For thousands of years we have assumed that the Earth was a unique chunk of rock, however, recent research suggests that this may not be true. Science fiction stories and movies have played around with the possibility that we are not alone in the universe and with the possibility that other Earth-like planets exist. Today we are almost positive that both of these concepts are possibilities.
A recent study that used NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope discovered that a significant percentage of nearby sun-like stars have dust clouds that orbit them. This means that the building materials for Earth-like planets are present and this increases the chances that such a planet may be developing or may have already developed. According to the findings of this study, there should be Earth-like planets in between 10 and 62 percent of the sun-like star orbits.
If you are planning a solar system unit, then it is important that you supplement your discussions with new findings like the ones mentioned in this posting. The problem with using text books to teach evolutionary classes like science, is that by the time the text has been written, edited, published and distributed, the information is already out-of-date. That is why you need to supplement text books with current science events, news articles and findings.
Science news blurbs can be great sources for outstanding science fair project ideas in addition to in class science projects and demonstrations. For help finding science news summaries and ideas about designing and developing science fair projects, return to this blog each Friday.