The Sun is only one of more than 200 billion stars in the Milky Way. Students will see the enormous span of the universe, some of our neighboring stars and an excellent description of the life of a star. Of the 200 billion stars in our galaxy, the nearest star is Alpha Centauri, 4.25 light years away.
Olympus Mons, the tallest and deepest volcano in our Solar System. Although Mars is about half the size of Earth, it takes nearly twice as long to orbit our Sun. NASA's 21st century inter-planetary robots landed on the once watery surface and sent back images and collected data. Coupled with Earth-bound complex telescopes, multi-disciplinary studies continue to enhance our knowledge of our closest neighbor.
At one time, Venus might have been Earth's twin, but scientists speculate that a maturing Sun doomed Venus. It is a lifeless planet with a dense, choking atmosphere with temperatures that could melt lead. Its environment is brutally hot and is constantly being covered by molten lava oozing from thousands of volcanoes. Constantly shrouded in cloud, Venus could once have been Earth's twin with oceans and continents, even simple life, but as the Sun matured, Venus became the hottest planet in our Solar System.
Saturn, second largest of the gas giants, rules a dazzling domain. The rings of Saturn are billions of moonlets - from grains of dust to rocks the size of trucks. The planet is so light it would float in water. Titan, Saturn's greatest moon, is bigger than the planet Mercury. Students will see detailed images and discover fascinating details about this mysterious planet.
The Sun releases energy that powers the entire Solar System. Charged particles from the core's chemical reactions create a stream of plasma that escapes the Sun's atmosphere. That stream is called the solar wind and contains the entire spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. The Sun creates an enormous magnetic field that regularly twists, triggering mass ejections or flares that turn the solar wind into a storm. The Sun is only one of more than 200 billion stars in the Milky Way. Students will see the enormous span of the Universe, some of our neighboring stars and an excellent description of the life of a star.
Baked and irradiated, Mercury is a cratered world; pock-marked by impactors that rained from space during the early development of our Solar System. With double sunrises, its day is twice as long as its year.
Students will see detailed images of the outer gas giants Uranus and Neptune. Imagery from the Voyager spacecraft and the Hubble Space Telescope show students fascinating details about these two mysterious planets. They will also see Neptune's large moon Triton, the coldest place in the Solar System.
It is a common occurrence for extraterrestrial bodies to impact with planets in the Solar System. The inner planets are most at risk of impact from bodies that lie in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. In this program, students will see how we are preparing our planet for a possible impact and how we are using spacecraft to learn more about the asteroids.
Beyond the Asteroid Belt lies Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is a ball of gas with no solid surface. Regal Jupiter is orbited by more than 60 moons of which four are large enough to be small planets.
By fitting together the pieces of Earth's development, scientists are using revolutionary instrumentation to scan the universe to explore the possibility of past, present and potential future life elsewhere in our universe. Current extraordinary advances in telescope infrared technology provides increasingly detailed images of our universe. The question remains, is Earth the only place in the solar system where life exists?