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Topics/Subjects:
Motion and forces  
Educational Level:
Higher education  
High school  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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Through the use of rhythm patterns of sounds presented in a solar system model, learners will collect data to determine orbital periods. Then, using that data, they will derive Kepler’s Third Law (the relationship between the distance of planets... (View More)

Learners will explore how engineers minimize the use of fuel by utilizing gravity. In Activity 1, students explore the physical conservation laws by observing the behavior of balls colliding with other objects. In Activity 2, the students use an... (View More)

This is a lesson about using gravity to assist in spacecraft navigation. Learners will relate an elastic collision to the change in a satellite's or spacecraft's speed and direction resulting from a planetary fly-by, often called a "gravity assist"... (View More)

Keywords: Navigation
Audience: High school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per group of students

This is a lesson about discovering distant planets using an Earth-based observing technique called stellar occultation. Learners will explore how a stellar occultation occurs, how planetary atmospheres can be discovered, and how planetary diameters... (View More)

This is a lesson about the science supporting the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the concepts of formation and discharge of charged particles, attractive and repulsive forces between charged particles, and the... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about motion in a frame of reference. Learners will develop an understanding that motion is relative by reading the text "Frames of Reference." As a follow-up to the reading, students engage in a writing-to-learn strategy that... (View More)

Audience: High school

This is a lesson/briefing about the Dawn mission and the significance of its ion propulsion system. Learners will consider cases of science fact versus science fictions, study the challenges of the Dawn mission, and apply the "History Frame"... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about the path of one xenon ion through an ion propulsion engine. Learners will focus on what a single xenon ion sees and does as it goes through the reactions and processes that provide the ion jet propulsion engine's thrust. They... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

Learners will study the essential components and variables of an ion propulsion system. Activities include an on-line ion propulsion engine simulation and design. Included are changes in energy and fuel consumption as a result of variable changes... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a activity about how reaction wheels affect spacecraft orientation (attitude). Learners will observe Newton's Third Law (action-reaction) in the changes caused by a reaction wheel acting upon a spacecraft suspended from a support wire and in... (View More)

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