When it comes to our planet, we are used to its seasons and weather patterns. And while we can predict the onset of hurricanes and tornadoes, it is often difficult to determine when earthquakes may strike or when volcanoes may erupt.
By studying natural events on Earth, however, scientists can learn about other planets and their moons. By looking for commonalities in natural events and physical land formations, scientists can sometimes reconstruct how other planets were formed. By doing so, they can also learn if living organisms could (or can) survive in these extraterrestrial worlds.
Let your class escape winter on Earth this week by watching this video about cryovolcanism. In the video, NASA scientist Dr. Rosaly Lopes explains the finding of ice crusts on volcanoes found on Titan, one of Saturn’s many moons, and what this discovery means for finding evidence of living organisms in outer space.
What connections can your students make about frozen findings in space with natural events here on Earth? What kinds of activities can you plan with your students to compare life on Earth with possible life on another planet? What kind of resources are scientists finding that might support life on another world?
More related resources from National Geographic Education
National Geographic News: Saturn Moon Has Ice Volcano – And Maybe Life?
Website: USGS: Astrogeology Science Center
Website: NASA: Solar System Exploration—Titan
Collection: Wildest Weather in the Solar System
Collection: Physical Geography
Interactive White Board: Earth’s Magnetosphere and Auroras
Discussion Ideas: NASA Discovers New Batch of Earthlike Planets