Lunar and Planetary Institute

Explore! Fun with Science
Solar System
Activity at a Glance
Planet Sizes
Planet Distances
Solar System on a Map
About Our Solar System
Explore! Home Page


Web Sites


The New Solar System:  An Epic Adventure, Joseph Campanella, Finley-Holiday Films, 1995, ASIN 6303386652
A tour of the solar system, using computer-generated graphics and actual photographs from NASA and other sources.

Standard Deviants — El Sistema Solar (The Solar System), Cerebellum Corporation, 2002, ASIN B00007G225
The Standard Deviants tour the solar system, exploring the different planets. Children and adults will be engaged in this adventure.

Our Solar System, International Video Corporation, 1999, ASIN B00000INDL

Our Solar System, 1998, ASIN B00004SC1G
Explore the wonders of the planets in our solar system.

Quest for Planet Mars, Patrick Stewart, WQED/Pittsburgh, 1992, ASIN 6303084346
Explore the possibilities on a fascinating voyage to Earth's neighbor Mars, the “Red Planet.”

Blue Planet:  An Imax Space Film... about Earth, Graeme Ferguson, Imax Space Technology, 1990, ASIN B00005BCOS
Blue Planet reveals the forces affecting the Earth's ecological balance:  hurricanes, volcanos, earthquakes, and, ultimately, humankind.

Venus:  2nd Planet, Timeless Media, 1994, ASIN 6303307817
Explore Earth's sister planet, Venus.


Amanda Visits the Planets
Gina Ingoglia, Inchworm Press, 1998, ISBN 1577193407
Pre-school children will be engaged by this story of a young girl who takes a tour of the solar system.

The Planets in Our Solar System (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2)
Franklyn Branley and Kevin O'Malley, HarperTrophy, 1998, ISBN 006445178X
Well-illustrated introduction to planet basics for children ages 4–8.

The Magic School Bus — Lost in the Solar System
Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, Scholastic, 1992, ISBN 0590414291
Miss Frizzle and her intrepid students tour the planets of our solar system in a book for ages 4–8.

What's Out There?:  A Book About Space (All Aboard Books)
Lynn Wilson and Paige Billin-Frye, Grosset and Dunlap, 1993, ISBN 0448405172
This book for ages 4–8 shares basic information about the planets and Earth's place in space.

Earth's Twin:  The Planet Venus
Isaac Asimov, Gareth Stevens, 1996, ISBN 0836812336
Children ages 4–8 can explore the harsh environment of Venus and learn how it is different from Earth.

Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors
Gregory Vogt, Millbrook Press, 1996, ISBN 1562946013
Children ages 4–8 investigate the origin and composition of asteroids, comets, and meteors and their “impact” on Earth's history.

Patricia Polacco, Puffin, 1996, ISBN 0698114108
Young children ages 4–8 will enjoy this story of a meteorite that lands in a yard — and the town's reaction to the event.

My Place in Space
Robin and Sally Hurst, Orchard Books, 1992, ISBN 0531070301
Children ages 5–8 will enjoy this book of astronomy.

The Magic School Bus — Out of This World:  A Book About Space Rocks
Joanna Cole, Scholastic, 1996, ISBN 0590921568
Miss Frizzle is at it again as she and her students travel through space in search of space rocks. Children ages 5–10 will learn about asteroids, meteorites, and comets.

Our Solar System
Peter Riley, Readers Digest, 1998, ISBN, 1575842440
Children ages 7–9 will learn about the planets in our system.

Comets, Meteors, and Asteroids
Seymour Simon, Harper Trophy, 1998, ISBN 0688158439
Children ages 8–10 learn the differences between meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites in this well-illustrated and informative book.

Our Solar System
Seymour Simon, William Morrow & Company, 1992, ISBN 0688099920

A well-illustrated overview of the planets, comets, and asteroids in our solar system for ages 8–11.

Voyager:  An Adventure to the Edge of the Solar System
Sally Ride, Crown Publishers, 1992, ISBN 0517581574
The amazing discoveries of the Voyager mission to the gas giant planets and their moons is presented for ages 8–13.

Venus:  Magellan Explores Our Twin Planet
Franklyn Branley, HarperCollins Children's Books, 1994, ISBN 0060203846
A look at Venus and the Magellan mission for ages 9–11.

The New Book of Mars
Nigel Hawkes, Copper Beech Books,1998, ISBN 0761307311
Children ages 9–12 can learn about the features on Mars and missions to Mars.

Exploring Our Solar System
Sally Ride and Tam O'Shaughnessy, Crown Books for Young Readers, 2003, ISBN 0375812040
This well-illustrated book takes children ages 9–12 on a tour of the planets (and our Sun!) in our solar system.

The Solar System:  Facts and Exploration (Scientific American Sourcebooks)
Greg Vogt, Twenty-First Century Books, 1995, ISBN 0805032495
A well-illustrated book for ages 9–12 that explores the planets, Sun, Kuiper belt, and Oort cloud and the missions to help us learn about these solar system components.

