Last week, astronomers in Europe announced the discovery of an Earth-like planet outside of our Solar System. It was discovered this month, and it orbits the star Gliese 581, which is a red dwarf star located a little more than 20 light years from Earth. As a star system, Gliese became interesting to the astronomers in that they found a planet, Gliese 581c, to be located in the “habitable zone” of that stars solar system.
Although one must be cautious that this planet might contain water, it is in the realm of possibility. And that could mean the planet could have Earth-like conditions leading to the emergence of life. Another aspect of the discovery is the comment by some astronomers that it tells you that planets like Gliese 581c are probably very common. Some astronomers estimate that the surface temperature on this planet range between 0 and 40 degrees centigrade. The image below Gliese 581 and its planets.
Suppose that life has existed on this planet for a billion years or more, and that it is very advanced. Since their science is advanced, they have been able to explore the universe. They have discovered a small blue planet orbiting the sun that is like their own planet, Gliese. Being so advanced, they have developed the ways and means for extra-stellar travel, and have planned a mission to the Blue Planet. What would that be like? Well….
Welcome to Mission to the Blue Planet
In this activity students imagine that they part of a team of planetary scientist and explorers from the Planet Gliese 581c. The activity provides links to activities enabling the extraterrestrials to explore various Earth Phenomena including impact craters, earthquakes, volcanoes and other events on the Earth that interest them.
Visit the site to find out how this is accomplished. Let us know what you think.