An unidentified frying object.

Hello!

Now that you have learned so much about space, let's do something a little more active.

There are a few steps to this activity.

You will need to gather some supplies and find the largest floor space you can, or, if it is nice out, use your driveway! If you need help, find a grown-up or sibling to help.

1. Find a roll of toilet paper and make sure it is not the last one left!!!

2. Write down this information: One tissue = 10,000,000 miles.

3. As you roll out your toilet paper, use colored markers to label the location of each planet on the toilet paper sheets. We will begin with the Sun and use that as our reference point. Once you mark the sun, roll out the sheets you need to get to Mercury. Mark Mercury and the roll out the sheets until you get to Venus, and then just keep going. Use Table one (below) to figure out how many sheets to roll out. As I noted earlier, you will need a lot of space!!! Have fun!

4. Once you have your model completed, you will use the information in your data table to calculate how long it would take to travel to each planet in years. Follow the example below the table.

Table 1

Object in the Solar System |
Number of paper sheets from Sun |
Number of paper sheets from previous object |
Distance from previous object(in miles) |
Distance from the sun (in miles) |

Sun |
0 |
0 |
0 |
0 |

Mercury |
3.6 |
3.6 |
36,000,000 |
36,000,000 |

Venus |
6.7 |
3.1 |
||

Earth |
9.3 |
2.6 |
||

Mars |
14.1 |
4.8 |
||

Jupiter |
48.4 |
34.3 |
||

Saturn |
88.7 |
40.3 |
||

Uranus |
178.6 |
90 |
||

Neptune |
280 |
101 |

Example: Mercury is 3.6 toilet paper sheets away from the Sun.

Therefore the distance from mercury to the Sun is:

10,000,000 (miles per toilet paper sheet) x 3.6 (sheets away from Sun) = 36,000,000 miles away from the Sun.

If Mercury is 3.6 sheets away from the previous object (the Sun), then: 10,000,000 (miles per toilet paper sheet) x 3.6 (sheets away previous object) = 36,000,000 miles away from the previous object.

Now, let's try some other calculations:

If you were traveling at a normal speed limit for Earth, let's say 70 miles per hour, can you calculate how long it would take to get from Earth to Venus?

We know from our tissue model that Earth is 2.6 sheets away from Venus.

We also know that each sheet equals 10,000,000 miles.

That means that Earth is 26,000,000 miles away from Venus:

10,000,000 x 2.6 = 26,000,000 miles.

Now let's think about traveling at 70 miles per hour.

To find out how may hours it would take to get to Venus from Earth at a speed of 70mph, divide 26,000,000 by 70. 26,000,000/70 = 371,428.57 hours.

Next, let's figure out how many days that would take.

We know that there are 24 hours in a day, so we would divide 371,428.57 by 24. It is okay to round to 371,429.

371,429/24 = 15,476.19 days

Let's see how many years that would take.

We know that there are 365 days in a year. So we would divide 15,476 (it's okay to round) days by 365.

15,476/365 = 42.4 years.

It sure would take a long time to get to Venus! Now you are ready to try some on your own.

Find all of the missing values from Table one and record them in a Google Docs spreadsheet. Make sure to copy the information given into your table.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how expansive the universe really is!

Last modified: Tuesday, 10 May 2011, 3:09 PM