Student Features

Explore Habitable Planets
07.29.03
Image of the Earth

Earth is the only known planet with life.

Is Earth unique?

What makes Earth habitable to humans?

Is there another planet that could support human life?

If so, will you find it?

Come explore these questions on NASA's Astro-Venture.

Astro-Venture is an interactive, multimedia Web site where you can experience what it's like to work for NASA, as you search for and design a planet that would be habitable to humans.

First, think about what your basic needs are for survival. We need food, water, oxygen, protection from harmful radiation, warmth and some amount of gravity. So what kind of star system and planet will support these needs?
Astro Ferret
Image of red planet
Would Earth be habitable, if our Sun were a Red Giant?
What better way is there to find out what a planet needs for human habitation than to look at the one planet that we know supports our needs -- Earth? What do you think are the features of our solar system, atmosphere, internal structure and ecosystems that are necessary for supporting human habitation on Earth? On Astro-Venture, you can test your ideas about this by changing different features and seeing what happens to Earth. The characteristics that you conclude are necessary for human life will be the features you'll look for when you search for other planets.

Along the way, learn about the exciting NASA research area called Astrobiology. Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe. NASA Astrobiologists are studying how life evolved on Earth and are searching for life in our solar system and beyond. Maybe you will help in the search!


Author: Christina O'Guinn
Earth image source: Goddard Space Flight Center
Other images: Astro-Venture