a model of a satellite image.  Introduction to digital images,  pixels and false color imaging.
Were There Catastrophic Floods on Mars?


paper Download teacher's guide in PDF. Planetary geology. Students examine and make studies of images of the Martian surface to determine whether channels near the Mars Requires a set of images available at the parent site (PDF). Parent page with many other Mars modules.

More Universe at Your Fingertips

ActivityJ-12 Digital Images

book Students create a digital image of their name, and reproduce other images using digital concepts. They work on making a "four-color" digital image of the Sun from satellite data, and debrief on how the process worked.

*Astronomical Society of the Pacific Ordering info$$    ** Science Education Gateway for teachers

Resources Access Description

Planetary Probes


Space Observatories

Space Links curriculum support

  web  All linked from the Space Science Page. Loads of information and links to mission Web sites. The Space Science page can take you in a number of directions.

web Some commercial stuff, but lots of recent information and links to resources in various media. Jazzy topics like black holes, missions, launches, space astronomy. Students may have some trouble with embedded advertising, but good source for "current events" in space.

Liftoff to Space Exploration

web NASA shuttle, space station, and unmanned missions