Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Teachable Moment! How NASA Studies and Tracks Asteroids

Teachable Moment – How NASA Studies and Tracks Asteroids

Teachable Moment – How NASA Studies and Tracks Asteroids

Today an asteroid named 2014 JO25 will safely fly by Earth, passing at a distance of about 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers) of the planet. While the flyby is considered a close approach by space standards, it's nothing Earthlings should be concerned about. This asteroid poses no threat to Earth. In fact, the close approach is a great opportunity to teach students how and why NASA studies these space objects.

In the latest Teachable Moment from NASA/JPL Education, education specialist Lyle Tavernier highlights some of the NASA missions studying asteroids, including one that will collect a sample to return to Earth! Plus, learn how NASA detects, tracks and classifies asteroids whose orbits bring them close to Earth.

› Learn more on the Teachable Moments blog

Or skip straight to these standards-aligned lessons all about asteroids:

  • Grades 1-6: Whip Up a Moon-Like Crater – Use baking ingredients to whip up a moon-like crater as an asteroid-impact demonstration for students. This activity works in classrooms, camps and at home. 
  • Grades 3-5: Modeling an Asteroid – Students will shape their own asteroid models out of clay as a hands-on lesson on how asteroids form, what they are made of, and where they can be found in our solar system. 
  • Grades 8-12: Math Rocks: A Lesson in Asteroid Dynamics – Students use math to investigate a real-life asteroid impact. 
  • All ages: If you have a telescope, consider trying to view the asteroid at night. You'll have to know where to look. NASA Solar System Ambassador Eddie Irizarry shares how to find 2014 JO25 here. If you're looking for more technical information about its location, use JPL's Solar System Dynamics site to find the asteroid's ephemeris.


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