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Exploring the Planets


Welcome to Exploring the Planets Cyber Center. Have you ever wondered why the Moon has so many craters? Do you know which planet has the largest volcano, or what causes storms on Jupiter? The Cyber Center is a simulated research center at the National Air and Space Museum where you can explore these and many other mysteries of the Solar System.

At the Cyber Center you will see for yourself how scientists study planets that are millions of miles away. Although the activities are designed to be used in a classroom with a teacher, please feel free to try them on your own. No matter where you do the activities, the staff at the Cyber Center want you to experience the excitement of planetary research. So get out your science journal and get ready to use on-line data and images to investigate the planets and other members of the Solar System.

The Cyber Center has three levels of activities. The first level, The Best of the Solar System, is an orientation for student interns at the Cyber Center. The assignment uses planetary images to show new researchers how planetary scientists work.

The second level, Identifying Surface Features of Mars, is an activity that many research assistants in planetary geology actually do for principal investigators: they identify and map interesting surface features like volcanoes and craters that can be seen on Mars. The assignment consists of three activities.

The third level, Mars Landing Site Selection, is a group of activities that principal investigators actually do to select a landing site on Mars: they submit a proposal which describes the mission's purpose and location and the equipment needed to conduct the mission.

Teaching tips and detailed lesson plans for the teacher are also included for each activity level.


Go to:  Best of the Solar System

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Created by: Smithsonian National Air and Space MuseumNASM Educational Services

Copyright 2001 UC Regents.        last update 2/2/01