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Planetary Jeopardy Game is Big Hit at Conferences

PDS Jeopardy at DPS 2022

Bea Muller, Ben Hirsch, Kristina Lopez and Bobby Bus enjoy the Planetary Jeopardy game at DPS.

Credit: Henry Throop.


Conference attendees have tested their knowledge of planetary science by answering questions found on Planetary Jeopardy, a game developed by Kristina Lopez, PSI research assistant. 

The game, similar to the televised game show Jeopardy, is part of the Planetary Data Systems exhibit at events like American Geophysical Union and American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences conferences. 

PDS is NASA's system to archive mission data, to ensure that it can be used – for free, by anybody on the planet – decades down the road. 

“We wanted something for outreach at the PDS booth at conferences,” Lopez said. “We wanted a way to engage people to learn about PDS that would be fun. And get people excited about planetary science. I was a kid who was really affected by outreach. It really sparked my interest in science.” 

Question topics are Planetary Mission History, Asteroids & Comets & Moons, Oh My!, Adventures in Archiving, Know Your Mars Rover, and The Planets (Sorry Pluto). Questions range in value from 100 to 400 points, with 100 level aimed at the general public and 400 intended for planetary science professionals. 

“It took quite a while to finalize the questions, and it was hard to determine the difficulty levels,” Lopez said. “I’m still refining the questions and the difficulty levels. We will keep using this at more conferences, and update the questions.” 

Participants have found the questions “The only moon to have its own magnetic field?” (What is Ganymede, moon of Jupiter) and “Spacecraft hit by lightning twice” (What is Apollo 12?) the most difficult. 

The easiest question has been “This is the 7th planet from the Sun” (Uranus). The question  “This planet has runaway greenhouse effect” got the most laughs: the correct answer is Venus but many people would jokingly answer Earth. 

Lopez has provided teachers with the files needed to print out the game components. If interested, contact her at klopez [at]

Kristina Lopez Planetary Jeopardy 

Kristina Lopez and the Planetary Jeopardy game she developed. The game attracts hundreds of people to the PDS booth at conferences.

Credit: Alan Fischer/PSI.

Nov. 13, 2022
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