Grand Tour of the Terrestrial Planets
In the age of publicly funded space exploration involving several national space agencies, knowing about the highest mountain in the solar system is as basic to geospatial literacy as knowing about the highest mountain on Earth is to classical geography. This activity is a Google Earth grand tour of the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars) and guides students to explore atmospheres, magnetospheres, landscapes, and interiors. Each tour commences with an astronaut's overview from space, and then it zooms in on specific, media-rich placemarks, and ends with a concluding view from space. This is intended to help students develop a sense of relative position and relative size of features on other planets.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- critical thinking
- geospatial reasoning
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
Students and instructors are to open Planet Grand Tour kml (Zip Archive 3kB Jan30 19) in Google Earth.
The following are useful to instructors:
- GTTP_Instructors_Guide (Acrobat (PDF) 889kB Jan30 19)
- A Grand Tour of the Terrestrial Planets publication (Acrobat (PDF) 2.5MB Jan30 19)
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
This is part of the GEODE Project funded by NSF DUE 1323419 and Google gifts to ODU and JMU. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or Google Inc.