Asteroids and comets have slammed into planets, moons, and asteroids throughout our solar system, including our Earth. NASA scientists and engineers are studying asteroids and comets, where they are, and how to deflect them from Earth in the future.
Join planetary scientists in exploring the characteristics of asteroids and comets!
Background Information about Planetary Defense
Overview of Activities
Analyze and discuss candy bars with the same terminology used by geologists to study rocks from space.
Create impact craters and examine the associated features. Explore how the comet or asteroid’s mass, shape, and speed affects the crater.
Dry Ice Comet
Make a model of a comet with dry ice and other ingredients to demonstrate the comet nucleus, coma, and outgassing.
Rocky Rubble Piles
Investigate models of asteroids to determine whether they are solid bodies or made of multiple pieces of rock, ice, and dust.
- Sorting Asteroids: Sort asteroid cards by type, distance, size, and date discovered, and explore the relationships between these factors.
- Designing Planetary Defense: Use engineering design principles to redirect an asteroid.