Another galaxy.
Another galaxy.
The surface of the sun.
The surface of the sun.

This unit is all about space.

-What is out there?
-Why do we explore it?
-What are the benefits of going into space?
-What organizations launch space shuttles?
-How do planets move?
-How much does it cost to go into space?

These are just a few of the questions that you will be answering during this unit, and will lead up to the final project, a presentation and debate looking to answer:

The Crab Nebula
The Crab Nebula

We will be doing a number of activities and projects to get you ready for this final question that you must answer based on your personal beliefs and what we have learned over the course of the unit. Make sure that you pay attention and complete all of the assignments so that you will be able to actively give input to your group about why you think space exploration should or should not be private.

The topics that we will cover with the standards they are connected to are shown in the web below:

NASA Astronomy Unit Web

They meet the following New York State Standards that will appear on the Regents Exam:

1.1a - Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion.
  • These motions explain such phenomena as the day, the year, seasons, phases of the moon, eclipses, and tides.
  • Gravity influences the motions of celestial objects. The force of gravity between two objects in the universe depends on their masses and the distance between them.

1.1b - Nine planets move around the Sun in nearly circular orbits.
  • The orbit of each planet is an ellipse with the Sun located at one of the foci.
  • Earth is orbited by one moon and many artificial satellites.

1.2a - The universe is vast and estimated to be over ten billion years old. The current the- ory is that the universe was created from an explosion called the Big Bang. Evidence for this theory
  • cosmic background radiation
  • a red-shift (the Doppler effect) in the light from very distant galaxies.

1.2b - Stars form when gravity causes clouds of molecules to contract until nuclear fusion of light elements into heavier ones occurs. Fusion releases great amounts of energy over millions of
  • The stars differ from each other in size, temperature, and age.
  • Our Sun is a medium-sized star within a spiral galaxy of stars known as the Milky Way. Our galaxy contains billions of stars, and the universe contains billions of such galaxies.

1.2c - Our solar system formed about five billion years ago from a giant cloud of gas and debris. Gravity caused Earth and the other planets to become layered according to density differences in
their materials.
  • The characteristics of the planets of the solar system are affected by each planet’s location in relationship to the Sun.
  • The terrestrial planets are small, rocky, and dense. The Jovian planets are large, gaseous, and of low density.

1.2d - Asteroids, comets, and meteors are components of our solar system.
  • Impact events have been correlated with mass extinction and global climatic change.
  • Impact craters can be identified in Earth’s crust