Educational Resources

Planetary Science FAQs and Exploration Resources

Explore Planetary Science FAQs and resources curated by our scientists. Delve into topics like impact cratering, lunar phases, and citizen science contributions to space research. Quench your curiosity about the universe.

  • The Explorer’s Guide to Impact Craters and its Spanish version, Guia del Explorador de Crateres de Impacto, provides a wealth of information about impact cratering, one of the most fundamental geologic processes in our solar system. Take a virtual tour of three known impact craters on Earth. Learn what new or altered minerals are produced after an impact event. See geologists in the field from video taken during expeditions to an impact craters.
  • Why do the phases of the Moon look the way they do? What would Mars with oceans look like? PSI has visualization resources such as Planets In Motion that show these very concepts.
  • Highly decorated PSI scientist William K. Hartmann, has produced a series of short summaries on special topics in planetary science, which includes the leading modern hypothesis of the Moon’s origin.
  • The Juno spacecraft entered into a polar orbit around Jupiter in 2016 carrying JunoCam, a visible light camera. Conceived as an outreach instrument, JunoCam has engaged the public in many aspects of the real work of an imaging team. Stunning images have been processed by citizen scientists that show Jupiter in an entirely new way. New scientific findings about Jupiter’s atmosphere are also emerging, with essential contributions from citizen scientists. Candy Hansen, a senior scientist at PSI, is the Co-Investigator on the Juno science team responsible for JunoCam.
  • Studies of seasonal processes at Mars are being aided by citizen scientists at Zooniverse’s Planet Four. Members of the public identify seasonal fans on the surface of the polar cap and measure their area and direction. This helps scientists test wind models and understand more about the physics of the seasonal cold jets that erupt every spring. Candy Hansen, a senior scientist at PSI, came up with the original concept, but it has largely taken on a life of its own thanks to  the community of volunteers. Two other citizen scientist projects have become offshoots of the original task, and aim to study surface geology processes: terriains and ridges
  • We have weblinks to other sites that are relevant to education and planetary science.
  • Got a question about planets, meteorites, or asteroids? What about impact craters on Earth or other solar system bodies? Check out our extensive Planetary Science FAQs prepared by our scientists around the world! 

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