Lunar and Planetary Institute

Beyond Earth - Resources - Websites
EXPLORE! Beyond Earth


Learn about Planets around Other Stars!

Keep up with the latest exoplanets news with NASA.

Become a part of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Learn all about the Kepler mission, which has already detected thousands of planet candidates.

Work with actual exoplanet data to make charts, graphs, and explore more!

Discover the universe through telescopes — even if you don’t have your own!

Engage your community in the wonders of the universe by peering through telescopes!  Use the Night Sky Network web portal to find astronomy clubs in your area and use the contact information provided to reach out to potential partners.  Find information on what will be visible in the night sky, as well as helpful links to weather information and other planning tools. Start Observing with NASA by controlling the ground-based MicroObservatory telescopes from your computer — with help from "Control Telescope" web interface, which automatically lets you know which targets are up that night.  You can even download your images!  Print the Constellations: Wonders Within poster series to showcase beautiful astronomical objects — revealed through NASA's Great Observatories (Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer) — along with their constellations, history, and related facts.

 Some Notable Past Space Exploration Missions

This historical archive of NASA's space history, rocket history, early astronauts, and the manned missions will be of great interest to individuals interested in the chronology of space aeronautics.

The Soviet Venera Spacecraft missions encompassed a variety of Venus orbiters, landers, and probes between 1961–1983.

The Soviet Lunar program had 20 missions to the Moon, including the first probe to impact the Moon, the first flyby and image of the far side of the moon, the first soft landing, and the first circumlunar probe to return to Earth.

Surveyor probes were the first U.S. spacecrafts to land safely on the Moon (1966–1968). The Surveyor probes were tasked with obtaining close-up images of the lunar surface so that it could be determined if the terrain was safe for manned landings.

The Gemini Mission pages from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Gemini's mission included getting a man into space for up to two weeks, docking with orbiting vehicles, and perfecting the ways in which capsules re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

Web resources for the Apollo program.

Apollo 10: The Story is an interactive exploration of the Apollo 10 mission — precursor to the Moon landing of Apollo 11. Children ages 9 and older can learn about the mission and see diagrams of the capsule. Lesson plans, tied to the British school system, also are available.

On February 17, 1996, the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous was the first Discovery Program spacecraft to be launched. It is the first spacecraft to orbit and land on an asteroid — Eros.

A small lander and rover were successfully delivered to the surface of Mars in 1997. JPL's Mars Pathfinder site includes mission information and images.

The Stardust Mission sampled Comet Wild 2 in January 2004 and is due to return sample material in January of 2006.

Spirit and Opportunity roved across Mars in the Mars Rover Exploration Mission.

The International Space Station

See the International Space Station! The space station looks like a fast-moving plane in the sky, but it is dozens of times higher than any airplane and traveling thousands of miles an hour faster. It is bright enough that it can even be seen from the middle of a city! As the third brightest object in the sky, the space station is easy to see if you know when to look up. Use NASA's Spot The Station service to find upcoming sighting opportunities for several thousand locations worldwide. Plus, sign up to receive notices of opportunities in your email inbox or cell phone! To learn more about the space station, its international crew, and how they live and working in space, please visit the space station mission pages.

How the International Space Station works is explored in a site designed for older children and young adults. Visitors are led through an introduction to the station, its components, and the research being conducted.

Space Colonies

Artist Pat Rawlings creates images of colonies on Mars and the Moon, as well as a variety of space exploration and research subjects. A great site for sparking imagination!

Collection of artists' images of what a colony on Mars might look like. Includes pictures and animations of transportation vehicles, bases, and research.

Even More Activities to Use with Children

Imagine Mars invites children, educators, and the community to imagine what it would be like to live on Mars. Children learn about the Red Planet, identify cultural elements for a colony, access interviews with scientists, and share their projects through the site.

The Rockets Educator Guide (NASA eductational product number EG-2008-05-060-KSC) brings the excitement of rockets to the classroom! These lessons and activities explore the scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical foundations of rocketry. The guide also contains background information about the history of rockets and basic rocket science.


Last updated
June 3, 2015


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