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Resources for the segment: "Comets"
Resources for Educators

Deep Impact Mission Education Site -- Find games and activities to introduce students to comets.

Amazing Space: Comparison Between Asteroids and Comets -- Find information about the differences between asteroids and comets. Download materials to use in your classroom.

NASA eClips™ Our World: More than Just Dirty Snowballs -- These 5-E lessons guide student teams in grades 3-5 to create ice cream comet models to be analyzed by another team of students. They evaluate basic facts about comets to determine how scientists discovered this information. They explore the Stardust Mission and Deep Impact Mission and discuss the scientific contributions of each mission.

Comparing Comets -- In this activity, students compare surface features on the nucleus of two comets; explain some possible causes for differences between the two nuclei; and list questions that they have about the surface of comet nuclei.

Comet on a Stick -- In this activity, students build a model of a comet to study the way the sun affects it; simulate the sun's solar wind as it interacts with the comet; and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their comet model.

Stardust NeXT: Education -- This site offers interactive features, educator guides, and classroom activities (including Comet Mystery Boxes and Comet Lingo Bingo), as well as fun facts relating to comets.

SpaceMath @ NASA -- SpaceMath @ NASA introduces students to the use of mathematics in today’s scientific discoveries. To access these problems click on the green registration button on the top right and follow the instructions at http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov.

We suggest the following problems related to comets:
  • Problem 116: The Comet Encke Tail Disruption Event -- In this problem, students analyze an image taken by the STEREO spacecraft to determine the speed of a comet tail disruption event.
  • Problem 255: Tempel 1 -- Close-up of a Comet -- Students examine an image of Comet Tempel 1 taken by the Deep Impact spacecraft to determine feature sizes and other details.
  • Problem 277: Deep Impact Comet Encounter -- Students learn about the Deep Impact experiment involving Comet Tempel 1 and how the path of an asteroid can be changed by using the Law of Conservation of Momentum.
  • Problem 324: Deep Impact Comet Flyby -- Students determine the form of a function that predicts the changing apparent size of the comet as viewed from the spacecraft along its trajectory.
  • Problem 340: Computing the Orbit of a Comet -- Students use data from the orbit of Halley's Comet to determine the equation for its elliptical orbit.
  • Problem 374: Deep Impact -- Closing In on Comet 103P/Hartley 2 -- Students use the tangent formula to figure out the angular size of the comet at closest approach and the scale of the High Resolution Instrument, or HRI, camera image.
  • Problem 377: Deep Impact: Approaching Comet Hartley 2 -- Students use data for the brightness of comet Hartley 2 measured by the Deep Impact spacecraft to create a linear equation for its approach distance and use the inverse-square law to estimate its brightness on Oct. 13, 2010.
  • Problem 382: Estimating the Mass and Volume of Comet Hartley 2 -- Students use an image of the nucleus of comet Hartley 2 taken by the Deep Impact/EPOXI camera and a simple geometric "dumbbell" model based on a cylinder and two spheres, to estimate the volume of the comet’s nucleus and its total mass.
  • Problem 387: A Mathematical Model of Water Loss from Comet Tempel 1 -- Students use data acquired by the Deep Impact spacecraft to create a simple empirical model for predicting the rate of water loss from a comet.

Resources for Students

NASA Stardust Kids and Parents Page -- This site provides activities about comets that students and parents can do at home.

Comet Interactive -- Watch videos and learn about the anatomy and life cycle of comets with this interactive feature.

Amazing Space: Comparison Between Asteroids and Comets -- What is the difference between a comet and an asteroid? Use this table to investigate the differences.

Amazing Space: Comets -- Whip up a batch of comets without trashing the kitchen!

Interactive Comet Animation -- View a comet's orbit using this interactive simulation.

Amazing Space: Comet Facts, Myths and Legends -- Explore facts and fantasies about comets through the ages.

Space Place: What's in the Heart of a Comet? -- Learn about the parts of a comet and see what NASA learned from the Deep Impact Mission to comet Tempel 1.

NASA eClips™ Our World: Stardust -- Learn how NASA's Stardust mission collected a sample of comet dust and brought it back to Earth using a material called aerogel.

Space Place: Ode to Aerogel -- Learn about the unique invention aerogel and how scientists have used this material to capture pieces of a comet.

Space Place: Comet Word Find -- Find the hidden words about comets and solve the word find puzzle about comets and the Stardust mission.

Space Place: Tails of Wonder -- Test your comet IQ in this interactive quiz.

Space Place: Looking for Water Everywhere -- Use the "I See Ice Viewer" to see some of the places where ice has been found in our solar system.