the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA's JPL brings together an array of rich visualization tools for a 3D exploration of our cosmic neighborhood. It provides actual data from spacecraft, including their real-time position in space. Users can zoom-in/zoom-out, change lighting modes, adjust camera angles, and replay events at real rate or in accelerated time. Advanced tools include size comparison, measuring tool, and "ride-on-board" during flybys. Choose from a wide range of destinations -- including the historic 1960's space exploration, Curiosity Rover landing on Mars, Voyager mission to the Gas Giants, the Cassini mission to the outer planets, and much more.
Editor's Note: For best viewing results, NASA recommends downloading the free Unity 3D converter software. NASA's visualization software is operational for multiple operating systems, but may not perform optimally in all web browsers.
Please note that this resource requires
JPL, Jet Propulsion Lab, comets, exploration, missions, planets, planets, robotic spacecraft, rovers, solar system, space exploration, space missions, virtual astronomy
Metadata instance created
October 30, 2012
by Caroline Hall
November 2, 2012
by Caroline Hall
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
3. The Nature of Technology
3A. Technology and Science
3-5: 3A/E2. Technology enables scientists and others to observe things that are too small or too far away to be seen otherwise and to study the motion of objects that are moving very rapidly or are hardly moving at all.
6-8: 3A/M2. Technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection and treatment, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.
9-12: 3A/H1. Technological problems and advances often create a demand for new scientific knowledge, and new technologies make it possible for scientists to extend their research in new ways or to undertake entirely new lines of research. The very availability of new technology itself often sparks scientific advances.
9-12: 3A/H2. Mathematics, creativity, logic, and originality are all needed to improve technology.
9-12: 3A/H3b. One way science affects society is by stimulating and satisfying people's curiosity and enlarging or challenging their views of what the world is like.
3B. Design and Systems
6-8: 3B/M3d. In almost all modern machines, microprocessors serve as centers of performance control.
6-8: 3B/M4b. The most common ways to prevent failure are pretesting of parts and procedures, overdesign, and redundancy.
9-12: 3B/H1. In designing a device or process, thought should be given to how it will be manufactured, operated, maintained, replaced, and disposed of and who will sell, operate, and take care of it. The costs associated with these functions may introduce yet more constraints on the design.
9-12: 3B/H3. Complex systems have layers of controls. Some controls operate particular parts of the system and some control other controls. Even fully automatic systems require human control at some point.
3C. Issues in Technology
6-8: 3C/M8. Scientific laws, engineering principles, properties of materials, and construction techniques must be taken into account in designing engineering solutions to problems.
9-12: 3C/H6. The human ability to influence the course of history comes from its capacity for generating knowledge and developing new technologies—and for communicating ideas to others.
4. The Physical Setting
4A. The Universe
3-5: 4A/E4. The earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, and the moon orbits around the earth.
6-8: 4A/M3. Nine planets of very different size, composition, and surface features move around the sun in nearly circular orbits. Some planets have a variety of moons and even flat rings of rock and ice particles orbiting around them. Some of these planets and moons show evidence of geologic activity. The earth is orbited by one moon, many artificial satellites, and debris.
6-8: 4A/M4. Many chunks of rock orbit the sun. Those that meet the earth glow and disintegrate from friction as they plunge through the atmosphere—and sometimes impact the ground. Other chunks of rock mixed with ice have long, off-center orbits that carry them close to the sun, where the sun's radiation (of light and particles) boils off frozen materials from their surfaces and pushes it into a long, illuminated tail.
9-12: 4A/H3. Increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the universe. Visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes collect information from across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves; computers handle data and complicated computations to interpret them; space probes send back data and materials from remote parts of the solar system; and accelerators give subatomic particles energies that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.
9-12: 4A/H5. As the earth and other planets formed, the heavier elements fell to their centers. On planets close to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), the lightest elements were mostly blown or boiled away by radiation from the newly formed sun; on the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) the lighter elements still surround them as deep atmospheres of gas or as frozen solid layers.
9-12: 4A/H6. Our solar system coalesced out of a giant cloud of gas and debris left in the wake of exploding stars about five billion years ago. Everything in and on the earth, including living organisms, is made of this material.
11. Common Themes
11C. Constancy and Change
3-5: 11C/E4. Some things in nature have a repeating pattern, such as the day-night cycle, the phases of the moon, and seasons.
9-12: 11C/H4. Graphs and equations are useful (and often equivalent) ways for depicting and analyzing patterns of change.
9-12: 11C/H8. Trends that follow a pattern that can be described mathematically can be used to estimate how long a process has been going on.
6-8: 11D/M3. Natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.
This resource is part of 2 Physics Front Topical Units.
Topic: Astronomy Unit Title: Astronomy Resources For the High School Classroom
Here you'll find a rich array of visualization tools for a 3D exploration of our cosmic neighborhood. The website uses actual data and images generated from past and present space missions. Students can zoom, change lighting, "ride-on-board", do scale comparisons, and replay events in real or accelerated time. Adaptable for a range of grade bands and ability levels.
Topic: Astronomy Unit Title: Astronomy: Special K-12 Collections
Here you'll find a rich array of visualization tools for a 3D exploration of our cosmic neighborhood. The website uses actual data and images generated from past and present space missions. Students can zoom, change lighting, "ride-on-board", do scale comparisons, and replay events in real or accelerated time. Adaptable for a broad range of grade bands and ability levels.
<a href="http://www.thephysicsfront.org/items/detail.cfm?ID=12452">Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA Jet Propulsion Lab: Eyes on the Solar System. Washington: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2010.</a>
%0 Electronic Source %D 2010 %T NASA Jet Propulsion Lab: Eyes on the Solar System %I National Aeronautics and Space Administration %V 2013 %N 21 May 2013 %9 application/java %U http://eyes.nasa.gov/exit.html
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