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In honor of Space Day 2000 (May 4), today’s topic explores the mysteries of space. In addition to today’s site explorations, children eight through twelve are invited to join John Glenn, Sally Ride and other space visionaries at the live Space Day Web cast on Thursday May 4 between noon and 3 p.m. ET.
“Small space rocks enter the earth’s atmosphere on a daily basis. Most burn up but some make it to the surface. In either case they make little impact and are certainly not life threatening unless you are unlucky enough to have one fall on your head. Of concern are the larger interplanetary bodies – asteroids and comets – which we now know have collided with the earth in the past and which pose a real threat to human life.” Be sure to read about “massive pale blue fireball” that exploded above the Tunguska River valley in Siberia in 1908.
Life Beyond Earth
“Perhaps the best way to search for life on the trillions of planets circling other suns is through communication… if there are intelligent beings out there who want to communicate with us. Today we have the means to broadcast messages to the planets and stars… but is anybody out there listening?” Which brings us to the next question. If you knew an alien was listening, what would you say? Click on “Write to an Alien” to pen your own message or read those of selected experts.
Mystery of Space: Stars
This Thinkquest entry created by two middle school students is simply marvelous! It is divided into two tours: one for twelve and under, the other for older students. “You may have seen the picture of the Galaxy M16 before, but not known what it was. It is an embryonic star cloud. Embryonic star clouds are huge cocoons of dust grains, gas, and molecules, and are the birthplace of stars. These star clouds can be so huge that some of them are measured in light years.”
Stephan Hawking’s Universe: Strange Stuff Explained
“For decades, black holes were the darlings of science fiction writers but treated with perhaps a little less respect by physicists. Although general relativity predicted that black holes could exist, many scientists thought they were too bizarre to exist in the real universe. That’s all changed.”
Who’s Out There?
What if you were hired to lead a team searching for extraterrestrial intelligence? How would you search? Where would you search? And what would you look for? Design your own research project by answering these questions, and then test your alien-searching skills in this online game from the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute. For teachers, there is a resource guide to concepts and vocabulary linked from the opening page.