Gregory Vogt, Millbrook Press, 1994, ISBN 156294391X
Venus and its volcanic features are explored in this book for ages 9–12.

Small Worlds:  Exploring the 60 Moons of Our Solar System
Joseph W. Kelch, Julian Messner, 1990, ISBN 0671700138
While the number of discovered moons has increased significantly since this book was written, it provides ages 9–12 with an interesting tour of 60 moons in our solar system.

Other Worlds:  A Beginner's Guide to Planets and Moons
Terence Dickinson, Firefly Books, 1995, ISBN 1895565715
Children ages 10–14 will enjoy this illustrated introduction to our solar system that explores planet sizes and distances.

Web Sites

The Nine Planets offers a multimedia tour of our solar system, including information about planets, moons, asteroids, comets, the Kuiper belt, and the Oort cloud. Each component has an overview of scientific information, and is accompanied by images, animations, and links.

Views of the Solar System is another awesome site that offers a multitude of good introductory content about the solar system, including images, movies, animations, and illustrations (many copyrighted). The site is best for young adults and adults.

3-D Tour of the Solar System provides three-dimensional images of the Sun, planets, moons, and asteroids, as well as an overview of the entire solar system.

NASA's Solar System Exploration Forum provides the latest on all the missions going on in our solar system. Included are images, press information, and background information about our solar system. The education area includes materials, lesson plans, and resources for children and educators.

The Planetary Photojournal provides excellent copyright-free images of the bodies of our solar system. Aimed at ages 11 and up, the site is easy to navigate.

Planetary Science Research Discoveries offers the latest research on meteorites, planets, and other solar system bodies from NASA-sponsored scientists. The site has a good search engine and is designed for young adults to adults.

Learn about meteorites with the Astromaterials Research Exploration Science team at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

Phil Plait's Baaaaaad Astronomy site offers a knowledgeable take on common misconceptions in astronomy and space science — and at the movies. Lots of fun and very informative, this site written for young adults to adults helps educators tackle misconceptions directly.

American Museum of Natural History's Our Dynamic Planet magazine for ages 10–13. Learn about Earth's layers, earthquakes, and really cool environments. Hands-on activities and games.

American Museum of Natural History's Astronomy magazine for ages 10–13. Meet people who study astronomy and learn all about our Sun, the Milky Way galaxy, and the universe. Hands-on activities and games.

NASA's Solar System Missions site provides information about all the missions in our solar system — past, present, and future — with links to the mission Web pages. Many of the missions listed have educational materials.

NASA's Earth-Sun System Missions site provides the most recent results from the missions that focus on Earth, our Sun, and the interactions between the two. Many of the missions offer educational materials.

NASA's Sun-Earth Connections Educational Forum includes information, activities, and resources for educators.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory's mission status site provides information about recent and current solar system exploration.

The goal of the Dawn Mission is to characterize the conditions and processes of the solar system's earliest epoch by investigating in detail two of the largest protoplanets remaining intact since their formations — Ceres and Vesta.

The Cassini spacecraft successfully went into orbit around Saturn in June. In December 2004 it released the Huygens probe, which reached the surface of Titan in January 2005 and will provide information about this moon.

The Genesis mission's collection and return of particles of the solar wind was a banner sample return event. While the parachute failed during the sample return capsule's descent to Earth's surface, scientists will be reaping results from the materials for years to come — helping us to better understand how our solar system formed. The Genesis in Education site provides materials for educators.

The Mars Exploration Rover mission sent rovers Spirit and Opportunity to the surface of Mars to search for evidence of past water — and they found it! Life as we understand it requires water. The findings of the Mars rovers will prompt future exploration looking for evidence of past or present life on the Red Planet.

MESSENGER – the mission to the planet Mercury – launched in 2004 and will arrive at this little-studied planet in 2011.

The Stardust mission sampled the tail of Comet Wild 2 in January 2004 and is due to return sample material in January 2006. Comets are “leftovers” from the formation of our solar system, and samples will help scientists understand what the composition of our early solar system was like and what processes occurred in the development of our wide “neighborhood.”

The Deep Impact mission will propel a projectile into the surface of a comet to create a huge crater. Not only will this allow scientists to understand the cratering process, but they will be able to study a fresh comet surface and gain insights into how our solar system formed.

On February 17, 1996, the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission was the first Discovery Program mission to launch a spacecraft. The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft is the first to orbit and land on an asteroid — Eros.

The unique telescope of the Kepler mission will be used for detecting terrestrial planets — rocky planets like Earth and Mars — around other stars!

The Magellan mission site offers Venus images and other highlights from the mission.

Zoom Astronomy, from Enchanted Learning, offers a site that is clear and concise, offering relevant explanations of interstellar bodies for ages 12–15. Interesting facts are also provided on sidebars, along with links to several other sites.

Children ages 8 and up will find the NASAKids site instructive and fun as they learn about the planets, play games, and view images.

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Last updated
April 20, 2005