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The Solar System and Space Exploration Activity

Describe and explain the challenges involved for human space exploration of the Solar System.


Equipment needed:

A3 paper
Felt pens
A4 Coloured glue
n.b. required for poster design

This activity could be carried out in the library to ensure there is easy access to resources.

1. Break the class into approximately 7 groups.
2. Each group is to research their particular topic — see the topic lists below.
3. Each group designs a wall poster which discusses the challenges associated for their topic.
4. Each group should have tasks allocated: Leader, Recorder, Timekeeper etc.

Topic for the colonisation of Mars
1. Designing the spaceship to travel to Mars.
2. Preflight planning and astronaut training.
3. Getting the spaceship into orbit and launching from the international space station.
4. Launching from the international space station.
5. The 3 month flight to Mars.
6. Arrival at Mars, landing and setting up.
7. Return to and arrival back on Earth.

Consider such things as
• Living in space for a long time, i.e. weightlessness, sleeping, toileting, eating etc.
• Food and oxygen supplies. • Living with other people for a long time.
• Breakdown and repair of equipment. • Any other relevant information.
Once the poster is completed, each group is to present it to the class. Each group should produce a
one page summary of their topic. These summaries can be photocopied by the teacher to distribute
to all class members.

Useful Statistical information
Other than the Earth, Mars is the best option of a planet for humans to live on. The table below
details some information about Earth and Mars.

Surface ConditionsEARTHMARS
Atmospheric Composition78% Nitrogen
21% Oxygen
1% various inert gases
95% Carbon Dioxide
2.7$ Nitrogen
1.6% Argon
0.13% Oxygen
Approximate Surface
Temperature range
-25 C to 45 C-113 C to 0 C
Surface gravity relative to Earth10.38