All materials presented are provided by NASA at
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(public domain for educational use)
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Ad S cie Dorothy Canote
Lif Pam Close
Hickman High School
• What is life? • Life Science
• What does life require? • Earth Science
• Which planets and moons might • Physics
be habitable? • Chemistry
• How do Earth’s extremophiles • Inquiry
support the idea of • Math
extraterrestrial life? • Literacy
• What are the possibilities for life Language Arts
elsewhere in our solar system?
p. 59 = All Math and Science Standards Addressed gles
• National Science Standards p. 59
– Life Science
– Earth and Space Science
– Physical Science, Inquiry, Process
– Math Standards
Earth has a composition and location
in the universe suitable to sustain life
• Explain how Earth’s environmental
characteristics and location in the universe
(e.g., atmosphere, temperature, orbital path,
magnetic field, mass-gravity, location in solar
system) provide a life-supporting environment.
• Compare the environmental characteristics and
location in the universe of Earth and other
celestial bodies (e.g., planets, moons) to
determine ability to support life.
WEB SITES Workshop Activities
• Visit http://www.nai.arc.nasa.gov for further • Overview of packet
information on NASA’s Astrobiology Institute.
File1 • One or two activities
• Visit http://www.astrobiology.arc.nasa.gov for • Cross-
further information on the science of
astrobiology. file 2 • Discussion/evaluation
• Visit http://astrobio.terc.edu/for more
information on TERC’s yearlong astrobiology
What does life need to live?
What is Life? p. 5 p. 11
• Compare real and imitation, or • Understanding that Life Needs
compare live and dead objects Water, Nutrients, and Energy
– Grow organisms in one of 12 classroom
• Brainstorm ideas about what
environments and identify common requirements
defines life. (e.g., water, nutrients, and energy)
• Refine the definition by playing 20 • Design a mission to identify
Questions to identify an object or habitable places by searching for
organism water,nutrients, and energy
• Test the definition by comparing • The Math Connection
“mystery” samples – Measuring Calories
What makes a world habitable?
Activity 1 p. 23
•Assessing Planets As Candidates
for Supporting Life
– Examine Habitability Cards,
– Discuss each planet and the six large Temperature
moons in terms of water temperature, Atmosphere
atmosphere, energy, and nutrients
– Identify the top candidates for life in the
solar system Energy
• The Math Connection – Inverse Square Water
• -15 Celsius to 115 Celsius • Liquid water must be available at some
• Cold planets must have internal heat to melt
Atmosphere • Light can be used for energy.
• Essential for ultraviolet and meteorite (photosynthesis)
protection • Chemicals such as sulfur, iron and
• Substantial atmosphere helps insulate and is manganese compounds can also provide
a source of bio-chemicals. energy.
• Planets must have enough gravity to hold an (chemosynthesis)
What can life tolerate?
Nutrients Activity 2 p. 37
• Identifying the Range of Terrestrial Life
• Chemicals must be present for raw – Meet some extremophiles. What conditions do
materials. they tolerate?
– Play a card game similar to Rummy. Students
• Plate tectonics or volcanic activity help create a set by matching 1 each of …
assure that chemicals are readily available. • An extremophile,
• An extreme habitat on Earth
• Liquid water makes a powerful solvent. • An extraterrestrial habitat that may be similar to an Earth habitat.
– Assemble a crew of extremophiles and target
them to specific locations on a planet or moon
– Debate the ethics of sending Earth’s lifeforms
to other worlds
Is there life on other worlds?
“Snottites” • Determining the Chances of Extraterrestrial
• Cave slime – Discuss the question, “What is the
• Extremophiles found in caves chance that we are the only life in the
• Web link universe?”
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solars – Determine what we need to know to
ystem/cave_slime.html file 4 predict the chances of extraterrestrial
• Make estimates for each Drake Equation
term and discuss the range of predictions in
• The Math Connection – Estimation
Math Connections Analysis
• How would you use these activities in
• Activity 2 - Measuring Calories your classroom(s)?
• Activity 3 - Inverse Square Law • Modifications?
• Activity 5 - Estimation