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Measuring Distances in the Universe

These activities are produced by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the European Space Agency. They are a series of excercises in which students use real data to measure astronomical distances, one of the most basic problems in modern astrophysics.

The students apply different methods to determine...

Mars Viking Mission

This video clip from NASA examines space exploration by the Viking missions to Mars and considers if life can exist on the Red Planet. After describing the components of the Viking orbiters and landers, the programme notes how scientific experiments performed on the surface of Mars revealed a lack of organic...

Mars Express

A Catalyst article about the idea of life on Mars. Scientists involved with the Mars Express mission aim to find out more and will try to establish if there ever has been life on Mars. The article looks at the miniature devices that they will employ on the mission. 

This article is from Catalyst: GCSE...

Marble-ous Ellipses

In order to understand the orbits of planets, comets and other celestial bodies, it is necessary to examine the principles of how gravity, and the velocity of an object, interact to produce an orbit. It is a common misconception among students that planetary orbits are circular. This practical activity gives a...

Life in the Balance?

A Catalyst article about Earth’s biodiversity much of which appears to be teetering on the brink of a man-made extinction crisis. Scientists have suggested that, unless urgent action is taken now, many species will disappear in the next 50 years. This article looks at some of the issues involved.

This...

Journey into Inner Space

A Catalyst article about physicists working at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider who hope to have received the first results from what is probably the biggest, most expensive and most ambitious scientific experiment ever carried out. Later, they hope to solve the mystery of the fundamental forces of nature.

The...

Is There Anybody Out There?

A Catalyst article about the Kepler spacecraft, which is used to look for extra-solar planets. Scientists are hoping to shine light on the age old question of life’s existence elsewhere in the Universe using a new space-based telescope named Kepler. Launched on 6 March 2009, Kepler is searching the sky for small,...

Impact Earth

A Catalyst article about giant asteroids. Astronomers say that, one day, a giant rock from space will collide with the Earth and cause mass devastation. This could lead to the extinction of many species, including humans. The article looks at what can be done to prepare for such an impact and what happened when a...

I Am a Star

This resource is based around the chemical composition of the human body and the origin of elements in the universe. Students can input a mass in the spreadsheet to see what proportion of their mass is from elements created in the Big Bang, in stars and in supernovae. Graphs are also shown for the relative...

Google in Education: a New and Open World for Learning

Produced by Google, this document looks at the company's involvement in supporting education. It illustrates the range of Google's education activities and resources. It also aims to illustrate how Google tools can support learning in a range of curriculum areas including science, technology, engineering and...

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