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Resources for the segment: "Solar System Exploration -- What Comes Next?"
Resources for Educators

Solar System Exploration: What We Explore -- These are resources that deal with scale, organization and motion of the planets and bodies in the solar system. Activities in this section focus on solar science, the rocky worlds of the inner solar system, and the gas giants and the ice moons of the outer solar system.

Solar System Exploration: How We Explore -- Resources in this section help explain the reasons we explore and how the job gets done. Activities in this area showcase how scientists and engineers work together to build spacecraft tough enough to explore our solar system and answer key science questions.

NASA's Solar System Exploration Web page -- Get quick access to information about planets and news on the latest missions to explore our solar system, as well as multimedia resources and biographies of the people working on these missions.

Year of the Solar System Website -- Stay up-to-date with the latest mission news as NASA spacecrafts head towards key locations during the Year of the Solar System from October 2010 until August 2012!

Eyes on the Solar System -- This is a 3-D environment full of real NASA mission data. Explore the cosmos from your computer. Track NASA missions. Hop on an asteroid. See the entire solar system moving in real time. It's up to you. You control space and time.

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 the solar system:
  • Planet Fractions and Scales -- Explore the sizes of the planets in our solar system by comparing their sizes with each other.
  • Problem 263: Ice or Water? -- Whether a planetary surface contains ice or liquid water depends on how much heat is available.
  • Problem 247: Space Mobile Puzzle -- Students use a basic balance equation to calculate the missing masses and lengths to build a solar system mobile.
  • Problem 315: The Mysterious Hexagon on Saturn -- A curious hexagon formed by the Saturn polar jet stream, and photographed by the Cassini spacecraft, is used to determine wind speed and acceleration.
  • Problem 301: Planetary Alignments -- Students combine a geometric model with number series to calculate when planets will "line up" in a simple solar system.
  • Problem 268: Planetary Conjunctions -- Students study a simple solar system with three planets and work out how often planets will "line up."
  • Problem 264: Water on Planetary Surfaces -- Students work with watts and joules to study melting of ice.
  • Problem 335: Methane Lakes on Titan -- Students use a recent Cassini radar image of the surface of Titan to estimate how much methane is present and compare it to Lake Tahoe.

NASA's 21st Century Explorer -- Find the answers to 12 different questions about exploration with this set of hands-on activities and accompanying 30-second videos. Learn about explorers who already have gone to space, how your body would change in space, and what it takes to be a NASA explorer.

Resources for Students

Solar System Exploration for Kids! -- Play games, and see how much you would weigh on different planets in our solar system.

Eyes on the Solar System -- Use this 3-D environment full of real NASA mission data to explore the cosmos from your computer. You can hop on an asteroid or even fly with NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft. See the entire solar system moving in real time. It's up to you. You control space and time.

Solar System Exploration: Images of Planets -- Look at images of planets in our solar system that have been collected during a variety of NASA missions.

Solar System Exploration: Images of Spacecraft -- Have you ever wondered how NASA collects the images of planets in our solar system? Check out the spacecraft that have been launched to explore our solar system.

Space Place: Explore the Solar System -- Become a solar system explorer in this interactive online game.

Space Place: The First Annual Planet Awards -- Learn interesting facts about each planet as you decide which one should get the Best Planet Award.

Space Place: A Family of Explorers -- See how NASA uses robotic explorers to learn about objects in space. See an interesting robot made just for the Rose Parade.

Space Place: The Spacecraft That Kept Going and Going -- Learn about Voyager and get an up-close view of the outer planets.

Space Place: Solar System Switch-a-Roo -- Unscramble pictures to learn more about moons and other interesting places in our solar system.

Build Your Own Space Exploration Fleet -- A bunch of super tough robots are out there exploring our solar system. Use these plans to build paper models of them right here on Earth.

Planetary Puzzles -- Do you like puzzles? Then you will have a blast with these puzzles about planets.

Planet Size Comparison -- Have you wondered how big Earth is compared to Jupiter? Use this interactive viewer to compare different planets' sizes.

NASA eClips™ video clips about the Solar System -- Have you ever wondered what is in our solar system or how NASA sends spacecraft to different planets? Learn about the solar system with these fun, short videos.