WebQuest for Near Earth Objects
Our class has already studied the major objects of our solar system, the sun and planets, in depth.
Other smaller bodies of at least six types revolve around the sun in relatively close
proximity to earth. It is important to study these near earth objects because knowledge of
them may lead to significant scientific, economic, and even social advancement. Furthermore,
ignorance of them may prove to be perilous (recall the dinosaurs).
A consortium of governments and industries has been assembled to discuss what is out there
and what opportunities and risks it might pose. Politicians and business leaders have agreed
that they are not qualified to answer these questions and they have recruited our class as
advisors. The class will eventually break up into groups so that each type of object can
be investigated in depth, but for now everyone will study each kind of near earth object to
accumulate enough background knowledge to understand each object and be able to pick a favorite
one for subsequent detailed analysis.
Your research assistants have searched the world (and world wide web) over and put together a
compact collection of resources that will bring you up to speed. By clicking on the links below
and reading the texts, listening to the audio, studying the graphics, and viewing and video
you will learn about near earth objects. Complete the evaluation below to indicate your
preparedness for further study and your eventual advisory role.
On a piece of paper please address the following items:
- Draw a picture showing the location of meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites in relation to the earth.
- Being hit by a meteor is unlikely, but what two objects have indeed been hit?
- Draw a picture showing the orbits of three kinds of satellites.
- What is pictured in the satellite photo?
- What ways have been suggested to remove space junk and have they solved the problem?
- Where is space junk concentrated?
- Draw another picture showing a comet orbiting around the sun and the orientation of its tail.
- Why were comets feared in the past?
- Which planets have been under recent investigation by space probes?
- Which planet is shown in the probe movie and what part of earth does it look like?
- How are asteroids like cars?
- How does the shape of the filmed asteroid differ from the shape of planets you know?
- How would you best divide the objects into two groups?
- What kind of object would you most like to investigate further? Why?