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Space Math: Close Encounters of the Asteroid Kind!
Topic: Math
Body: Asteroids

Short Description: On September 8, 2010 two small asteroids came within 80,000 km of Earth. Their small size of only 15 m made them very hard to see without telescopes pointed in exactly the right direction at the right time. In this problem, based on a NASA press release, students use a simple formula to calculate the brightness of these asteroids from their distance and size.

Space Math: Craters are a Blast!
Topic: Math

Short Description: Students measure crater diameters in a photo of the Moon, and determine the energy required to create them using a simple quadratic equation.

Space Math: Discovering Earth-like Worlds by their Color
Topic: Math

Short Description: Students use recent measurements of the reflected light from solar system bodies to graph their colors and to use this in classifying new planets as Earth-like, moon-like or Jupiter-like.

Space Math: Estimating the Temperatures of Exoplanets
Topic: Math

Short Description: Students review the basic properties of ellipses by exploring the orbits of newly-discovered planets orbiting other stars. They also use a simple formula to determine the temperatures of the planets from their orbits.

Space Math: Exoplanet Orbits and the Properties of Ellipses
Topic: Math

Short Description: Given the formula for the orbits of newly-discovered planets, students determine the basic properties of the elliptical orbits for the planets.

Space Math: Exponential Functions and Atmospheric 'Scale Heights'
Topic: Math

Short Description: A study of the way a planet's atmosphere changes as its temperature is changed using exponential functions.

Space Math: Hubble: The Changing Atmosphere of Pluto
Topic: Math
Body: Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud

Short Description: Based on a recent press release, students determine the aphelion and perihelion of Pluto's elliptical orbit using the properties of ellipses, then calculate the temperature of Pluto at these distances to estimate the thickness of Pluto's atmosphere and its changes during its orbit around the sun.

Space Math: Ice on Mercury?
Topic: Math
Body: Mercury
Mission: MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: Since the 1990's, radio astronomers have mapped Mercury. An outstanding curiosity is that in the polar regions, some craters appear to have "anomalous reflectivity" in the shadowed areas of these craters. One interpretation is that this is caused by sub-surface ice. In this activity, students will measure the surface areas of these potential ice deposits and calculate the volume of water that they imply.

Space Math: Kepler -- Earth-like Planets by the Score! (Part 1)
Topic: Math

Short Description: Students use recent Kepler satellite data summarized in tabular form to estimate the number of planets in the Milky Way galaxy that are about the same size as our Earth, and located in their habitable zones were liquid water may exist.

Space Math: Kepler -- Earth-like Planets by the Score! (Part 2)
Topic: Math