Exploring the Solar System

Exploring the Solar System


For this lesson, you are to create a proposal for a trip to your assigned planet. You should use what you discover through research to argue for or against planning a trip to the planet. You may use the websites listed on this E-Sheet to carry out your research and find the information you need to complete the required elements of your proposal, as spelled out on the Exploring the Solar System student sheet.


I. Physical Features

You can find relevant information at these sites:

II. Ability to Sustain Life

If you want to add to your list of what you'll need for survival on your planet, you can explore NASA’s Ames Research Center. First, go to Advanced Life Support and read that page.

You also can explore the same sites as listed under Physical Features.

If you decide there is no way to live on the planet, consider the idea of landing on one of the planet’s moons or putting a space station in orbit. To explore these options, you can go to International Space Station, particularly the sections on “Assembly” and “The Crew.”

If you decide that sending a robot would be the best way to explore the planet, go to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

III. Flight Plan

Go to Our Solar System on Windows to the Universe. You should then click on your planet. Once on your planet page, you can choose to view the animation of that planet's orbit around the sun. This animation also shows the planet's position in relation to earth. Then, you can look at the Table of Planets and study the orbital period for your planet in relation to earth. You should chart the orbit of your planet and earth. You should chart two years' worth.

Knowledge Check

Imagine that ten million years ago there was a tenth planet in our solar system. What might it have been like? 

The essay should address these questions: 

  • Where was it? (Describe where the planet was in relation to the existing planets.)
  • What was the atmosphere like? (Compare it to an existing planet.)
  • What was the surface of the planet like? (Compare it to an existing planet.)
  • Describe the climate, size, orbit, etc.
  • Draw a picture of the solar system with the tenth planet added.

This esheet is a part of the Exploring the Solar System lesson.

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