National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content
YSS Logo
YSS Logo
YSS Logo
NASA Banner
Return to Solar System Exploration
TOPICS
  Educational Resources Background Featured Missions Solar System Explorers
   Overview   News   Classrooms   Organizations & Clubs   Featured Activity 

Collisions and Craters in the Solar System: Impacts!
Featured Activity


Impact Craters

All ages can experiment with making impact craters! This popular activity has been conducted in a wide variety of settings, and there are a number of ways to modify it to fit different ages.

Impact craters are formed when impactors such as asteroids smash into a planet or moon's surface. The factors affecting the appearance of impact craters include the size and velocity of the impactor and the geology of the surface. Use different colored layered materials such as cocoa, flour or baking soda, and cornmeal or sand to create a surface. Then drop impactors such as marbles onto the surface from various heights and measure various characteristics of the impact craters formed.

Modifications could include adding colored sugar crystals between the layers to see what is revealed by the impacts, or laundry detergent between the layers and then using a blacklight to analyze the cratering site. Try different thicknesses of the materials making up the surface, or making the materials damp, for further experiments.

Be sure to share your stories, images and videos about making impacts in your program!

Check out the Classrooms and Organizations and Clubs tabs for activities to do at home, in the classroom or in an informal learning environment.

All Topics
Back to YSS Home
Featured YSS Resource: NASA App - All of NASA at your fingertips Featured YSS Resource: Space 365 app � see what NASA events happened each day of the year. Featured YSS Resource: From the Earth to the Solar System
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 Writer: Autumn Burdick
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
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 16 Apr 2014