Missions Outside our Solar System
- Identify and explain the "habitability zone"
- Explain and apply the planet transit technique of detecting planets outside our solar system in the Kepler Mission.
- Utilize software programs such as Planet Hunters and the Kepler Exoplanet Transit Hunt sponsored/created by NASA missions.
Context for Use
This learning module, although not steeped in Earth science principles, can be used in any course of instruction where instructors would like to introduce students to planets outside our solar system and the concept of the habitability zone.
Description and Teaching Materials
Compiled In-Class Activities and Homework
- In-Class Activity 1: Seeing Like Kepler
Teaching Notes and Tips
- Purchase or order an orrery device in order to use In-Class Activity 1 Seeing Like Kepler in your course
- All Homework sets can be adapted for the classroom if desired.
- Before students are assigned Homework 1 "Light Grapher" provide a demonstration of how the software works and explain to students that they will need a webcam in order to do the homework
- Create a planethunters.org account so you can demonstrate how the website interacts with the user in the Homework 2 "Planet Hunters".
Methods of assessment are within each individual In-Class Activity and Homework.
References and Resources
- Kepler Exoplanet Transit Hunt computer interaction: http://kepler.nasa.gov/multimedia/Interactives/keplerFlashAdvDiscovery/#
- Kepler Mission NASA overview You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqrgxYiOv6s&feature=relmfu
- Orrery suggestions for building: http://kepler.nasa.gov/education/ModelsandSimulations/LegoOrrery/
- Planet Hunters: http://www.planethunters.org/?lang=en