Deep Space Detectives

Read “Deep Space Detectives” in the February issue of The Science Teacher. The article by Amy Pallant, Dan Damelin and Sarah Pryputniewicz describes the High-Adventure Science “Is there life in space?” investigation, which helps students consider the probability of finding extraterrestrial life by using the same modern tools used by scientists.

The curriculum incorporates unique dynamic computer models, real-world data and a video about planet hunters. Students learn how scientists are trying to find the answer to the question of whether or not life can be found beyond earth.

“Deep Space Detectives” begins:

Radio astronomers first detected planets beyond our solar system in 1991 (NASA 2012). Now, armed with state-of-the-art telescopes and other high-tech tools, astronomers spot new planets at an astonishing rate. Indeed, it seems NASA announces the discovery of new planets orbiting distant stars every few months. A total of 843 such planets (in 665 planetary systems) have been identified as of October 2012 (Schneider 2012).

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