What makes Earth the perfect home for life as we know it? Students in this activity explore the orbital characteristics a planetary home needs to support Earth-like life forms.
The learner will:
Activity Page One uses the "Goldilocks Phenomenon" to loosely define the major characteristics that a planet needs to potentially support life: having just the right temperature and type of star, orbiting at just the right distance, and with just the right gravity, rotation, and chemistry. Students evaluate which variables in Goldilock's adventure were important in selecting the items that were "just right".
In Activity Page Two, students prioritize planet characteristics for the possibility of harboring life.
Activity Page Three asks students to develop a scale model of the solar system and then determine the range of the habitable zone within our solar system.
In Activity Page Four students will be provided with a set of Star Cards and asked to order them according to various criteria. Students will investigate the correlations between spectral class of stars and location of habitable zone.
Activity Page Five asks students to consider the effect of planetary size and mass on habitability by providing students with hypothetical extrasolar planets and asking them to identify those in which life would most likely be found.
Activity Page Six provides students with real data of extrasolar planets and asks them to reason about the probability of the existence of Earth-like life on these planets.
In Activity Page Seven students are asked to create two informational advertisements for imaginary planets. Each of the planets must include information on planetary mass, size, and radius as well as information about the host star. The advertisements will then be included in an Interstellar Real Estate brochure.