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Exploring Comets and Modeling for Mission Success
Activity Overview

Created for the Deep Impact Mission, A NASA Discovery Mission

Welcome. Deep Impact will be the first mission to travel to and make a deep crater in a comet, giving you the first-ever look deep inside. Comets hold clues to the very beginning of the solar system and our activities center around the question "They're beautiful, but what are they?"

Activities included here are fun for the whole family and simulate:

  • What's inside a comet using ice cream
  • Your own comet model using household recyclable materials
  • Your own comet theories using items you choose on your own
Some activities may work best as part of your activity area and some can be carried over into your food or concession booths.

Facts for you to know:

  • Consider This! (1 page)
    What has the world believed about comets over time and throughout other cultures?
  • Ten Important Comet Facts (1 page)
    Ten quick fun facts that make you an "expert" on comets
  • Comet Acrostic (1 page)
    Comet facts that spell out C-O-M-E-T-S - Great for kids
  • Deep Impact Fun Facts (1 page)
    Ten cool facts about the Deep Impact mission
  • URL's for more research if you want it:
    A Comet's Place in the Solar System (PDF)
    Education
    Deep Impact Fact Sheet (PDF)

Fun for you to have:

  • Make a Comet Model and Eat It!
    Comets are filled with "debris" from the formation of the solar system and you can put ice cream in a baggie and add the edible comet debris you believe may be in comets. Provide these tasty foods along with their definition as "comet debris" (peanuts - rocks, cookies - dust and dirt, coconut - carbon dioxide ice (dry ice), gummy bears - the possible organics for early life, etc). Also look for the option to sell pre-made ice cream and provide "debris" that patrons can mix in.
  • Paper Comet on a Stick!
    Soda straws, 8 X 11 paper, tape, recyclable household items and you are ready to go. Follow the activity instructions to let your families make and take their own comet model. They have the chance to decide what they most like about comets and demonstrate those elements on their model.
  • Deep Impact Diner - Learn while you eat!
    Turn your concession stand into a comet diner as you provide families with tasty snacks with comet definitions. If you have an eating area and a "host", you can talk about what their purchases communicate about comets. It's fun to see.
  • Deep Impact Coloring Page
    For the artist at heart. Add crayons and some comet facts and see how families communicate what a comet is - or just let the little ones have fun!

These activities were designed for the Deep Impact Mission by Maura Rountree-Brown and Art Hammon, Pre-College Specialist, JPL.

Questions? Contact: Maura.Rountree-Brown@jpl.nasa.gov