The Astronomy Center has provided educational resources to introductory astronomy educators since 2003. Over the past 20 years, the rapid pace of discovery has rendered some of our linked resources obsolete. Thus, the Astronomy Center will be decommissioned on March 1, 2022. Our highest quality resources will be retained on ComPADRE.org.
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
The Solar System Exploration website offers information about the objects in our solar system, recent technology used to explore these worlds, space missions, and news articles. This site also provides a gallery of images, quicktime or MPEG animations, and other interactive features that allow users to explore the planets, comets, asteroids, the history of robotic exploration, and future missions.
3-5: 3A/E2. Technology enables scientists and others to observe things that are too small or too far away to be seen otherwise and to study the motion of objects that are moving very rapidly or are hardly moving at all.
6-8: 3A/M2. Technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection and treatment, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.
9-12: 3A/H3b. One way science affects society is by stimulating and satisfying people's curiosity and enlarging or challenging their views of what the world is like.
3B. Design and Systems
6-8: 3B/M1. Design usually requires taking into account not only physical and biological constraints, but also economic, political, social, ethical, and aesthetic ones.
9-12: 3B/H1. In designing a device or process, thought should be given to how it will be manufactured, operated, maintained, replaced, and disposed of and who will sell, operate, and take care of it. The costs associated with these functions may introduce yet more constraints on the design.
3C. Issues in Technology
6-8: 3C/M8. Scientific laws, engineering principles, properties of materials, and construction techniques must be taken into account in designing engineering solutions to problems.
9-12: 3C/H6. The human ability to influence the course of history comes from its capacity for generating knowledge and developing new technologies—and for communicating ideas to others.
4. The Physical Setting
4A. The Universe
3-5: 4A/E4. The earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, and the moon orbits around the earth.
6-8: 4A/M3. Nine planets of very different size, composition, and surface features move around the sun in nearly circular orbits. Some planets have a variety of moons and even flat rings of rock and ice particles orbiting around them. Some of these planets and moons show evidence of geologic activity. The earth is orbited by one moon, many artificial satellites, and debris.
6-8: 4A/M4. Many chunks of rock orbit the sun. Those that meet the earth glow and disintegrate from friction as they plunge through the atmosphere—and sometimes impact the ground. Other chunks of rock mixed with ice have long, off-center orbits that carry them close to the sun, where the sun's radiation (of light and particles) boils off frozen materials from their surfaces and pushes it into a long, illuminated tail.
9-12: 4A/H3. Increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the universe. Visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes collect information from across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves; computers handle data and complicated computations to interpret them; space probes send back data and materials from remote parts of the solar system; and accelerators give subatomic particles energies that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.
9-12: 4A/H5. As the earth and other planets formed, the heavier elements fell to their centers. On planets close to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), the lightest elements were mostly blown or boiled away by radiation from the newly formed sun; on the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) the lighter elements still surround them as deep atmospheres of gas or as frozen solid layers.
9-12: 4A/H6. Our solar system coalesced out of a giant cloud of gas and debris left in the wake of exploding stars about five billion years ago. Everything in and on the earth, including living organisms, is made of this material.
6-8: 4F/M3b. If a force acts towards a single center, the object's path may curve into an orbit around the center.
4G. Forces of Nature
6-8: 4G/M2. The sun's gravitational pull holds the earth and other planets in their orbits, just as the planets' gravitational pull keeps their moons in orbit around them.
9-12: 4G/H1. Gravitational force is an attraction between masses. The strength of the force is proportional to the masses and weakens rapidly with increasing distance between them.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11D/M3. Natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.
<a href="https://www.compadre.org/astronomy/items/detail.cfm?ID=789">National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA: Solar System Exploration. Washington: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.</a>
%0 Electronic Source %T NASA: Solar System Exploration %I National Aeronautics and Space Administration %V 2023 %N 6 December 2023 %9 text/html %U https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/
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