Make an Expanding Universe
1 Slightly inflate a large balloon and clip a peg over the end to keep in the air.
2 Mark ten swirls with a marker pen on the balloon. Each swirl is a cluster of galaxies. Mark a tiny M for the Milky Way.
3 Inflate the balloon to about two-thirds full size and see how the distances increase between the swirls.
4 Fully inflate the balloon to see the distances increase again. The swirls are not moving on the balloon. It is the balloon that is getting bigger, just like space is expanding.
Go Star Spotting
Constellations are patterns of stars we can see in the night sky. They change their positions throughout the year. Print or copy out a star map from a book or website. On a clear night, try to spot three constellations.
Here are some useful websites to help you:
Space Probe Check
Two space probes, Dawn and New Horizons, are set to visit two dwarf planets in 2015. Visit the NASA space probe webpage Click on the target button and select dwarf planets from the drop down menu. Check which ones are being visited and which other asteroid Dawn has already travelled to.
Weight measures how strongly gravity pulls on objects. To find your weight on another planet, first weigh yourself on scales, then multiply your weight by the planet’s gravity relative to Earth’s gravity, listed below.
Mercury 0.38 Venus 0.91 Mars 0.38 Jupiter 2.54 Saturn 1.08 Uranus 0.91 Neptune 1.19 Pluto 0.06
Imagine you are designing an image to be beamed out into the Universe to make contact with alien life forms. What information would you include? How would you show it? Aliens will not understand English! Think about symbols, signs and images that could show them humans, the Earth and its place in the Universe.
Launch a rocket
1 Blow up a long balloon, fold over the open end and keep it shut with a clothes peg.
2 Run a long thread through a drinking straw. Tape the straw to the side of the balloon.
3 Tape the thread-end nearest the peg to the floor. Get a friend to hold up the other thread-end as high as possible. Push the balloon down and release the peg.
4 Lift off!