National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Facebook Twitter YouTube Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr iTunes
Follow Us
The Goldilocks Planets -- Not Too Hot or Cold
Refine your search:  

The Goldilocks Planets -- Not Too Hot or Cold
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Body: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: Heliophysics Missions (Sun), Spitzer Space Telescope (Our Solar System)

Download This Lesson

Short Description: Once you have discovered a planet, you need to figure out whether liquid water might be present. In our solar system, Mercury and Venus are so close to the sun that water cannot remain in liquid form. It vaporizes! For planets beyond Mars, the sun is so far away that water will turn to ice. Only in what astronomers call the Habitable Zone will a planet have a chance for being at the right temperature for liquid water to exist in large quantities on its surface!

Why We Chose This Lesson
This lesson was chosen for its quality and potential alignment to Next Generation Science Standards.

Read the Rubric for This Lesson

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe

Read more: NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas


  • 5-Using mathematics and computational thinking

Read more: Science and Engineering Practices in the NGSS

Crosscutting Concepts:

  • 3-Scale, proportion and quantity

Read more: NGSS Crosscutting Concepts

Credit: SpaceMath@NASA

Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2014