In this investigation, students have to use their understanding of Earth systems and Astronomy, including rotation/revolution, tilt of axis, Lunar Phases, atmospheric and weather conditions, star types, distances in space, topography and biochemistry to plan a mission and then determine if there is life or was life present on the planet.
There are a total of 5 planets with information about each included (the student versions say very little, and you can slowly add the information to the teams as they request it as if waiting for the transmission from their spacecraft). The teacher version is where most of the pertinent information is located.
I have attached a sample of a “reconnoissance picture” that I created. Since I simply grabbed this from the internet and used some basic editing tools in Word to manipulate it, I can’t take credit for it. You can do the same thing for the other planets, just locate a strange picture from here on Earth and manipulate the settings.
I am going to upload a second part which has doc. that can be changed and manipulated. These are the world maps and solar imagery. Again, due to copyright, I took out the images. All you have to do is scour the internet for shared or free content of planet maps other than Earth’s and different star types. I left the ability to manipulate these two docs so that you can move the parts around (especially on the world map because this describes the plate tectonics of that planet.).
I also have included only one topographic map image from one planet for the same copyright use laws as stated above. All you have to do is make new ones for the other planets using imagery that you can find (or make if you are ambitious!)
Look for the docs in a later post called Exoplanet Reconn Challenge Part 2
Additionaly, you can have students create the content for this project as an alternative to having them simply figure out the connections in the information. You can also add a math component by adding costs and weights to the components of the spacecraft and place limitations on the cost/weight of the launch vehicle. Students then have to consider what to purchase and why.
If it seems a little sparse, it is because I want students to try and make the connections between gathering information and drawing conclusions.
In this investigation, students have to use their understanding of Earth systems and Astronomy, including rotation/revolution, tilt of axis, Lunar Phases, atmospheric and weather conditions,…