Astronomy Wonder Project

Why is it that we spend so much time exploring beyond Earth and in space? What have we discovered that benefits us?

There are two parts to this question. The first one being “Why do we explore?”. Why do we want to explore what is beyond our atmosphere and on our planet? Our part of our research would be from our drive to understand fundamental questions like our place in the universe with the Earth and what is around us. As well us to quench our thirst and need to explore that is important for humans. An interesting answer was how it builds relations between other countries. NASA is a United States organization and the largest space exploration organization in the world. However, it is certainly not the only group of people who want to explore. Relations with other countries have started in order to develop better technology for space exploration.

Relating to the mention of answering questions like, “Where do we fit in the universe?”. We have made some large discoveries that affect our knowledge of the whole world and how we explore other places. The two largest discoveries I could think of were the discovery of a sphere Earth and our heliocentric solar system.

The round Earth theory was started in around 500 B.C. by Pythagoras who observed that the moon was sphere which meant that the Earth was as well. Not long after Anaxagoras studied the moon during eclipses and realized that the round shadow being cast on the moon was the Earth. This also led to more people following the round Earth theory. The final large discovery was by Aristotle in around 350 B.C., his observations of constellations and which ones you could see as you walked away from the equator put the final nail in the coffin for flat earthers. Depending on who you ask.

Further studies are shown in this video:

The heliocentric Earth theory was proved by Galileo in the 1500s. He discovered for the first time that there are moons orbiting around Jupiter, which sparked the idea that not everything orbited the Earth. Following that discovery, he decided to study phases of Venus’ which proved that it was orbiting the sun and not Earth.

Mars in a loop from late April (bottom right) to early November (top left)

Although we have discovered so much about Earth and what surrounds it. There is still so much more to discover.

Wiles, Jennifer. “Why We Explore.” NASA, NASA, 13 June 2013, www.nasa.gov/exploration/whyweexplore/why_we_explore_main.html#.XOtfYYhKjIV.

“Question of the Month for February 2003.” NASA Official: Phil Newman, NASA, NASA, Feb. 2003, starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question54.html.

“Planetary Motion: The History of an Idea That Launched the Scientific Revolution.” NASA, NASA, earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/OrbitsHistory.

 

Information Fluency Reflection

  1. What questions did you need to research in order to research your topic?

My large question was “Why is it that we spend so much time exploring beyond Earth and in space? What have we discovered that benefits us?” My research was more based on the second part of that question. Part of it was personal opinion however because I thought of the discovery of a round earth and our heliocentric universe myself as I believed they were the most important discoveries that define how we see the Earth and the universe. I researched how these two things were discovered and why.

2. What new or familiar digital tools did you try to use as you worked through this project?

In all honesty, I did not use anything special in this process. I just used the internet like a regular person to research my questions. I also embedded a video/picture into my post. The only digital tool I used was the website Easybib to cite my sources.

3. What was the process you used to investigate the topic?

I feel this answer will be a bit similar to the first answer. I was trying to find discoveries that have benefitted us. I personally thought that the two biggest discoveries were the discoveries of a sphere Earth and our heliocentric universe. However, I could not just state these two answers and be done with it. I had to explain why it encourages space discovery, so I had to discover HOW these were discovered, the process that it took and why it changes how we see the world around us. Also, I wanted to get an answer straight from NASA on why space exploration happens, on more of a more personal feeling of why we want to explore.

4. How did you verify and cite the information you found?

I verified the information I found by looking at the author of the article. The only one without a named author was from the official NASA site so I believed that was okay to use. The other articles had authors that had no background information about them, but the article had a NASA official read the page and verify the information. I cited the information using the website Easybib.

5. How did the process of completing this challenge go? What could have been done better?

I think that this challenge went by quite smoothly. At first, I struggled to find a good question to answer, but once I found it I was able to explore it with the answers that I sought. I believe that I could have read the instructions better so I could have remembered this portion of the project on time, along with the comment from an outside source. However, overall I am pleased with my process.

Desmos Art Functions Portrait

I started out by making the head with a circle, then the eyes. I used y= Square root to make the eyebrows. I had to ask my friend Tim to do the right one, which was simple enough but when I did the other eyebrow I ran into some troubles, I tried for a solid 10 minutes of switching negatives, the x and y, adding and subtracting until I gave up and eventually used good old Khan Academy to figure out the mirror version of it. To make my hair I made about 2o parablas and cut them off so they would look more like my hair although the colour is off and I wear a hat basically every day. I learned that functions are not only used to mark down how much money 12-year-old Suzy would make if she sold 12 watermelons for $8 each minus the 15 dollars it cost to set up and other simple graphing questions like that.