Craters on Earth and Other Planets

Go-lab approved
Lab type: 
Virtual lab
Lab owner: 
European Space Agency (ESA)
Contact person: 
Fraser Lewis
Age range: 
10-12, 12-14, 14-16, 16-18
Language: 
English, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish
Level of difficulty: 
Medium
Level of interaction: 
High
Booking required: 
No
 
Lab description and primary aims of the lab: 

In this lab, pupils can simulate the impact of an object (e.g., an asteroid) on the Earth, Moon or Mars. They can vary parameters such as the diameter, density and velocity of the projectile and see the characteristics of the resulting crater. They can also analyse satellite imagery of real craters on a number of planets and moons. Various related classroom exercises are included. The lab uses satellite data from European Space Agency missions. It was developed in partnership with Faulkes Telescope.

The primary aims of the lab are:

  • Demonstrate one of the uses of satellite data.
  • Demonstrate, with the impact calculator and relevant satellite imagery, how observations of craters caused by comets and asteroids can give insight to the characteristics of the projectile and the impact conditions.
  • Explain the consequences of previous impacts on the Earth’s formation process and the origin of life.
Subject domain: 

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