What is the most alien planet you can think of? maybe from your favourite science fiction program, or perhaps one from our own solar system.
To learn about planets and moons and to design a hypothetical Alien world.
Plan by learning about the Planets and Moons that make up our solar system, develop knowledge of environments.
Develop knowledge by applying what you learn to creating a world of your own
Reflect, does the world you have made provide a suitable climate for life? how does it compare to the planets you researched?
Use this knowledge to design your own life supporting alien world, make it as alien as possible. Make a planet or moon that can support alien life, this life doen not need to be like that on Earth.
Planets to Avoid,
Using LEGO or other building materials build a world of your choice, but make sure it isn’t a barren rocky world like Mercury. Mercury is the planet closest to our Sun and has no atmosphere, except what it gains and looses from the solar wind, radiation and meteorites, which will all be looked at in other activities.
As such Mercury has no protection from the 430 degrees Celsius days or -170 degree Celsius nights, if you consider that most life cannot survive such temperatures along with life needing something to breath and eat then Mercury is not a suitable planet for life.
Other planets to avoid are gas giants such as Jupiter, which consist mostly of atmosphere, these prevent sunlight and do not provide anywhere to keep from falling towards the dense centre, Gas Giants tend to be large and have strong gravitational forces that cause storms. They are unlikely to provide a good environment for life, however their moons may make good alien worlds.
Can you name all of Jupiter’s four largest moons in order of size?
These Galilean moons, named by famous astronomer Galileo Galilei who discovered them in the early 1600s, vary from volcanic and highly radioactive, to ice covered and cold, to cratered and inactive.
Research the other planets and moons in the solar system to help you decide what sort of planet you would like to build.
Here are some of the ones to focus on Callisto, Charon, Europa, Enceladus, Ganymede, Io, Mars, Titan, Triton. But don’t just research our Solar System, we have discovered a lot of ExoPlanets in the last few years. Here is an artists impression of Kepler 22b which is considered one of the most Earth like alien worlds.
Things to consider when building your world.
What will the life on your world breath? Not all life breaths oxygen, some take in Carbon Dioxide, others Methane.
What will your life eat and drink, most known life require water to live, our bodies and cells are mostly made up of water.
What temperature will your world be in the daytime and at night?
Will your world be a planet or a moon, how close will it be to a Star or Planet?
How big is your world, is the gravity strong or weak.
Your planet is Ready for life
Make a data sheet for your planet ready for populating it with life,
For Example include, Surface gravity, details about its moons / the planet it orbits, Distance from Star / planet, length of day / night / year, how hot its summers and days are, how cold its winters and nights are, what the surface and atmosphere are like. You can add other details if you like, things like atmospheric pressure will also effect what life can live on your world.
Online Starter or Plenary (End) Activity